‘Focus on your left toes. Become aware of them more so than anything else. If you feel nothing, become aware of that nothingness. Try not to visualize them, but to feel aware of them completely.’
My toes. Big, second, …pinky, can’t really distinguish third and fourth. Maybe…well no not really. I’ve done this before. A relaxation technique to go to sleep, from my mom – tense everything really hard and then piece by piece relax, starting from your toes up to your head. If I really concentrated, I never got to my head. So much trouble sleeping as a teenager, no trouble now.
What are other people doing? Are they struggling to capture that feeling? At least I’ve got prior practice under my belt. Don’t be ridiculous, you’re not better than them – I’m so much younger – shut up, you shouldn’t be wondering about them you should be doing this yourself. Go back to the feeling in your toes.
Moving up to the ankle. The shin.
Whack – image of a scar, image of myself wielding a knife, high and sharp, down upon my skin –
Well I’m not going to cut now, stupidness. One hell of a start to the class. End to the first class. Whatever. When I get home I should work on the application, the opening paragraph or I could at least send a reminder, or work on – shut up. Class? Hello? Exactly what they were talking about, not being able to be present, not being able to focus, not able to concentrate, always future, not good, not good –
Bam – smack on my skin, smack again and again, fast and angry, ignoring Patrick’s cries to stop, ignoring pain, ignoring blood, can never cut deep enough, too cowardly, too scared to really hurt and end up in the hospital –
‘Turn your attention to your thigh. Gently put your mind on it and become aware of any sensations. Pressing into the ground. Weight of your clothing…’
The thigh. The thigh. Breathe and think about the thigh. No not think about – become aware, focus – don’t force sensations, what if there aren’t any, just what’s there – scars are what’s there scars from before, scars from hating my failures, just return, I hate it I hate it I hate it the thigh, the thigh, please, thigh
Breaking things, not letting him take the knife away, scissors, knife, doesn’t matter, slashing, and biting, I deserve the hospital, take me away and take everything away from me, lock me up I’m a fucking basket case, I hate everything, I hate you – images of hitting Patrick, slashing at Patrick, blood and stabbing him, hurting him, screaming and police coming, taking me away, taking him away, putting me away, I’m insane I’m insane I’m dying I’m lost in a whirl of Patrick’s face being cut by my own hands, screaming and breaking things, backed into a corner, a wounded animal clawing at invisible monsters
I’m crying. My face is screwed up and my body is tense as ropes on a storm tossed ship. My hands are twitching to move with the nightmares. The waking nightmares. Get me out of here. Make the class end. I can’t stand her voice. Make it stop, make it stop!
After an eternity, the class ended. I doggedly made for the door, shoulders down, aiming for the escape, while well-meaning class members who had been blessed with sleep or success wished me a good week. With forced smiles and short comments, I ran from their delaying words, desperate for home.
The world was returning to normal, the waking nightmare slipping away, leaving me alone to hate myself for failing.