I was listening to some fairly emo music and thinking about some of the bullshit that has gone down in my adult life. Not in a boo-hoo, poor me, eat worms kind of way. More in a way where I want to be in touch with my feelings about things that have hurt me, in order to make a better kind of peace with them, so they don’t collaborate with each other and sneak-attack me when my mental hands are full with something else. A positive exercise of getting in touch with who I’ve been, and forgiving her for her sometimes incredibly poor judgement, and growing into someone who won’t make the same poor judgements again. At the precise moment this happened, actually, I was remembering some of the darker parts of what it had felt like to live with the object of my cancerous crush.
And then, without noticing, I slipped from being in Moira’s spare bedroom to being inside my head. I have a space in my head where my thoughts play out. In my mind’s eye, it is quite literally that – a physical space in my head. I am standing in a dark oval room with a flat floor and a craggy domed ceiling. The dome is the roof of my skull. There are vast legions of pale wooden crates littered about, mostly stacked against the curving walls, but some have been pulled out a little way and many are open, overflowing with messy paperwork or half-full with neatly stacked paper piles.
I am here because someone has appeared. She didn’t knock. There isn’t a door. A pastel twist ran through my feelings like a ribbon and she just materialised, standing opposite me in this oval room in my mind, wearing a half-smile and a child’s party dress. At first glance, she could almost be a child, though she isn’t. She is flat-chested and has no curves to speak of. Her knobbly knees poke out of the lace around the hem of her faded skirt, and stick-like shins run down to frilly white ankle socks and black patent-leather shoes. One ankle is lifted, and she is twisting the toe of her shoe against the floor. Her hands are clasped behind her, breathtakingly slender white arms running down out of short puffed sleeves to form an elegant V against her back. Her pointed chin is tilting downward, and even her strawberry-blonde pigtails are thin. But from beneath her smooth brow, she is looking up at me with startlingly large and pale eyes, and there is something adult and knowing in that half-smile. It is a smile that speaks of all my faults. It is temptation, and contempt, and a promise. Worship me. Worship me, and I will become glamorous. Obey me, and so will you.
And I am angry. I am angry because this space is mine and these crates are so very open and I don’t want her sticking her wispy fingers inside and stirring things around. I am angry because, for the briefest of instants, her presence felt comforting and familiar, and I am ashamed of myself for it; but above all else I am angry at the invasion of my privacy. I conjure up the illusion of a wooden door and I slam it in her face. No. These thoughts are mine. You don’t get to make them your playthings; not now, not ever again. Now get out.
The door bangs shut, and her knowing smirk dissolves into a startled look of dismay. I feel taller, stronger, in command of myself and my space. I know she can’t hurt me if I don’t want her to, and I know that I can make her leave. I experience a moment of pure satisfaction. And in that instant, she glitches. The visage pixelates and shifts, and beneath the sweet inviting façade of the impossibly skinny girl-woman, so thoroughly thwarted, I see something else. It is my mother’s face, twisted into a sulking, malevolent rage.
The surprise jolts me out of my reverie, and I’m back in reality, in the blacked out bedroom with the brooding music. I think how bizarre the mental image was; how it came completely unbidden, as if not from my mind at all. And I think how true it was.