She Who Wrote the World, a novella by Hannah Brewster-Stein
Part Three: History
Here I record for you all that I am required to share with you. In anticipation of what I must do, I am compelled to create this video to teach you my ways. Learn from my past, learn from the stories I share with you and you will gain understanding.
When she started talking to me I was a cashier at a hardware store. It was sometimes busy and if it was not, management kept you busy doing something, anything, from rearranging merchandize near your counter or dusting or memorizing the script for selling the product plan warranty on anything they could try to slap that on. I was a decent cashier. I never lost money or miscounted. I caught a few swindlers; I was swindled a few times. I had fun though. I was young, about nineteen and I was just learning how to use my body to flirt and I liked the attention I received. I liked to laugh, but more importantly, I liked to make other people laugh. I liked how it felt to make someone crack a genuine smile or see that look of simultaneous surprise and amusement. I loved to remember the regulars’ names. How many cashiers can do that? Of course, I never laughed when I was alone. There was no audience in aloneness, no validation to be had. I was utterly unhappy. I toyed with suicidal ideations, fantasized about being other people, dreamed of life as a happy person. But in the spotlight, behind my cashier’s counter, there, at least I could shine.
I was single. Maybe that is hard to picture after all of this, but yes, indeed, I was completely alone when I punched out. I pretended there was someone and we always had plans. He loved to take me places, plan surprises and was jealous of my time. Once, I even sent myself flowers at work with a letter signed ‘Love, Steve.’ It was a nostalgic choice of name for my imaginary boyfriend, inspired by reruns of Full House.
The exuberance with which I performed within those four hour shifts left me drained. There was no energy left to hide my ugly and anyone who loved that person, that smiling carefree outside person, would not love the real me. In reality, I was overwhelmed with my studies and failing fast. In reality, I swallowed down my emotions with excess chips and chocolates that plugged my shower drain when I puked them back up while the hot water rinsed away my shame. In reality, I could not sleep without a shot of vodka. Well, in the beginning it was just one shot. Any alcoholic will tell you, it loses its effectiveness over time.
And I spent hours experiencing panic attacks. Time is such an illusion of perception. She did not have to teach me that. Oh no, I knew that one all too well. I knew that from the way each second slowed down until you could feel the weight of each millisecond pressing against your chest. You wait for it to pass, but the experience intensifies and you wonder if you are dying. You seriously wonder if this is it for you, and despite any thought leading you to want it all to end, you are scared. You are terrified. Suddenly, you want nothing more than to live. But, you know it is just as likely you are panicking as you are dying and you do not want the ridicule of calling the paramedics if it is all just in your head. You try to relax, deep breathe, but your whole body is shaking and cold. You are sick in the bathroom and can only warm up in a bath that is scolding and leaves your skin red. You spend time between the toilet (both sitting and hovering face down over it) and the bath. All the while your mind spins between trying to calm you down and in escalating fits of hysterics. You know, if this is panic, it will pass in time. And that’s when you realize, when I realized, the paradox of time.
Why would anyone want to see that? Who would love the extrovert and the introvert? Who would love the carefree smile, then go home with the depressed, the panicked, and the insecure? You would not. I would not either.
My upbringing was usual, nothing bad. My parents worked, but we still had home cooked meals on the table every night. Sometimes I did not think my dad liked me much. Sometimes I hated my sister. It was normal. I played soccer, my sister danced and we ran around the neighborhood playing with any kid who was allowed out. We knocked on doors and ran. We did cartwheels in the grass and stained our denim with smears of earth and blood.
My sister was older and had a boyfriend who liked to play house with me. He insisted Chelsea be the daughter and I his wife and he would shut us in my room and kiss my mouth and kissed my three year old body. It only happened a few times that I remember. I did not fight it. I am not sure how much I understood it then. But, some say those kinds of things influence you the rest of your life. I do not know. It did not feel that traumatizing at the time. He was probably five. I wonder still where a five year old would learn to do that.
“Tell me, Holly, does it look as though my early life has influenced me?”
Holly clicked off the recorder in her brain. The Author was gesturing to her private guards, each one chiseled from granite. Holly had heard they were more than guards to the Author and the satisfied, challenging look on her face confirmed it. Holly shook her head. The Author continued the internal dialogue that transmitted inside Holly’s brain and she quickly began recording, embedding each track permanently and flawlessly into her long-term memory.
I grew up anyhow. I was fine for a while, up and down through the hormonal years. I was fine until I was not. I know that sounds simplistic. After that last disclosure, something I haven’t told anyone before, I am suddenly feeling a bit uncomfortable. I know I have to tell you more. I know it is what she wants. She wants my humanity to touch your humanity so that you can see that my message is for anyone. So you can understand what I am preparing to do. But I need a breather. Some of these words brings me back to those darker days. I feel my mood shifting to a lower vibration.
Now is a good time to teach you how to raise your vibrations since perhaps my memories have stirred painful reminiscing for you as well. First, indulge me in an illustration to explain my method.
Picture something you are afraid of. Perhaps you fear spiders. Imagine a large spider has lowered itself down from the ceiling and you see it now in front of you, its gleaming black eyes staring into yours. Suddenly, you hear gunfire, shouting and someone kicks in your door. Where is that spider now? Who cares? The spider has become irrelevant.
This is how you handle pain. Take a knife and slice around your forearm, ensuring you keep it less than a quarter of an inch deep to avoid requiring stitches. Remembering that your arm is merely an illusion will help you when you first partake in this ritual. Now think of the original pain. You cannot right now, can you? No, not while the blood drips and your arm throbs. There, that is all. It is beautiful in its simplicity. The old pain will be gone in light of the new pain and your mind will be distracted as you tend to it. Superficial pain will bring you back to the present moment. The urgency with which it stings will remind you that all else is irrelevant and the way in which it subsides with tending will remind you that all pain passes. Lastly, and most importantly, it reminds you, through your own abandon of self-care, that nothing here is real and nothing here matters. But that final lesson, you will understand further as my story proceeds.
Be Sure to Check out Part 4!