I am at the mercy of my monkey mind.
When I have trouble weaving fiction, when all the yarn and floss has been muddied and muted down, it helps me to go backward unapologetically with all sugar coating licked off, to my formative years.
How is a neurotic born? How do her hands begin to shake? Where does it begin that she at one moment is shy and withdrawn and in the next moment battery-operated banshee? I go back and observe, masochistically. I hold my own hand. I kiss my eighteen year old cheek. I telepathically scream every little thing is gonna be all right.
It will, you know. Every single last thing will be peachy. I mean it.
Little one. You are eighteen and your mother has sent you into the Kroger by campus to buy bread, peanut butter, bananas, a case of Diet Coke. She was bothered by how empty your small dorm refrigerator was (she didn’t know that an hour or so before she came it was full of beer and a preserved kidney stone in a napkin) and pushed you hissing to the grocery. She didn’t want to go in. She abhorred grocery shopping because she was an agoraphobic. What neither of you realized was that you were about to be initiated into that pitiful club, too.
(Agoraphobia is sometimes more or less than fear. Some people are paralyzed. Some are merely exhausted by the throngs. I myself have never been gripped by sideshow horror in the dairy aisle, but I do understand how the disorder can twist and morph into something truly ugly. Something that makes benevolent humans shopping appear to be menacing aliens with pointed teeth and dripping limbs. I get that. I understand that. I am simply stressed and jittery when I am pushed by fate into a crowd of people who elbow and roll metal carts or lean into one another at festivals and malls and riots. I would rather be in a cave, on a mountaintop, in a dark room. You may bring coffee and snacks to my cave. I appreciate it. I will not look you in the eye, though. Sometimes I can’t. )
Anyway, long story short, I passed out in the Oxford, Ohio Kroger. I got dizzy. My knees buckled. I fell down. My mother had to come rescue me. Let’s go Krogering and shit. The end. The birth of a neurotic, narcissistic Venus.