I’m in a town I don’t recognise. In a church. I’m not sure why. My mom is there. Dressed in white. She lights a candle at the alter. I have been in the church before and realise I should have lit a candle too. Why didn’t I light a candle? Guilt washes over me. The church is full of people that are afraid. My mom makes her way through the crowd and she is gone.
I meet my dad outside the church. We walk up and down the street for a while. I don’t want to talk to him. I say I need to go back into the church. I am in the church. Still so many people. I walk through to the back of the church, outside into the ally.
Now I’m in a chinese shopping precinct behind the church. I feel claustrophobic. Why are there so many people. Where are the homeware shops. This isn’t the place I am meant to be. I need to make my way back to the church. I go back to the church. So many people in the church. We are being held prisoner. I am looking for my swimming costume. Where is my swimming costume and the earrings. Where are the earrings? I’m looking under beds, in different rooms on different levels. I can’t find them. Why are there so many people.
Now I am on a boat. A big boat. My sister is on the boat too. We are trapped. Prisoners. There is a lot of commotion and she jumps off to get something. I think she is escaping so I jump over too. I am fighting the waves. There are pink, coral coloured things in the sea. My sister grabs something and swims back towards the boat. Why is she going back? I have to go back with her. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to be a prisoner. I keep thinking about a bell. I should hear a bell. Why can’t I hear a bell? Where is the bell?
My eyes open. My alarm, it hasn’t gone off again. I dart a look at my clock. 8am. Fuck! I am late, late, late. I feel drugged. I can’t move my body. I slowly ease out of bed, stumbling as my body moves from the twilight of the dreamworld to the reality of the physical world. I turn on the bathroom light. No time to shower. I grab what I wore yesterday and drag my clothes over my body. I look in the mirror. My thinning hair is everywhere. Madam Madusa eat your heart out. I look for a bandanna to cover my head. Red, that’ll do. I try to put it over my head. The ties get caught and losing my temper, knowing how little time I have, I throw it on the ground. I don’t need it anyway. I scrape a brush through my hair. I look like I have a comb over. The joys of having female pattern baldness.
I walk through to the kitchen, letting the dogs outside as I go. I’m tired. And very very grumpy. I do not greet JC. He doesn’t notice, he is on his iPod reading his stories. There are advantages to having a child with autism. I don’t care if they are selfish. I peel his two bananas and hand them to him. He looks up and says, “thanks.” I don’t even smile. I don’t have the energy for smiling. I make his lunch – yay for strawberry jam sandwiches. I sniff. There is something that smells funny. I open the fridge and it hits me – putrid. I slam the fridge door shut. Gag. Fuck!
I sit down next to JC. “You need to brush your teeth and put on your socks.” He gets up without argument. Thank god for his routine. I am so irritated. Why the fuck did I oversleep? What the fuck is wrong with me? Why does everything have to bear down on me like a fucking ton of bricks. I close my eyes. Breathe in…breathe out…breathe in…breathe out. Nope, not happening. How the fuck does the Dalai Lama get it right?
JC emerges. I know he hasn’t brushed his teeth. “Get back and brush your teeth.”
“No you haven’t JC. It’s been less than a minute.” He doesn’t argue. He heads off to the bathroom. “And make sure it’s a full two minutes. I want that yellow furry stuff on your teeth gone!”
We are in the car. JC has his earphone in and I am listening to the radio. I can hear the hum of his music. I am immediately filled with irritation. “JC, turn down your music please.”
I breathe in deeply. “JC.” My voice is a little louder, but not too loud. I am not shouting. “JC, I can hear your music and it sounds like a mosquito buzzing. You know how some noises just irritate you and I turn them off? Well, you iPod mosquito sound is really irritating me. Please turn it down.”
The noise is less. I can still hear it, but I choose to ignore the muffled mosquito. My thoughts are all over the place. What if the world ends this year? What if, like the conspiracy theorists say, there is going to be a staged invasion at the olympic games to bring about a New World Order. That article I read the other day (read it here) has me thinking. The conspiracy theorists believe that an image or sound will be beamed into our minds to tell us of the coming of the new messiah – the false messiah, but we won’t know that because the image will be beamed into our minds. That or either a staged alien invasion using satellites (see youtube video here). This machine sounds like it could do something like that. Is there a new dictatorial world order on its way? I am sure there were conspiracy theorists about Hitler that were laughed at, but look what happened there. The Hunger Games play on my mind. A life where the masses produce goods for the decadent elite, whilst starving. Is that on the horizon? There is no denying the inequality gap is widening. I shake my head. I am drowning in my own thoughts.
JC heads off to school. I drive home. My thoughts are angry, bitter, all consuming. I think of people that have pissed me off in the past. Like my old regional manager Charlie , when I worked atKelly Girl in Pietermaritzburg. She interrogated me about my life – how my husband died, how much he left me, how much my mortgage was. I was so vulnerable having just lost Gee, I answered the questions, desperate for the job. I got the job, then got framed for sending a girl out on assignment without a reference. I didn’t lose my job. I should have told her it was my manager, but desperate to keep my job, I kept quiet. I was pressured to leave. I left. My conscience could no longer stomach her or Kelly Girl. Then, when I needed it, she wouldn’t fucking well give me a reference to prove I worked there. On the phone all the way from the UK I am told “It’s company policy not to give references.” Her voice, her fucking self righteousness, resonates in my mind. I could not get a job as a financial advisor in the UK because of her. I had to have ten years proof of employment and she prevented me from getting it. “You’re a fucking employment agency. You demand references. How can you not give them!!” I shout in the car.
Next I am thinking about Julie Burton who beat me up in primary school and then incredulously appeared at the same private school I attended and beat me up there too. I pee’d myself that time and pretended to faint, dropping like a stone in the locker room. The memory of the humiliation makes me want to vomit. I always stored a change of clothing in my locker after that. Why did people hate me so? Tears start rolling down my cheek.
Memories of people hurting me flood my brain – my best friend at school, my best friend in nursing college, my sister in law – people I loved so much, would have laid down my life for and each one, in turn, saw fit to discard me like a disposable old rag. I know I was clingy, demanding, had my part to play, but I don’t want to acknowledge that. I want to wallow in the victimness of my own circumstance. I am angry, and bitter, and full of rage.
I get home. Only 8:50am. I slump down on the sofa. I feel defeated. Isolated, alone. Never measuring up, always trying to please, to prove my own self worth. I DO DESERVE TO BREATHE AIR. Do I though? What have a I really brought to this existence. Life, yes, in the form of my two children. But I am persona non grata to them at the moment. I am not even a wife, really. My house is a mess, I cannot work, do not have the mental capacity to work, although outwardly it would seem I could, if only I would try. I am a failure. A wreck.
Is this what meant when Buddha said that the first noble truth is that life is hard. Is this the level of mental anguish he meant? When he sat under that bodhi tree, did he weep at his own inadequacies? I doubt it.
There are days when I feel so strong. I could fight the world and those in it that would oppress the meek. Today is not one of those days.