Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Carousel: You'll Never Walk Alone: (Day 5)

   Confession: I have never seen Carousel to the best of my memory, so I cheated and looked it up to get an idea of what to write, as today is prompt-less.

   I was never a social butterfly growing up. For one thing, I'm an introvert, and secondly, my personality is often found to be abrasive or, more often, "intense". As a result, while I might have had some broad acquaintances, I only had a very few select, "real" (bad term, but I can't think of a better one) friends. These friends were ones that I could count on to put up with me when I was down with a migraine for weeks on end. 
   Well, then the number of "real" friends plummeted in some high school drama, and at the same time, I was becoming more and more incapacitated from my migraines. My ring of broad acquaintances were also beginning to distance themselves, as we were seeing each other less and less. The the Boom was lowered, and I was gently forced out of school in the Spring semester of my junior year. There went my circle of acquaintances, all of whom I knew through school. 

   I went into a huge funk as the pain from my migraines skyrocketed. I didn't do much anything, and I lost basically all contact with all my friends as I spent so much time asleep, hiding from the pain, or curled up in a puddle of pain on the couch that I had no spoons to maintain friendships. 
   During this time, I began, when I could, writing poetry as a way of trying to get some of my emotions out. One poem of mine came immediately to mind when I read that "You'll Never Walk Alone" was sung when Billy in the movie was killed. 

Chain Link

I walk down the sidewalk
Running my fingers
Along the chain link fence
That separates me from
The rest of humanity.
As I meander slowly
Down the twisting path
My fingers feel the space
And void that make up
The boundary of my life.
Taking my hand from
The fence as I turn back
I feel a tingling numbness
That travels up my arm
And into my heart.
It sits there in my core
Humming to itself
As I pace back up
To where I have been
So many times before.
The potential energy
Slowly calms my thoughts
Until I reach a state of
Uncaring awareness.
This state brings forth
A gate in the fence
Where none had been
When I had traveled
This way previously.
I study the gate with
A sense of curiosity
As if I were the tarot’s
Wise Fool who cares for
Nothing but knowledge.
I open the gate slowly
And stare at what lies
Beyond what I have known
For all of my life.
It is intriguing to see things
Without the bars of my fence
But I know instinctually 
That freedom is not always
What it seems.
I turn and begin to walk
Down my path once more
Leaving the gate of possibility
Still open behind me as
I want only to feel
My fingers running along
The chain link fence.
Space and void work together
To bring safety and the state
Of uncaring awareness
That settles in my heart.
- G. Rautman

   The chain link fence, of course, was my migraines, and the numbing social isolation it was bringing to my life. Chain Link was written when I was beginning to stabilize emotionally and come to terms with the migraines and isolation that I had in my life. I was learning how to become functional again after being a puddle of pain for close to three years. It was taking a lot of work, and it numbed my brain on occasion, but I was fighting for it. Still, I knew I wasn't ready to go through the gate and enter the unprotected world just yet. I was still alone. 
   But then something really interesting happened - I found out that the chain link fence was only in my mind, but, at the same time, almost completely literal.

   I did have a gate I could pass through and go out into the rest of the world of the world. It was called my laptop's screen. And there, I was free to be myself. My migraines were there, yes, but that wasn't the whole persona I presented. I went online and interacted with other users when I was in a good place, and when the pain was really bad, I could either just log off and not be observed, or, more importantly, get support, not condescension or pity. It was amazing - I had friends!

   In fact, I have been building a steady base of "real" friends, who will, and have, been there for me through thick and thin, for years. The fact that I've never laid eyes on most of them is immaterial, because it's their minds and behaviors that show and tell the true story. 
   My friends are all over the world. My best friend lives in Canada, and I have friends in Australia. Most of my friends? I don't even know where their bodies are, because it doesn't matter. Just as it doesn't matter where mine is. I can be at my desk or flat on the couch, and still have friends treat me equally.

So now, just as at the graduation, I can look back at the song and see all the hope that was there, and use it for encouragement to keep trying. But most importantly, it reminds me that the fence and gate are only figments of my imagination, and I can free myself whenever I choose. There will be friends on the other side to welcome me when I pass through.

Quantum in me fuit,

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