One of the most epic battles my mother and I ever had was about me hiding in my room. I was thirteen or some other horrifying age, fraught with hormones and bad hair and worse clothes and a rebellious body and everything in my life just. felt. wrong. So, I spent a lot of time in my room, as nerdy teenagers are prone to do. I read Stephen King, Anne Rice, Peter Straub and Dean Koontz. I wrote short stories and novels about betrayal and heartache and vampires and sex. (All things I knew very little about but imagined vividly.) I wrote a world that was better and worse than mine. I wrote about how very badly people can hurt each other, and how they help each other heal. I wrote about the soft rustling creak of death’s approach in the darkness and the cool panic of fingers just missing the light switch. I wrote my adolescence in first and third person, and sometimes I didn’t stop for days.
You can imagine my mother’s concern.
Events related to growing up, gaining maturity, grief, shame, healing and true love made writing unnecessary, I thought. There wasn’t any need for text therapy, anymore. I thought. And so I submerged myself with quiet joy into beige normality. I stopped writing. And even my dreams became sepia, non-threatening and tame.
I find myself again at a point in my life where I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. My daughter is explosively revealing herself to be some emissary from a far off light system, and though I would miss her terribly, I’m not entirely sure I would resist if her own kind came to claim her. My body rebels against the limits my life proscribes. Things are sagging and folding in unpleasant ways. Injuries refuse to fully heal. And this story I started some weeks ago….
In a way, I’m an adolescent again, afraid to turn off the light. It’s waiting for me. I can see it there restlessly biding its time. Except now I know what love is. I know of betrayal and how time often heals nothing at all. I know that life and death rustle together, permeating the minutiae of our every day. I know that the rain stops. And that first deep breath is always the hardest one.
I’m dreaming in colour again. That frightens me. Though the world, at this age, frightens me less.