When the world hurt you used to build a tented fort at the foot of your bed. Your freshly laundered sheets in a monotone floral hooded over a pile of pillows and stuffed animals. The interior isn't dark and cave-like but it isn't the offensive brightness of streaming, unaffected sunlight either. You've dragged coloring books and crayons into the fort. A pile of notebooks and a stash of pens are ready for you when you are ready for words.
Another secret stolen and shared
Another boy torments
Another friend gone
Another funeral attended
Another pet has run off
Another round of verbal abuse
Another episode of apologies made for being yourself,
having an opinion,
for daring to contradict a lie,
for telling the truth & betraying a disloyal friend
Another week of forced socialization under your belt
Another task failed because you were not trained to do as you were asked
Another anxiety flare
Another sweat soaked nightmare
Another bully runs you off your own property
Another day you doubt your own validity
Furiously scribbling color onto a page through the glaze of tears that cling to your eyeballs instead of falling, the furor fives way to a kind of meditative peace. Every mark is magnified because your brain wants to do something other than think of the pain that forced you into the fort in the first place. Every mark is a balm, each color a salve over the wound. Detachment replaces hyper-attentive focus.
Another stroke... little less pain.
Another layer of color... slightly drier eyes
Another page is complete... more even breathing
Another hour in the warmth of your cocoon... more lightness in your chest
Another daydream of idealistic reality.... it is easier to breathe
Another nap in the mid day when your mind reels.... more clarity
Then there are words.
Another word becomes
another sentence becomes
another paragraph becomes
another complex thought becomes
another idea becomes
another experience becomes
another reality becomes
another way to cope.
And you begin another page to begin
another book of thoughts to become
Year after year the pattern of pain and panacea becomes a method of operating that is dependent on no one else. You have found a kind of self sufficiency that no one in the world can affect.
You are an adult and your tree fort is a coffee shop. Your coping skills involve the ability to retreat into the depths of the mind, to dwell in a Region of Time and Space to which you alone hold a key. More than a mind palace... it is an undiscovered country unblemished by ego and avarice, free from the subjugation that caused the pain in the first place.
Art and words transport.
The inner life is now that only life.