I hear voices.
Okay, not really, but sort of.
This is a hard strange thing to type out loud. The last time I made a confession of my intuitive perceptions I was shipped off to a therapist and I ended up with a Priest in my bedroom.
I saw spirits. They had names and stories, I drew them. They would show up in my room at night and send me screaming. A tall man, young girl, and a little boy were my constant companions and champions of many a sleepless night. I was scared and my mother was worried, something had to be done.
For a time, the doctor suggested a reward system. If I could sleep in my bed through the night, I would be granted with a sticker. Once I had enough stickers, I could cash them in for a tank and fill it with fish! My successful suppression of the urge to flee the spirits would eventually pay off. I tallied enough nights of terror in my room and I became the happy new owner of a tank filled with tiny silver fish. Sadly, one of them was mislabeled and it ate the whole lot of his fish friends within days.
When the fish died the doctor appointments stopped, all hope was lost. On her last thread, my poor mother invited our Priest to dinner. Father B was from Ireland, the land of fairies and Patrick, surly he’d know what to do. After a meatloaf and a prayer he performed his Catholic duties over my bed and drenched me in holy water. It didn’t work. I didn’t have the heart to tell my mother. Fear is exhausting and she was already tired.
The spirits kept coming. I was on my own and out of options. I decided to listen. I opened my eyes and my mind started to grow. I learned a lot in that haunted era. I learned how to navigate in the crowded dark, write for salvation, and keep a secret. I learned how to separate realities and take time internally. I still get up every morning before the sun with a sense of relief and excitement, I want to thank it for coming back, I want to greet it.
Fear has a force of detached determination, you can break it down but you can’t bury it, not for long. I carry that time with me. Those ghosts and the long nights live in tandem with my becoming. When I create, those voices speak to me. Their stories are want for a telling. I use words and thread to share them, I call it stitchtelling. Art is an act of affirmation and I’m not scared anymore.