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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Lost

I have decided after a dreamy ten day holiday to take part in the #100DayProject. There are various versions of this across the web and Facebook, but the general premise is a promise to do one thing everyday for one hundred days. I have decided to write. As a "writer" this may seem an odd thing to choose but I am in dire need of a writing habit that is not at the mercy of my creative spirit. I think comitting to this project will FORCE me to write something every day, however rubbish it is. For added help I will be using The Writer's Block by Jason Reuklak for those times when my head is empty.

I will be posting everything that is written here, so prepare to see A LOT more of me... and apologies if sometimes it isn't the most insightful prose.

Today my challenge was "Describe Your First Brush With Danger". This turned into a much deeper piece than I was expecting, but ain't that the way it goes. Anyway here it is. Day 1.

Lost

Being physically lost as a child is perhaps the most frightening thing in the world. Your heart beats quickly, the world seems huge, familiar paths and areas that you walk with your loved ones everyday suddenly transform into sprawling jungles filled with monsters around every corner. You jump, you jump as anyone approaches you as you have been told not to talk to strangers... you don’t know who to trust as your mother usually vets people for you. You tend to think more attractive people might be nicer to you, or kindly old ladies, but still, you are good and heed your mother’s words. Don’t move, don’t talk to strangers.

After walking around the small vicinity of the area in which you first found yourself lost, eyes desperately trying to make out a familiar figure, a red coat, the pitch of voice that calls you home, you sit down and you cry and this seems like the end of the world. This, the first danger you have ever felt, real true danger. Even as you remember the nightmares you have had in your bed, when your mother or father has come running, you scoff and become more tearful. When you had monsters in your head at night, you knew that they were always there to reassure you that these were just dreams and after hours of softly stroking your back and whispering calming words in your ears you believe them, safe in your home. Safe with your people.


But now they are nowhere to be seen. Everyone around you is a strange blank face and they all seem so large. Your mind flits between panic about how badly you will be reprimanded when they finally do find you and even more hysterical panic that they never will. You cry all the tears you have, until you know it is useless and then you sit forlornly on the ground waiting. You wonder what will happen to you now. Will you die soon or will one of those strange people kidnap you and take you away forever. You know not where, but you have heard such things.

Then she appears, an angel on the horizon that you almost don’t believe is walking, no running towards you. And she is crying. And you find yourself being enveloped in the familiar smell of cigarettes and perfume. The fear tension pours out of your body and the relief brings more tears. You are found.

**
Being mentally or emotionally lost as an adult is perhaps the most frightening thing in the world. Your heart in turn beats quickly and irrationally and then slowly and dully. The world seems huge and tiny at the same time, familiar streets and trains of thought seem both terrifying and full of monsters and that mind-numbing type of monotonous that is so alarming that it often makes you feel physically sick. You fear approach in this loss too, physical approach as this feeling of loss has turned you into a shell-less tortoise, a mole in the sunlight, shirking, blinking... diving for solitude. And also mental and emotional approach, because as fearsome as this loss is you are comfortable in it for now and anything or anyone that might try to tug you from it is highly suspicious and intrusive. Don’t move, don’t talk to strangers.

After walking around this small vicinity of your brain that your loss is comfortable with, you recognise all the familiar figures. They are all you or versions of you that you have allowed or other people that you have allowed, who echo back at you this version of yourself that you have approved. But these familiar figures don’t comfort you, they make you angry because they are why you are lost. This is the first danger, you have felt, the first real true danger, but this time you do not scoff at your nightmares, because they are part of your daytime. And your mind has given so much power to them that they have wrapped around your thoughts. And it is much harder to reassure yourself.

Your real people, your good people are everywhere to be seen. They are in photographs and in phone conversations, they are beside you every day, they are reassuring you, they are laughing with you, they are there. Yet, you are still lost. Even in the sea of familiar faces. You do worry about reprimand, because you are now an adult and adults are not meant to be lost, but it is ok because no one will know. You sometimes cry and sit on the ground forlornly. You do not worry about people kidnapping you... you think that might be a welcome break. You do worry that you have already kidnapped yourself. You know not where, but you have heard such things.

Then she appears, no angel at all, flawed in many ways, but she is familiar. Get up, she says, get up... we do know the way. We are not really lost are we? We have taken ourselves here and so we can get back. She is not crying, she is smiling and she is strong. I’m sorry, she says, I went away for a while, but you always knew I was here. Why are you not moving? Why have you not talked to some strangers? You are not a child. There is that familiar bossy yet placating tone and your fear is beginning to ease. It might take a while you realise, but you do know the way. You knew the way all the time really. Didn’t you. She did, she’s you. You are found.

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