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Copyright 2009-2010 by
Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Friday, August 09, 2002

Huddled in my Room

Huddled in my room, alone in the dark, I awake, although I haven’t yet surrendered myself to sleep. It seems that I had just found that comfy spot between being awake and drifting away to dreamland, when I heard myself shout out a guttural noise that has no definition. “Argh” is too comical, and “ack” is much too mundane. It is more an epiphinal and startled sound, like “Ah-ha!” and “Oh!” combined. It startles the me who is still awake, and alerts the me who is struggling to cross the threshold between this world and the world of dreamers. The dreamer-self wants to run to the terrace, not caring that it is one in the morning, and shout to the world, “I have a secret, and I want to share it with everyone!” but the practical-self does not want to get out of bed. That nearly slumbering, goes-to-work-everyday-self does not even want to roll over! The two of me struggled for a compromise, so we clumsily grab for the beaded tassel on the lamp.

Every time I touch that tassel, I remember my extravagance when I bought it at an exclusive home décor superstore. The blue, black, and silver beads are minute and as individuals would be insignificant, yet when strung together they make a sparkly, glistening, elaborate tassel that is almost eight inches long. A tassel, for crying out loud! When I got home, I wondered why in the world I had spent six dollars and ninety-eight cents on a stupid, meaningless piece of “house jewelry”. I had no idea what I would do with it, until I looked at the simple banker’s lamp sitting on the bookshelf headboard. I remembered the many nights that I had struggled to sit upright after reading: twisting and stretching my protesting muscles, trying to reach the short chain that for some reason, always managed to wrap itself around the twisting bar that holds the shade; always wanting to be able to wish the lamp off. That was when I knew why I had bought that blooming tassel. I had to put some thought into how I would secure the tassel to the chain, but I managed, and it has been a wonderful addition to my bedtime routine since. There is a perverse pleasure derived from the tactile stimulation when I pull the over-priced tassel simply to turn off my lamp. The beaded strands tickle my palm, and enable me to keep most of my comfort level intact, while darkening my bedroom. I enjoy the feeling of self-indulgence just before crossing into the world of fairies and ether. My bedroom takes on a sensual pink glow when I pull that tassel to turn the lamp on, because I put a pink accent light bulb in there some time ago. This lamp-light is not the kind that can be bought anywhere except specialty lighting stores. It looks like a miniature flood lamp, and the glow adds enough light to read or write by, yet, it is not harsh as many other lights are. It isn’t nearly so subtle as the colored light bulbs that can be purchased in most department stores, and it doesn’t look like a holiday lamplight, either. It’s the perfect mix of color, attitude, and illumination to make that part of my home extra special.

After the dreamer convinces the worker to pull on that simple yet elaborate tassel, the worker insists that we find the notepad and pen that are always waiting faithfully on top of the nightstand. Hastily, I scrawl my thoughts in large letters; afraid to see them form, afraid to give them substance, yet needing desperately to express them all. Worried that my penmanship will be too difficult for tomorrow’s reading, I am careful to scrawl in large and long strokes, lest tomorrow I find that this is all a dream, and even my documentation is for naught. I am not even raising my head from my pillow, but lazily, yet with explicit haste, I am lying, curled in the fetal position, hugging myself into my writing. My lineless notepad, close enough to kiss, my arm propped on another pillow, I move only my wrist as I write. Not knowing what to say, yet filled with an urgency to write, I know that there is no real point to all of this, as far as philosophy is concerned; yet I am compelled to write. I do not think, I merely put my pen to the paper, and let my heart take charge. I have no words of wisdom, no scholarly revelations to share. I share only my heart, which strives to attain that purity, that peace, that tranquility that was mine before my father even winked at my mother for the first time.

Long, long ago, as we humans calculate time, I knew things that I have forgotten since my birth. I wonder if I really chose to forget, or was my choosing even an option? I can envision the application for birth, now: “Check either A or B."

" A – I’d like to forget all that I know and start life as a helpless, weak infant; grow up confused and remain a helpless, weak adult, with a few hard learned lessons that come with great consternation and deliberation along the path to my re-growth back to where I am now, or beyond."

" B- I choose to remember all that I now know, but accept the fact that my knowledge cannot be useful to me from the moment of my birth as a human, and will not be accessible for a very long time. If I choose B, I also agree to accept the fact that for all of my life, I will forever be the odd one, the weirdo, the one who is looked at with a secret accusation."

I think I read about some of my forebears who chose B. I recall history recorded their deaths as witches burned at the stake in Salem. Yet, I think I did have a choice, and I chose B. I chose to know things, without knowing how or why I know them. I chose to be one to march to the beat of my own drum. I wanted to retain the knowledge, knowing even then, that my knowledge would be laughed at, frowned upon, and scoffed. My knowledge of that-which-I-know-that-I-know-but-know-not-how-I-know was important for me to retain, yet I learned early as a child, that to be accepted, I had to mask my knowledge with a veil of stupid human-ness. I had to pretend to be like all the others in my family and social circle. I pretended so well that I nearly convinced myself that I had actually forgotten all-that-I-know. Nights like this, when I am awakened from my not yet sleeping state, urged to write whatever comes to the end of my fingers (not my mind, but as an automatic, physical manifestation of that which is already known to me), I remember. And I want to remember more. I do not want to pretend that I have forgotten. I want to know that I know things without knowing from where the knowledge comes, for I know already that the knowledge comes from the Universe.

Sigh. This would have been so much easier at my keyboard; my typing is ever so much more legible than my scribble, and probably just as fast, with the bonus of spell check! But I have found that changing my body position, even the slightest bit, will break the spell. I am caught on the edge of my own spider web. I have woven a web of intrigue and emotions that are trying to ensnare me, the weaver! I am the only spider ever created who gets entangled in her own trap. I am like a spider who weaves a glittering, sparkling seductive room; places enticing goodies in them to attract potential victims, but I forget where I have left my webs, so when I am stumbling about, blinded by sleep or a multitude of thoughts that scratch and claw at my brain…

... have you ever seen a # 3 washtub filled with freshly caught crabs? Every crab in the tub tries to get out. They seem to sense that even if they are in water, they are doomed, because of the tub. Their survival instinct is so strong, that they are ultimately their own worst enemy. One crab might crawl, claw, grab, and ascend to the top of the tub; he might even get his claw hooked on the edge; but every other crab is also as determined as that one to escape. They all try in desperation to get to the top of the tub, and so they push and pull their way to the top. When one finds the back legs of that one which has made his way to the edge of freedom, rather than using him as leverage to climb out, or pushing forward so the first can escape, the second will pull downward with such might that he either pulls the first crab back down into the tub, or if the first is tenaciously holding on, the second will pull hard enough to break off the crab’s freedom claw.

My late night thoughts are like those crabs. Each one vies to be the only one to escape my mind, and so many times, no thoughts escape, or if they do, they are often mangled and distorted fragments from the race for freedom that I can seldom recognize them the following morning. I often forget my purpose for writing my thoughts. Sometimes I forget my purpose in life, and find myself questioning why I am here – then it happens.

He walks in to the room. I keep writing, and he calls me his “Pumpkins”. He expresses concern that I am still awake, almost two hours after I told him I was going to sleep. My writing dawdles and my train of thought slows to a chug, chug, chug; slip, tap pap; chug-a-thug. Oh no! Don’t let him touch me or I will never be able to finish my thoughts. There is so much love in his fingertips that I am awash with new emotions and overwhelmed that I ever found him in the first place. Our being together is nothing short of destiny, fate, and a miracle!

What WAS the point I was trying to make? Was I actually going to make a point? Do I really have a point to make? He knows that writing is my passion and tries in vain not to disturb or distract me. He only strokes the thumb of my hand that does not hold the pen, asks if all is well, and then moves to his side of the bed. He is careful and thoughtful, yet his very presence stirs my heart and mind to a new frenzy.

The crabs! The crabs of my thoughts are struggling to kill each other in their desperate attempt to escape my mind and be placed on the freedom of my notepad! I cannot write fast enough. I cannot write legibly enough. Oh, I hope that tomorrow, I will be able to piece together my scrawling and coded words. I hope I can understand what in the blue hell I meant when I wrote “crabs, thoughts, # 3, escape, fury”. I’m not totally sure, as I type this, but I think the fury was that I was furiously trying to capture my thoughts and put them onto paper. It is possible that I was in a state of fury over not being able to write fast enough to get everything down, or it could have been fury over not remembering to look for my portable recorder. I need to get batteries for it and keep it in my night table.

Oh! I searched so hard for that little table. I wanted it to be just right. I looked for about six months before I decided to spend my tax rebate on the one I found. Not only was it priced far less than most, but also this one has three perfectly sized drawers. I needed a place to keep my emergency writing tools, a small blanket for those nights when I am colder than he is; a few good books to read, and my old laptop that is usually more bothersome than it is useful. It was definitely worth the search and the wait, especially when he saw the miniature chest of drawers for the first time, and approved wholeheartedly. His acceptance of it was not going to be a condition of my keeping it, but it sure made my keeping it much more pleasurable.

I’m feeling like some sort of coward in a liquid sunset. I so want to go to my computer and write all this down, but I am afraid that the instant I move, I will forget everything. I want to return his touch, and let him know that I appreciate his attention, but I am afraid that all of my crabs will drown. I so love the touch of his skin on mine, even if it is only my thumb. His touch tells me why I am here – tells me my purpose. I am here to love and heal. I am in love with him and his touch on my thumb gives me the courage to love myself as I have never loved me before. Since I met him, I have learned that the best way to love others is to love myself too. My thoughts are becoming quiet now. I must be nearing the end. My fast and furious scribble is easing to a more recognizable scrawl, and I don’t feel as if there are jagged claws digging into the crevices of my brain anymore. My pulse is returning to normal, and I no longer have that sense of writer’s urgency. Either I have completed my purpose, or sleep is overtaking me. I’ll know in the morning, when I transcribe my hastily scribbled notes onto the computer. If my purpose has been overcome by fatigue, thoughts will surely start competing with each other for recognition and the freedom to be expressed; otherwise, my essay will end here.