Right now I am in a dead space and it is February 2017, a place where I am coming to the realization that I don’t have what I need to make it to the future. I don’t have the answers, the tools, the self awareness, the mental health survival kit that will catapult me forward. I am exhausted from running through my own mind everyday, getting lost in my madness, and slipping into debilitating holes of dissociation and depression. The days speed onward melting together and I am beginning to feel the weight of urgency and deterioration. The issue is not that I am crazy rather that I know nothing about how to understand it, how to manage it, how to find clarity through the haze of mental illness. Madness is swimming through mud. Treading through thoughts till exhaustion sets in. I am tired and weary when the fog clears and I notice I haven’t moved forward at all. I am stuck in a dense pit of shame and I feel the distance growing between my mind and my body. The deepest part of me is heavy with loss. A loss of trust with the self. How do I ever know if I am thinking clearly or irrationally? I do not ever know for sure.
If there are two or three things I know for sure, one of them is that crazy runs in my family, very fast, very agile, very flexible, adaptable, brave, that bold crazy. I have family members who have killed each other out of madness. Uncles and great uncles sent into fits of rage and revenge from years of repression. Grandmothers who grow into the cold, who are lonely from pain and whose patience never seemed to run away. No grandfathers known. Fathers whose anger bubbled over into beatings and bruises and blood. Mothers who have life in a vice grip so as not to lose control. Siblings who cry and scream and tear one another apart. Blood is family. Blood is the split eyebrows and puffy lips from father’s fists, the brown stained sheets from second grade, gunshot wounds that drip the same DNA as that rushing through the veins of the fingers curled around triggers. Blood is family is crazy is past, present, and future.
I am trying to learn from the past because I am entrenched in the present with a fierce desperation for the future. My desperation for answers has me living out my fears in the form of visions that come to me in my dreams. Dark futures where I watch as my friends, family, and enemies die tragically over and over again at the hands of violence and heartbreak that is unchanging, cyclic. War like ultra violence shakes me as I sleep. My dreaming mind takes me back into my own trauma forcing me to relive the harshest violence over and over again. I wake up crying, sweating, thrashing, heart beating, and broken. It turns out PTSD can cause night terrors or nightmares that feel real. Well mine are real. They are visions of what love cannot be. My sleeping mind begs me to shatter the rhythmic cycles of abuse.
Abuser turns to abuse turns abused into abuser. Clockwork.
I invite you into my first vision. As I sleep I envision the death of my father. We are in the near future and I am driving him deep into the arizona desert. I am spinning a desert eagle semi-automatic on my fingers like I do with my keys when im bored. I am cool, calm, collected, and crazy all at the same time. In my vision I take advantage of an opportunity I had only ever fantasized about since I had been 7 years old. I killed my father. I didn’t shoot him. I made him get into a hole and I filled the hole with dirt so he could understand what it feels like to not be able to breathe. I don’t know if I did this because I thought it could help me heal or if it was out of 23 years of blinding rage. Or maybe I became the assassin I always promised my child self I would grow into. I didn’t know who my father had become in the future. All I remember about my father in this vision was that he was sorry, and I remember, I still killed him. My father raped me when I was 7, and 8, and 9. What my intuition tells me about years prior to these ages is nothing but a sharp stabbing feeling that erects my spine when I think about it. I can’t remember how many times my father hit me, all ages, all of time, forever it seemed. This constant variable, abuse, has left me cold and on fire at the same time. Hot searing pain that sends you into mania fantasies about revenge, and the shivering numbness that comes after thinking of taking life that is not your own. I think about how this must be empowering for some to read. How empowering it must be to kill your rapist, for once and for all. With revenge comes a type of release. I fear that this release will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Another vision and this time I am killing myself, watching myself from the corner of the garage, I am crying and holding a gun, all over again I relive a memory from my past. But this is a reflection of an older me who feels heavy from the weight of walking with 16 plus years of secret trauma. Walking for so long that I can only fathom killing my father to ensure I do not kill myself. Heavy heavy blood on my hands. DNA that matches my own. My great uncle killed himself after killing his father and I wonder what trauma had he been walking with. For how long was he suffocating? For so long that he could only self destruct. Self destruction brings release. It haunts me.
I had a vision about a baby.
I am in a bathtub, it is pearly white and shiny. The edges fold over like lips and it stands on four golden feet. I sit with my back against a golden water spout. To my left there is a large window that I can touch. Bright sunlight shines through and I cannot look out without blinding myself. The other three walls are made of wood and they have gaping holes in them. I look through the holes and I see people everywhere, I recognize many of them as they run by. They are in chaos, fighting a war and dying. I see everything and hear nothing. On the ground around the bathtub there are shards of glass and metal and wood. Shrapnel from explosions. In the bathtub I am fully clothed and soaking wet. I am crying, I feel my body choosing fight over flight. With me in the bathtub there is a baby. With the support of my hands the baby is calmly floating in crystal clear cool water. I rinse the child with the water, cradling them close to my body now, soothing and reassuring them that everything will be all right. But I am surrounded by strange and violent white men. I have never seen them before but they are nothing new to me at all. They claw and snarl at me, their bodies aggressively flailing about, they are trying to reach the baby. The energy radiating off of them is powerful and terrifying at the same time. I cannot say I have ever felt fear like I did in this vision. But I am untouchable in this bathtub, so I continue to rinse the child. My vision ends here.
Tragedy is generations of family violence unnamed and silent. Tragedy is anger and rage channeled violently inward at ourselves and outward into the exact cycles we are so desperately trying to escape from. Tragedy is creating life and welcoming it with trauma. Tragedy is the self destruction that follows. I want to be tragedy transformed. I want to be the tragedy that breaks wide open and spills trauma loudly. I want to rinse abuse out of my future. I want the looming family legacy of violence to end at me. I want the past to keep its hands away from the future. I want love that is inviolable, resistant, crystal clear. Two or three things I know for sure, and one is that crazy runs in my family and this time it is running away from its destined path and toward a vision I once had of being untouchable.