the most vivid memory I have of childhood terror was one evening when I suddenly knew witches were real.
It’s almost frustrating to have something so ridiculous as my benchmark for terror, but also in a way perfect.
I remember feeling the truth of someone so much more malevolent than me out there in the world willing complex, unintelligible things into being. And how often I still feel that. An irrational anxiety attached to nothing more concrete than the idea that out there in the world are people more effective than me with ideas that differ so awfully from my own.
That out there in the world the sea floor is breaking and our custodianship of the world is going really rather badly.
When I was 22, shortly before the arrival of special k, I felt overwhelmed by this feeling and my Mum said to me: If you can’t believe in anything else, believe in your breathing in and out.
It was an amazing piece of advice.
The problem, though, is that most of the time we are capable of a lot more than that. I feel like despair comes from knowing how capable we are but not knowing where to start. It’s what makes me sometimes wish, with so much disrespect to so many things, that I were terminally ill.
Think of it like this: Every time I get a school assignment in the first few weeks of semester, I tell myself I could go and write that essay in the coming week and it would be done. Every time I wait until it’s due in a few days and the pressure’s on and I have no choice but to do it. Likewise, I have the opportunity right now to say what’s important and go for it in life, but it feels so hard to do until the pressure of life ending begins.
Erm, I don’t think I meant for this post to get quite so existential…
I think all I wanted to say was, when the witching hour arrives, just breathe. And then maybe more, if you are able, even though you don’t know how.