What goes on in my mind
At first glance, it appears to be akin to a nameless storm of such power that it whites out everything. Thoughts, half-formed and half-believed, mutants of raw emotion and learned behavior, whip around and bite at my consciousness - only ever demonstrating their genuine nature in brief glimpses that are lifted from their place and blown away, fading into the nothingness like a sand castle in a hurricane.
I am subject to the whimsy of a soul too aware, too hungry, too big for its body, of a consciousness with a potential not yet realized. In the wind tunnel of my thoughts, I am the center of the storm but all things must move through me; I am pummeled by my own inadequacy, my own turbulent heart, the ever-present threat of a skeletal subterfuge.
A thousand ghosts linger behind my eyes, lives unlived and lives already past, lives that could never be, prodding me into the dark recesses of my thoughts like spokes with molten tips; whispering that the edge is not really the edge; that the fog simply disguises that the path goes on forever.
When the storm dies down and the misty unknown is replaced with fields of agony or valleys of such pristine joy that it is nearly blinding, the ghosts clock out and the new shift begins. It is not the edge that they are egging me toward, but the extremes of the atmosphere.
Gravity, they say, cannot hold me down. I am a creature of immaculate design, they whisper, their promises like a hundred needles sinking into my spine all at once. But I know there is no more room in the clouds, that my body must stay on the ground.
Still, my eyes twist upward and for an instant I am not my body, I am not this collection of organs and tissue, of blood and marrow and ligaments. I am more. I am curiosity, I am fury, I am the single, isolated, cold moment of clarity before reality splinters and everything changes.
How does it work
It works best in the hushed stillness of midnight, with the low howl of wind curling through the trees beyond my window. It works most efficiently in the center of activity, with the electrical pulse of life humming all around me, pushing me harder, faster, longer. It works meticulously when it’s not supposed to be working at all, weaving intricate patterns of alternate realities that feel palpable. The cogs and wheels and springs creak and groan and thud and shriek at all times; even in the silence I can hear the whirring sounds, the ticking and the clatter, the rumble and the clamor. I wipe the phantom scents and residual flavors of the day from the walls. I need to drain the system; flush out the toxins, empty the gathering trays for the loose thoughts and stray fragments of emotion; nightly, I shake out the rugs and sweep out the cobwebs where things were left quiet too long. I hang unexpected laughter and the glimmer of freedom like ornamental lights along the ceiling, pinned into place with the discarded instants where lightness of being seemed enough. I pick up the pieces of songs and freeze-frame shards of my vision, of smiles and the way light hung in the air at midday. I collect the sorrows like pieces for puzzles that were never mine, kept in a box beneath the bed – so full of potential but the unflinching knowledge that the parts will never quite assemble correctly lets them grow old and dusty, the colors fading slowly; I collect the broken moments, the heartbreak and the tragedy and the moments of unprecedented darkness, I put them in a jar on the windowsill hoping the sunlight filtering through the distorted, murky glass will make them beautiful again.