The edges of things become sharp again. My thoughts take a corrosive quality; they gnaw at the pleasant rhythm of distraction. Ignoring just past the crescendo of undeniable, I check the clock. Still, without thinking, I calculate Pacific time. It rushes over me; more plunge pool than flood, but icy cold and at a swift pace that leaves me swaying just a little. Grabbing hold of the rock I discovered last night, I pull myself out of the current.
Still, I can’t help picking at it, peeling away layers with the scalpel of hindsight, writing the ending of a mystery novel so that I can finally return it to the shelf. This effort angers me; senseless, fruitless, and yet still necessary enough that I pour over it in those newly empty hours. My only reassurance is the familiar call of objectivity, an old friend come home after too long an absence.
That ancient familiar obstacle on the journey back to myself, the root that catches the bridge of my toes and sends me flying face first into dust and gravel is thick and tricky. Intent. Realizing that so very many people are wholly unaware of their own true intentions has never stopped me from writing them in. Understanding that intent is logically irrelevant is only intermittenly effective.
In my irritation, I am reminded of The Yellow Wallpaper; the woman that imagines herself trapped behind the pattern of her bedroom wallpaper and dissolves into madness clawing at the walls to free herself.
On a pattern like this, by daylight, there is a lack of sequence, a defiance of law, that is a constant irritant to a normal mind.
The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.
You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back-somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream.
- charlotte perkins gilman “the yellow wallpaper”
There is a madness about it, just like her cursed wallpaper, and lots of patterns, all layered on top of one another with years of glue and dust between them.
A slow smile takes hold in my cheeks. I can leave the room and tend to other things that will lead me home, that will bring me to my whole self. An energy recaptured and purified through a slow distilling process. A process I’m intimately familiar with but don’t often honor properly, or for long enough.
I can escape my wallpaper, step outside of my patterns, slowly and lovingly strip the walls and mend them.
Are you trapped behind your wallpaper?
March 28, 2011 2 Comments