Tuesday Morning’s Walk

I took a walk outside.
Just yesterday morning.
Before I went to work.
It was while I was outside.
Walking.
That something new happened.
Something that had never happened
In my life before.

I understood.
I realized.
Why I walk.

And I realized too,
I’ve always know.
Just never faced the truth.

But the words I wrote
On February 15th
Of 1999,
More than 13 years ago,
Those words tell me
I knew.
Even back then.

I know those words so very well…

I play my music loud.
Louder than you like.
Louder than I should.
But somehow,
Never loud enough.

I like my music loud.
It drowns out everything.
I can’t think.
I can’t feel.
I can only hear the music.

When the music is all there is
I don’t worry about you.
And whether I’ve hurt you.
And whether I’ll hurt you again.
It’s all drowned out.

When the music is loud,
Things quit hurting.
My shoulder, knees and ankle,
Vanish into the noise.
And I quit hurting.

And for a time,
I can hide.
Behind the noise.
Inside the noise.
And rest.

For a time,
The walls are gone.
And the mask I hide behind
So you can not see me
Comes off.

For a time
I am free.

I like my music loud.
The louder the better.
So loud I can’t think.
So loud I can’t feel.
So loud…

That only the music exists.

And as I walked along,
Alone,
On Tuesday morning.
With my music playing.
Drowning out
Everything.

I finally knew.
I finally understood.

I walk to escape the pain.
The pain I feel each day.
As I try to cope
With a society
That I can’t understand.
In a world
I never made.

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A Clip From Chapter 25 Of JuNoWriMo 2012

Sunshine slept in her little home. Where she felt so very safe. She hadn’t felt like she belonged anywhere at all for a long time. But now, she felt like she was home. Like she belonged with Mystica. At the lake. In her little home.

She’d gone to sleep. Like she’d done for the first four nights. But on this night, while she slept, she dreamed. And her dreams turned into nightmares.

She dreamed of a fire. A big fire. And her father was trapped in that fire. He couldn’t fly. He couldn’t get away. And she wanted so very much to help him. But she was so little. She didn’t even have real wings yet. Just little tiny wings. Her wings had just started to grow out. So she couldn’t fly.

The fire raged. And she could hear her father scream, as the fire reached him. She was so desperate she tried to run into the fire to save her father. But the fire was too hot. She had to run back out. And her own hair, and her clothes, were on fire. Someone had thrown a bucket of water on her, dousing out the flames. But she was hurt. Her hair was ruined. She had burns on her face, hands, legs and back. And she hurt all over. In her nightmare, her father kept on screaming. But she couldn’t save him. She couldn’t help him.

And then, his screams stopped. And Sunshine knew. He was dead. He was gone. Burned alive in the fire. She couldn’t save him. She couldn’t help him.

In her sleep, she tossed and turned. Rolling all over her bed. And as she did, the weather outside took a turn for the worse. As she ran into the fire in that nightmare she was having, lightning struck the clearing by the lake. And it set fire to the grasses. As she was hurt by the flames in her nightmare, lightning struck the lake. And then it struck several trees. And the wind began to blow.

As Sunshine’s father screamed in the roaring fires, the winds outside blew worse and worse. And the fire on the grasses began to spread. Reaching the trees. The winds blew small tree limbs off of trees, and added them to the fire.

As her father’s screams fell silent, Sunshine began to cry. And outside, it began to rain. A heavy rain. That doused out all the flames. But the wind continued howling.

It was bad enough that it woke Mystica up. At first she wasn’t sure what was happening. Other than there was a nasty storm outside. But then the realized the storm was caused by Sunshine while she slept. And that meant just one thing. Sunshine was having a nightmare.

Mystica hadn’t even bothered to take the time to dress. She’d raced out of her home, and hurtled across the lake to the home of Sunshine. Where she’d peeked into her daughter’s home. And saw her crying on the bed.

“My daddy’s gone. My daddy’s gone.” Was all Sunshine said.

Mystica had taken Sunshine from her little home that night. And carried her across the lake. Where she tucked her into bed. And Sunshine spent the rest of that night sleeping with her new mother.

A Clip From Chapter 24 Of JuNoWriMo 2012.

The first night, they reached the Gray Hills. They stopped in a little clearing that Mystica spotted from the air. It was next to a little stream. With trees all around. They spent the night there, sleeping on the ground. They drank fresh water from the stream. And they ate berries, and cheese that Mystica had carried with her. It wasn’t anything special. But it meant so much to Sunshine. To do something so simple. So normal. So quiet. To just be able to spend time with her mother.

They told stories that night. Sunshine told stories of playing with Musica in the castle. And Mystica told stories of the birds, and rabbits by the lake. How they played games with each other.

Sunshine fell asleep that night, with a smile on her face, and her head in Mystica’s lap.

The second day of the trip, they crossed the Gray Hills, to the foothills of the Black Mountains. Sunshine saw so many things she’d never seen before. She saw wild animals roaming through the hills, in groups. Like deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, and even wolves. But what she liked most of all were the birds, and the butterflies. She’d seen birds in the kingdom. But she’d never seen such flocks of birds before. And never knew that butterflies flew in such large groups.

Sunshine also saw lakes, between the hills. Where streams, and creeks, and rivers came together. And next to some of them there were villages. The way the surface of the lakes reflected sunlight was so amazing to her. How the lake sometimes looked like liquid silver in the sunlight.

That second night, in the foothills of the mountains, They had another simple meal. And they settled in a small clearing that overlooked the Gray Hills. Sunshine had stood there for a couple of hours, just looking at the hills. “They’re beautiful, Mommy! They’re so beautiful!” She watched as fog began to form around the lakes, the rivers, and the creeks. And then slowly spread. Covering the Gray Hills as far as she could see. “I know why they call them the Gray Hills, Mommy! I know! The fog at night turns everything gray!”

The third day of the journey home was through the Black Mountains. The heights of the mountains were so high that nothing grew on them. they were bare rock. Many of them were covered in ice and snow. On that day, Sunshine saw her first waterfalls. She’d never seen anything like them. Water flowing over a big cliff, and falling to the ground below, where it returned to being water in a river once again.

She saw her first snow. She’d never seen snow. It never snowed in the Southern Plains. Sunshine had no idea what it was at first. Mystica had stopped, and let her explore the snow for a time. Sunshine learned it was cold. And if you picked up a handful of it, that it would met in your hand, and turn to water. “It’s frozen water!” She looked at the snow some more, and realized the water froze in little flakes. As they were on the ground, it actually started to snow. And Sunshine learned that snow was a lot like frozen rain.

Sunshine also saw her first iceberg. A river made of ice. Flowing between two mountains. As icebergs go, it was a small one. The big icebergs were all in the land of ice and snow to the north. But at the tops of the Black Mountains, it was cold enough for a few icebergs to form. Sunshine.

The two of them had spent the night in the northern foothills of the Black Mountains. They had their usual berries and cheese. And they drank water from a mountain stream. They slept beneath the stars that night. And listened to the animals sing. The sounds of crickets chirping. The sound of frogs croaking. The sound of birds singing their songs. It was a veritable orchestra of wildlife. And Sunshine spent hours listening to the music of the animals before she fell asleep.

A Clip From Chapter 23 of JuNoWriMo 2012

Mystica walked through the gates, into the kingdom. A brilliant, white light gleaming in the crystal ball on her scepter. The ice melting off of everything that light touched. There was no one there to welcome her. Everyone was huddled up in their homes, or in the castle itself.

As she walked along, the water on the streets magically evaporated. Drying as if the storm from a very few minutes before had never happened. She walked the streets, knowing exactly where she was heading. To the castle. As she approached the castle, a small door along one wall opened, and a very nervous castle guard stepped out. The guard was surprised. he looked around. He saw no trace of any storm. And the weather was nice, and warm. With a soft breeze blowing from the east to the west. The sky was filled with stars. Mystica saw he was confused. “The storm is over now,” she said.

The guard then realized that the figure approaching the castle was Princess Mystica. The princess Mystica. He ran back inside, and very shortly, the main entrance of the castle opened. There were cheers. “Princess Mystica has returned! She’s saved us from that evil child, Rain.”

Mystica was outraged. She raised her scepter, and then lowered it, slamming it to the ground. A brilliant white light erupting from it. And she spoke, softly, just two words. Two words filled with contempt. “Show them.”

Everyone in the kingdom that day saw the story of the little girl they had named, “Rain”. The story of a child that lost everything. A child that was alone. And uncared for. A child that was ostracized, because she wasn’t like the other fairies were. A child that became, over time, what everyone believed she was.

No one could turn away. It didn’t matter if you looked at the ground. If you closed your eyes. If you covered your eyes with your hands. There was no way not to watch. The White Magic painted the story in the minds, and hearts, and souls of everyone that day. The story ending with the storm. The storm the fairies finally understood they had brought upon themselves.

When the story at last ended, everyone was silent.

I Was Just Afraid

As I’ve continued on this new journey I’m on through life, in this world I never made, I’ve learned so many things. And today, I’ve learned something I never understood before. I’ve had panic attacks all my life. And I never knew it. Neither did anyone else.I can remember one day in 1983. I was at work. And nothing was going well that day. My day was awful. I don’t remember all the details of what people had said to me. Of how people had behaved. But I do remember sitting at the desk I was assigned to. Looking into a desk drawer. And I remember shutting that drawer. Hard. So hard that I separated all four of the seams in the corners of the front of that drawer. The entire drawer went a quarter of an inch further into the desk after that. The front of the drawer was visibly bent at the top right corner. And when you pulled the drawer out, you could see where all four pieces of metal that attached the front to the rest of the drawer had straightened out a bit. You could see the gaps in the seams at each of the front’s four corners. And I remember after I closed that drawer, I got up. And I walked away.

I have no idea where I went. I just don’t remember. I know I stayed gone until I was OK to work.

I can remember one day in August of 1976. It was a Wednesday. Every Wednesday night the high school aged youth of the church had a youth group meeting. That Wednesday night was no exception.

I still wonder how the hell a youth group got onto the topic of women serving aboard US Navy vessels. I just knew I got hammered for being rational and pointing out that having women on an US Navy ship that was deployed at sea meant there would have to be changes in the design of the vessel. And I remember how outrageously angry that got people with me.

Too the point I couldn’t take it any more. And I got up, and walked away. I walked from the back yard of a house that day, down streets I’d never set foot on. In neighborhoods I didn’t know were there. I’d walked until I had calmed down. Until I felt like I could behave again.

I have so many tales like this that I remember from my life.

So many days in July, August and September of 2010, when I went to work. And wound up walking on the beach. Because I couldn’t stay in the building any more. In that 12 weeks, I must have consumed 60 sodium naproxen pills fighting off the headaches I endured just by parking my car in the parking lot. Headaches that got worse as I approached the building. I remember the pills didn’t cure the headaches. Instead, changed my pain threshold, so I could cope with the pain I was in.

I can remember 3rd grade. When Dad joined the US Navy. And we moved. From our home in Merrigold, Mississippi. To an apartment in Middletown, Rhode Island. Everyone thought I had a temper, and my temper showed at school. I got put into time out lots. I even broke the bottom of a desk.

No one knew. No one knew at all. How much of the things I went through then were actually caused by panic. But as my understanding of things grows. I know. I can see where panic touched my life. Even then.

Most people think of panic attacks as people trembling with fear. Hiding in their home. Unable to leave. It’s a common assumption people make. That people have to behave as if they were afraid of their own shadows to suffer panic attacks. To have problems with anxieties.

That’s a common myth. Another lie. That society puts in place to make people comfortable with the way things are. I know this because I know what I sometimes do in a panic attack. I know what the law of fight or flight is all about. And I know that in a panic-stricken state, I would do anything to escape. Including fight.

It’s what I did in 3rd grade. When I was so afraid of failure. So afraid of not getting the best grades I could get. That I lashed out every time I failed. That I punished myself, for letting my parents down. That I panicked. Wondering. “What will they think of me! I’ve let them down!”

No one understood at all. I got taught lots of ways to manage my temper. Take a deep breath, hold it, and count to 10. And lots of other things. Like covering up the bad wood used in a building’s frame with drywall. So that no one knows it’s there.

I’ve learned the physical symptoms my body exhibits when my panic sets in. The tension in my chest, shoulders, and neck. The way that my hands shake, and I can’t stop them. My sudden inability to think at all. Other than one word. “Escape!” The way my pulse goes crazy. Rocketing up to near 100 beats per minute. And maybe even more.

And I’ve learned how to cope with those signs. To treat them as the signals they really are. To find my way through the events that triggered my attack. So that more and more, my attacks don’t rule me, and don’t determine how I behave. More and more I make the choice for myself about what to do.

It’s like for the first time in my life, I’m finding the answers I’ve always needed, and always sought. Answers to the problems I’ve always had. Problems I never understood before. Problems that no one around me ever understood. I was never “bad”. I was never “mean”. I was never angry, with a temper.

I was just afraid.

And no one ever understood.

A Clip From Chapter 22 Of JuNoWriMo 2012

Rain woke the next morning. And she decided that if her name was Rain, and everyone called her that anyway, then she was going to make it rain. She was going to make it rain like no one had ever seen it rain before. She was going to make it rain like the sky itself was made of water. And she’d make the wind blow too.

And that’s just what she did. Oh, the storm she caused. The wind howled through the kingdom. It was so fierce that no one ventured outside their homes. The rain fell. As if nature itself had dumped an entire lake on the kingdom, all at one time. And in the wind, the rain fell almost horizontally to the ground.

And it was cold. A bitter, angry cold. A cold that caused the bones to ache. And the teeth to chatter. And the water on the ground, and trees, and houses, to turn to ice.

And Rain stood outside the kingdom. Beneath the sheltering wing of a dragon. And the rain did not fall there. It fell all around. She could see the ice on the ground. She could see it raining in all directions, as far as she could see. But it didn’t rain where the dragons were.

The fifth dragon protected them all from the weather.

Musica stood next to rain, beneath the wing of that dragon. And Musica cried. Tears of hurt, and pain. Tears for the loss of everything she’d had in the village she’d called her home. Tears of bitterness from when she’d been abandoned, and left to die, all alone, in the Gray Hills. Tears of anger that people could be so very cruel. Throwing away little children like her, and Rain. Because they were different. And not understood.

Musica didn’t play her flute. She didn’t sing. She was hurt. And angry. And she wished the storm that Rain was causing could somehow make everything OK. She could see how hurt Rain was. She could see the tears that Rain cried. Hot tears of anger.

The storm raged. Hour after hour. Rain stood there, beneath the wing of the dragon. And let all the hurt she felt pour out onto the ground. She’d lost everything. Her mommy. Her daddy. Her home. Even her room at the castle. Because of the nasty people of the kingdom. “She’s dangerous!” they’d said. “We need to get rid of her!” they’d said. “For the safety of us all!” they’d said. And like the little girl she was, Rain finally lashed out. And let her anger show. “I hate you all!” she screamed. “I hate you all! I hate you all!”

And the wind blew. The roofs came off of several houses. The fairies inside those homes became very wet, and very cold. And the wind buffeted them. Eyela’s soldiers did the best they could to bring those families inside the castle. Where it was safe. And dry. But even then, the wind howled, and moaned, and screamed, as it sought the windows of the castle, and came in through them. Like a living thing.

More and more people in the kingdom were leaving their homes, and heading into the castle. The first floor of the castle was filled to overflowing. And still the storm continued. There was ice on everything. Ice like no one could remember in all the years the fairies had been in the Southern Plains.

And still the storm raged.

A Clip From Chapter 21 of JuNoWriMo 2012…

Merlin came out of the shadows. She’d gotten used to that. The way he was invisible in the shadows. And then just popped out of nowhere. But she expected it would take time for the child to get used to that. Even if Merlin was a tiny dragon. He only came up to her waist. He wasn’t much taller than the girl. But he was Merlin. The most dangerous dragon of all time.

“And I’m going to have a 4-year-old girl living with the two most powerful dragons there are. Oh, my.”

Merlin inspected the new home. “This is for her, isn’t it?”

“Yes. I’ve decided what to do to take care of her.”

Merlin laughed. It sounded like a sheet of metal being crumpled up, but Mystica knew it was his laugh. “Sally really got to you didn’t she?”

“Yes. She did.” Mystica thought of the little girl, Sally. Who had died a horrible death in the Gray Hills. How she’d been too late to save her. How Sally had asked, “Will you be my Mommy?”

Mystica would have. She would have cared for Sally as if she were her real mother. And now, there was Verdant Green. Her parents both dead. One by accident. The other by her own hand. It was a horrible thing by itself. But the way the people of the kingdom treated her. She deserved so much more than that. She deserved better. She deserved to have a mother. She deserved to be loved. And cared for. To have someone who could help her learn the ways of her magic gift.

Mystica could do that.

Mystica would do that.

She looked at the surface of the lake, and watched as the white magic painted the story of the dragons outside the castle, protecting the children, Musica and Verdant Green. She watched the fairies attack. She watched the dragons use their wild magic to defend the girls. She watched the girls make a bed of straw, and sleep on it. While the dragons watched over them. She saw the fairies that were injured.

There would be much to do when she got there. Much to do indeed.

Mystica and Merlin ate berries, and cheese. And they drank water from the lake. They talked about what was to come. The flight to the kingdom. Merlin had laughed hard when Mystica had said that flight would take a while. “White Witch. You could get there far more rapidly than you realized. You have that magic power. That magic gift.”

Mystica had smiled. Merlin was always so confident of her. He always seemed to know what she could do. Much better than she did. Sometimes she wondered how he knew. Someday, she would ask him. But for now, she just smiled. “But I’ll have to go slowly enough for you and Scream to keep up.”

Merlin fell over he was laughing so hard.