A Space in My Time.
by Samantha Harris.
So, I woke this morning still in a scene from ‘I am Legend’. It was the scene where the mutant is head-butting the glass to get to the last human. The last human contains the antidote to the mutancy that has destroyed every other human. The last human is stood in an isolation containment tank.
I imagine that I am the mutant. It is me banging against the glass. The thickness of it shattering outwards from the impact of my head in spangled spikes. Each time I’m withdrawing, slowly walking backwards, concentrating on the human inside the glass, viewing the enormity of the task, before dropping my chin, focusing my eyes and running back at it, shattering another layer.
I’m slowly breaking through the glass. It is very thick.
The human on the other side is screaming. She has her hands against her cheeks and her eyes are wild with fear. She is also me. What is this dream saying? I pull back the covers and make my way through to the lounge. I sit down at my laptop. I’m sat at a table in front of a window so large that it takes up almost the entire wall, I start to write. The nodules on my swollen hands hurt and the pain shooting up from my rear is distracting. I have Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
I spend my time between two windows. One window to see the environment which surrounds me, the other to see the environment which surrounds you. I sit looking out on the world. I rarely close the grey blinds. I need to be able to see the skies. I will see them coming. And I have my superfast broadband and trusty laptop to help me circumnavigate you. I fight my battle on more than one frontline.
I cannot help myself. I cannot stop being angry. This is the reason why mental health can be a problem. These days it is rarely about depression. Why would I kill myself? Why would I even self-harm? I’m in pain every day with an incurable disease. Not killing myself is self-harming. It seriously would achieve nothing other than to hurt the humans I do care about. And, anyway, what if killing myself didn’t change my actual existence? That would be typical.
I’m angry at the world. I’m angry with myself for ever being young, subservient, ignorant and now unable to follow my own dreams. I will, no longer, use a capital letter for father, mother or god. Why should I? I’m subservient to no one. My anger manifests as revenge plots which I would not act on. It disturbs me that I spend so much time thinking of these plans.
Ideally, I would hurt others. But who? Who is actually responsible? My natural mother? My step mother? My father? The Courts? The first man who found me sexual at seven? The second man who found me sexual at ten? My madam? My second husband? My GP? Religion? Multinational corporations? The list is endless.
I do fear those flying unknowns. The triangular ones in the sky. Not the invisible religious gods. The real ones in the huge ships with the hatches and symbols. They are looking. They are waiting. What do they plan as they move invisibly and silently across our skies? They fly by when no one can see. When I look out and just see cloud, I imagine them lurking behind. On a damp, rainy day they sit, adding weight.
My partner comes into the room. The atmosphere frosty from an unspoken argument yesterday. I attempt to discuss it in a clumsy manner. It doesn’t work. He collects his things. Have I gone too far? I make tea, stirring and dropping in milk. I think, briefly, about when he takes me. I mustn’t look at him when he is really close. If I do, his blue eyes disappear, replaced by sharp black ones which dart from side to side and scales appear as his skin peels away. His tongue is replaced by one which has a split end. It flicks my face. My human’s beautiful face goes, only returning when I close my eyes and desperately blink away the image. I know it’s not real. It’s an image seen whilst modelling in a tiny, studio in Chelsea. My confusion isn’t any easier to live with knowing it isn’t real. Let me explain.
Years ago a famous fantasy comic artist showed me something. I was sworn to secrecy but as promised dues still go unpaid, I see no reason to keep it secret. To be frank, swearing me to secrecy wasn’t helpful. Not all images give me issues, the majority I can usually educate myself through.
I don’t blame the artist. How could I? How could he know I’d be forever haunted? Or that my brain would do whatever it is doing? He showed me the private work because I told him I’d seen a spaceship. I had. He was riding high on my naivety and I suspect my interest was stroking his ego. The work he showed me, was fantastically brilliant.
There were large grey reptiles with huge copulatory organs engaging with human women drawn across the page. The women’s expressions neither terrified or happy. I viewed only for a moment before he, sorry for showing me, quickly covered it up again. It was long enough to see several intergalactic pairings across the huge paper, they stood in strange positions, strained expressions on the upstanding lizards’ faces.
I was disappointed, at the time, that the spaceship in the background was only depicted by the presence of metallic stands as the scene was happening underneath and looked nothing like the spaceship I had seen. It was merely his imagination.
Robert Lankiewicz is another artist whose sublime, realistic work is also thoroughly entwined in my thought patterns. His stories, paintings and image play often in my head. His death lays heavy on me, feeling responsible only part down to my paranoia.
Now that my mental illness is enjoying a little freedom these images are becoming alive. Why some images more than others? I’ve no idea. Over my years as a model I’ve worked with fantastic artists and painters. Perhaps now they taunt me because I cannot be distracted, no long walks, no longer able to sing or play the guitar to cheer myself. The autoimmune response to a medical implant means I cannot even abide listening to music.
It’s been over thirty years since I first started getting reality and fiction confused. I just deal with it. I’m just writing about the first few minutes of my day. I have been diagnosed with ‘unstable emotional personality disorder’ and ‘post traumatic stress disorder’ as well as ‘depression’. Personally I don’t think they’ve got me pegged yet. Thankfully I have started writing and it is an outlet of some sort.
Perhaps waking up imagining your bashing your head against a glass wall with yourself on the other side is exactly the same for you. Perhaps you have also seen a UFO and your lover morphs into a lizard. If so, I’m glad. We will be prepared when they do arrive from the skies. If not, then I hope this little slice of my life will unable you to humour the people in your life who may be struggling with mental health issues.
Past caring but not past sharing