The story

Jun. 29th, 2016 01:26 pm
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[trigger warning for child sexual abuse]Read more... )

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This started off as stream-of-consciousness writing to my shrink, and I'd like to be able to turn it into something more precise and focused, but my mind, for months, has been unable to think in a precise, focused way. So rather than pretend to myself that someday soon I'll tighten it into "real" writing, I'm just going to post it now.

Read more... )

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[I wrote this in June. I meant to edit it to be more coherent before posting it, but that's not going to happen, so I'm posting it as-is.]

I was six, or maybe seven; it was after the library opened, but before I was reading chapter books. I'd checked out a book by Richard Scarry; he drew a world where the town was populated by animals doing people-things: perhaps the postman was a dog dressed in a postman's pants and shirt, the nurse was a cat with a smock and white cap. They had a playset at the library, all the characters and roads and buildings of the town, and I loved them with the greed and longing and desire of a six-year-old, almost as much as I loved books. And this book was enormous; not thick, but maybe 12 by 15 inches, and when you are six, bigger is better, bigger is grown-up.

I sat on my mother's lap while she read it to me. I was old enough to read, had been for years, but I wanted her voice behind my ear, her hand turning the pages; I wanted her there to see things I pointed out in the pictures that I hadn't noticed the first dozen times, so I could share that magic of discovery and feel it again. We sat on "her" side of the couch, under the lamp. My father, as always, sat on the other side of the couch. Often he watched TV as we read, and I was used to tuning out the noise and hearing only my mother. Tonight the TV was probably on, but I couldn't hear it, because my father was drunk, and he was yelling.

He was mainly yelling at my mother. He usually directed everything at her, because when he was drunk, I was invisible. He might threaten to burn down the house "with all of you in it," but he wasn't talking to me; I was just eavesdropping. The words weren't meant for me, because I wasn't there, and if I'd said something, or made a noise — even whimpering — I instinctively knew he would be surprised to see me there and also angry that I was listening in on something not intended for me. So I sat on my mother's lap, not moving, not being seen by him, while she read to me as if his screaming was the everynight drone of the TV. He did not know I was there. She did not know I was there, either; she read the book to my body, as if my mind inside were the same as every other night. She read as if I could hear her, as if I didn't hear my father, or smell his fermented breath, or comprehend his words. She read as she would have if I were looking at the pictures, discovering new things, pointing out those discoveries. The lack of my presence was not important. I knew this. The important thing — the only important thing — was that the stageplay go on, that my body stay in her lap until the back cover closed, without acknowledging the audience of one (my father), even as he climbed on stage and stood screaming at us. Because…

I was too young to know sci-fi, or fantasy, to know of parallel universes or overlapping worlds or ghosts that inhabit the same room as the living without ever being seen — and more importantly, without being able to touch the living. But he was a ghost screaming at my mother, apparently unheard. And I knew that was the magic spell. I was sure that, as long as he didn't think she heard him, he couldn't act. I don't think I knew for sure if she couldn't actually hear him or was just pretending, but I didn't think about it because it didn't matter; what matter was that he -thought- she didn't hear him. As long as he thought she didn't hear him, he couldn't act, couldn't do the things he was threatening. And I needed — from my own, third, universe that was not the same as either of theirs — to both not distract her from her not-awareness, and to not let him see -me- be aware of him. So I was still. My body didn't move, and my mind didn't move, not until the book was closed and my body could exit the stage. I don't remember that part, the closing of the book and my leaving. But I must have done it, and done it well, because he did not burn down the house that night or shoot us in our beds.
violetcheetah: (Default)
This started off as an attempt to explain the emotional/mental side of scentsitivity, but it spread to encompass other ways in which I'm invaded.  I wrote it several months ago, and rereading it, there's a resonance between the way "normal" people seem to perceive me — that they are interacting with a figment of their imagination because they can't conceive of someone like the actual-me existing — and the way I feel interacting with my mother.

Read more... )

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Written on June 12 at Write Here Write Now; took until now to decide whether I wanted to post publicly.


She changed my mind.
Baptized my brain in cortisol
without laying a hand.
By not laying a hand.
I am Harlow's monkeys,
she is the hollow cloth form
I cling to still,
knowing it's hollow, and yet.

I prattled away as a child to her,
a figment of my own imagination,
never knowing I was alone,
never knowing she was
carefully making me
in her hollow image.
violetcheetah: (Default)
Wrote the following tonight in a writing workshop. Please ignore typo stuff: I was not looking at the screen as I typed, and I don't have the emotional energy to proofread it now, but my urge to share it trumps my perfectionism this time around.


everything is something else.

We are all having the same experience, but I'm having another experience at the same time, I'm not the only one, of course, but you can't tell now, looking at the faces in the stockroom, the numbness or fear or tears, you can't tell if the expression is for today, or for 20 years ago.

Everyone says it seems surreal. Unreal. For me, it's real times two, times 8, and a déjà vu that amplifies it. There's the boom, more like a thud, there's the second one, and I think, I know that rhythm, not just the rhythm but the feeling, the way my chest feels, not sinking, but lighter, filled with helium, it sounds so pleasant, but I have dreams where I'm floating, and everyone talks about flying dreams wistfully, but mine are miserable, because I can't get down, I'm pushing against the ceiling, and I won't sink to the floor, everyone else is on the floor, or under the tree that I'm tangled in. and that feeling you get at the top of a roller coast, just as the bottom drops out and your heart lifts into your throat, and it's giddy and fun because it's only a second, but in the dream it's eternal, the crash is coming, I'm going to hit the ground but I never do, I just keep waiting, and now I'm floating and sinking and I'm desperately trying to remember, why is that double-thud so familiar, it's ridiculous that it's so important, -this- is important, right now, but I've got the get that other scene, it's the only way to finally hit the ground and walk, walk among people, if I can't remember I'll be preoccupied for eternity, déjà vu but it really happened, something really happened, right, it's a real thing I'm remembering, right, why can't I place it. I sit on the stockroom floor surrounded by sweatpants as coworkers pass, "did you feel that?" as if anyone didn't, thumbing their smartphones and relaying the fragments of news they can find, and I wish they'd quit distracting me from distracting myself with sorting pants so that the thing I'm trying to remember can sneak up on me, like a song lyric you've not heard in years, so familiar, and finally I remember the pistol, the crack, not at all like on the cop shows and yet I'd known, my back turned, I could see him pointing it but until I turned it might not be real, and perhaps this is an electrical fire under the street, they blow a couple of manholes off every year, I know it isn't but of course I'd think that because I'm a catastrophist, I always think the worst, and a drama queen, panic for nothing, and then the second crack from behind me and I turn and see the barrel, and now it's finally okay, because I can hear the lyric, can move to the next verse and then to the next song, my feet are on the ground and I am walking with everyone else, and I am only here, only now. Except I'm already half in tomorrow, when I will dig in the dirt in my friend's yard and plant the bulbs I dug up last summer and forgot in the shed, I will plant them tomorrow and they won't bloom next year, not after half a year out of the earth, but maybe the year after. Walking past the back bay bed, under the falling magnolia petals, I am already planting in her yard tomorrow.


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Violet Wilson

October 2016



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