Sunday, February 1, 2009
Posted by Maggie May Labels: mental illness
Very small, I learned how the mind is not of this world; how you can both escape inside of it and be caged. I had a horse I never had a horse, he was a Black Stallion; he let me on his shining muscled back to ride home from school every day; he ran in graceful ballet leaps next to our chipped, used cars; he kept one bright wet eye so dark and calm on me, always watching. I knew him to be from someone. Someone sent him. Someone wanted me to be safe. I was six or seven or eight, I was watching the sky at night, especially and always at night, when darkness opened the gates to the other world, and things could be seen properly that would not be acknowleged in sunlight. I studied the sky with my anxious face and I wondered if there was a God, and if so, was God a feeling or was God flesh or was God rock and bone? I never wondered if God was a man or woman, it seemed obvious God was neither or all.
I knew as I scratched my arms with sticks and ate the black brown dirt that my mind was being forced and pried open by these feelings these feelings were despair fear suffering hatred loneliness, a loneliness so large so hollow so engulfing I was carved out by it and left with hollow bones. I saw in the eyes of normal people how they felt, they did not feel like I felt, they were not in their mind so much, they were more in their bodies and in their skin and their eyelashes touched sunglasses and they noticed and adjusted; I wanted normal eyes but my eyes were turned inward and swelling as if with the throbbing veins of migraine and so the delicate fibers of nueral tissue expanded and made room for everything I could not comprehend/accept/acknowledge/encounter, and this room made in my mind gave me The Black Stallion, as important to me as my actual dog and my actual cat. I knew in the dark earth in my mouth and the dark sky waving back at me and in the dark eye of my wild horse that I was seeing the face of God but I did not know if this meant I was crazy so I thought and felt another thing that must be kept silent. I thanked God for giving me room in my mind to escape with my horse but wondered why the fear would not could not go away. If I could be less afraid like when I was alone in the smelt thickness of green trees around my home if I could take that feeling and bring it inside like a small wounded animal and keep it in my room and nurse it back to health then I could survive without being so other, the children around me would not smell the wrongness on my skin or see it in my eyes and they would not hurt me with their pitying or hateful faces. I did not know what to do to be less other or less transparent I was always not making sense. I knew what I meant but autism is a diagnosis there is not diagnosis for other, for suffering so I had no diagnosis and no help. I had my wild stallion and my books and sometimes I had my sister. But my sister was very small and I was supposed to be older and know better and I never did, she was quieter, better behaved, sweeter, smarter, and I was confused with her and how she could be so good when the house was evil and we were without proper diagnosis.
I rode my horse in the suburban eighties evenings which to me were haunting, frightening, the sun went down slowly and the light made the house fronts ghastly like heavily made up old women, no one home or everyone home and happy and wanting me not to come in their house, I had the evil eye and adults could feel my other and they wanted nothing to do with it or me or my family because they could not understand what was happening, I could not understand what was happening, only that I did not want to go home and shut the door behind me and see the deep orange clean carpets and smell brussel sprouts and hear the enormous gaping silence and feel the stomach of my stomach turn on itself and ache in a shuddering, hateful throb. I might not finish my dinner and I would be in a lot of trouble and get sent to my room for the rest of the night and there I would play with my stuffed animals and kiss them and my wild stallion would come to my window and gaze at me with his solemn wild eye and I would turn to him. There would be noises in the house and the room would pale dark, pale darker, pale black, and I would just sit and watch the dark bleed onto my white arms and legs and feel the only kind of satisfaction within my reach, the hard satisfaction of suffering, it's enormity, it's timelessness, it's complete grasp on you like a bear's mouth over your entire head and there is no where or no way you are getting out unless the bear opens his mouth. I would just look at my wild stallion who I never named and he would look back and I would have the smallest, tiniest hope that possibly somewhere someone was watching over me and this is how I survived.
This is why when I read my daughter Lola her book ' My Pony ' and the last page is just an imaginary horses head at a little girls window and the words in the book read ' and he will be there waiting. Always. ' I cried and Lola said, alarmed, Mommy what's wrong,
and I could hardly tell her, could I.