Anomalies Amidst Mindfulness Meditation.

8/19/17, 1:15 AM:

I sat in my chair and decided to set the alarm on my old iPhone for 21 minutes his time. For the past two or three weeks, since I picked up mindfulness meditation as a daily practice again, I had been doing 11 minutes a day, and the last few days 16. Along with cutting back on the drinking significantly, I found it simply made me feel better: more present, more focused, with more periods of equanimity. I feel I’m getting more out of sleep when I actually manage to get some shut-eye, too. Why I abandoned this for perhaps two years or so is beyond me.

I had been noticing the same weird stuff happening during meditation, and even outside of it, that I had the last time I’d routinely engaged in this practice. Though it has gotten better the past few days, I find that when trying to focus on my breath coming in and going out through my nostrils I would experience what I can only call localized, transient, fluctuating dysmorphia. This is to say that one nostril would seem large and close up to my face as the other would be barely noticeable, giving a lopsided kind of feeling. It would never be stable, however; the nostrils would seem to change in size independently and with varying speed, making it difficult to maintain a steady focus. Typically this happens near the beginning of the session, giving way to stability as I keep at it without fighting this illusion.

Another thing I noticed, and which had happened previously, is that as I meditated on the breath I would reach a point where I would suddenly and quite drastically become more aware, my mind became silent. At that exact moment I would feel and hear a sort of crunching sound in my head as I felt myself coming to entirely inhabit the area behind my forehead. It’s almost as if I’m feeling my brain shifting gears. Once seemingly inhabiting the area behind my forehead I would feel a pressure right above and between my eyes as well as within and around my nose, particularly around the nostrils, the area which I’d been focusing on. Since picking up meditation again, this has also been happening while driving, an activity that generally makes me anxious and during which I fight to keep focus, as I’m constantly phobic about something going awry.

Neither of these things — fluctuating nostril dysmorphia or the crunching sound and sensation within the head — are things I have heard happening to people under meditation.

On this particular early morning, however, after a few minutes of meditation, I found that I kept falling into a vivid, detailed dream state and then popping back out again. At first saw a carpeted floor by a door before quickly popping out of it, focusing back on my breath. Next time, I found myself in a similar environment, though I was now sitting on a chair. I bent down towards my feet and then crawled down onto the floor, looking for something. In the process I hit my forehead on the chair — and that was what snapped me out of it again. As my awareness returned to my body abruptly I could still feel the pressure and tingling sensation on my forehead, where I had hit myself in the dream.

When I slipped into the dream state again, this time I leaned down from the chair and picked up what turned out to be a small child, perhaps some rendition of my new nephew, who I then held for a brief moment before snapping back. Each time I came back to my body my awareness was more clear and crisp, and it was easier to focus on my breath, as my eyes seemed fixed behind my eyelids.

This act of popping in and out of vivid dream environments also happened sometime recently, either during my daily meditation sessions or when I listen to Michael Sealey’s YouTube video, “Guided Meditation for Detachment From Over-Thinking (Anxiety / OCD / Depression),” in bed before sleep. In any case, I would see these dream scenes play out at a distance, like from a third person perspective, and deliberately try to push myself into them so as to experience them from the first person, but I kept losing consciousness when I pushed in, only to regain it briefly before snapping back to third person perspective again.

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Of Gravity and Burning Flesh.

An insomniac
morning dawns
as I awaken out
of a nightmare’s
vice-grip.

Images censored,
hiding behind a wall
swaying like a tease
at the tip
of my mental tongue.

Sadness,
terror lingering, fed
by the prospects
of the day. No exit,
nowhere to go
but down

further
into this frigid well,
but I’m going to try
and fly across the hungry
void anyway.

To survive,
I divide inside.
So confusing
trying to understand
why, I know.

Is it the spark
of that stubborn part
of you always fighting
the impulse

to get
your hopes
up, rising against,
lifting, carrying
yourself all the way?

Remember
forever: gravity
is god here.
What goes up
must inevitably

bow down, looking
up with wide, hungry
and obedient,
blowjob sort of eyes

before the feet
that make the greater
distortion in space,
that which pulled you in,
attracted you.

Still,
somehow you have thus
far managed to dodge
that fate.

Predictably, you find
a path across the chasm,
never to hit
the ground, a smooth,
lateral sway to land

on warm earth,
proceed on forward
towards
confidence with caution:

after all,
this may be a trick,
some grim illusion seducing
you into letting
your guard down,

relaxing defenses,
believing just to postpone
and further pack the punch

behind the inevitable
enlightenment, true
and bright and burning
your fucking flesh away,

hardens and cools
your soul

until you become the enemy:
a greedy
sadist void of all empathy.

False Awakenings, Psychic Elastic, Paranoia and Dreams.

7/7/15.

For the last few days, my sleeping, if you want to call it that, had come in a steady rhythm of violent spurts. I would close my eyes for twenty minutes, my eyes would pop back open in shock, and then I would close them again.

Eventually, I wake up to hear someone knocking on the door. I don’t really open my eyes; not much, anyway. As to who it might be, I vaguely recall something about maintenence stopping by, that I should be expecting them, but I’m too tired to remember or really give the vaguest semblance of a shit. So I just play dead.

I hear the door open and he comes in, and all the while I remain motionless. Just do what you have to do and go, I think. I keep my ears open, though. He makes some remark about the smoke in the apartment. “Somebody’s been partying in here,” were his words, I think. I have been asleep for hours, though, so that’s bullshit. I make no response, however, and just keep pretending like I’m sleeping, because even though he’s in my damn apartment, I simply do not feel like dealing with the guy. Then my eyes pop open. It comes to my attention that I’m not expecting maintenance, that no one had really come into the apartment. It had been yet another false awakening.

7/26/15: 3:05 AM:

I just felt as though my subtle form was pulled up out of my physical body for a moment or two, wiggled around for a bit, then let go to snap back into my bony, fleshy form, as if the two superimposed bodies were attached through some sort of psychic elastic.

I think I should take the opportunity to mention here, too, that I use certain words for lack of better ones, and certain alternative words (hallucinations, perhaps, for instance) lack the specificity I prefer. You have heard of phantom limbs that linger when physical limbs are lopped off of bodies? Well, this subtle body might be a sort of full-body analogue when consciousness becomes the (though in many cases only temporarily) amputated limb in question.

3:40 AM.

Now I got jolted by what sounded like something hit my window. I am high and mildly drunk. The window is open a little, the fan is on: perhaps someone slammed a car door and that’s all.

7/26/15, 2:30 PM.

It was like I was waking up before the dream was ready to end so it tried to rush to completion before it was forced to fade to black. For some reason the last few moments if the dream was more cartoonish than realistic, as I recall rest of the dream being (though I’ll be damned if I can remember anything else about it). A polar bear had been pushed off some mountain, and he slid to the bottom of it as if it were slipping down the side of a pyramid or something. It was like a slide. As he landed, he barely missed a guy resting on his belly at the bottom who had also been pushed off, or so it seemed. It was the actor that played a doctor on the television show House; he played the young character that committed suicide. I think I was thinking about his character at some point last night. He looks up at the bear, asks him if he’s a polar bear, and the polar bear looks at him and nods. Then I wake up.

Lubrication for the Spinning Cycles.

When I drink alcohol, when I take a hit of weed, I put up with momentary discomfort for later, longer-term gain.

Still, the nature of the two certainly differ.

With alcohol, it may taste horrible going down and (given you achieve reckless consumption) absolutely horrible coming back up or in the very least give you a sluggish sort of headachy hangover, but during that in-betwixt state, man, you’re going to be feeling rockin’, you know?

Still, either end of that sucks. Poison in, chunks out.

Or, in the case of weed, it tastes good coming in but makes you cough as it barrels back out of your mouth a few seconds later as a plume of smoke. Shortly thereafter you just feel rockin’, so you jerk off to get your rocks off and have incredible results. To celebrate, you take an endorphin-infused, post-masturbatory nap.

You wake up in a hangover called comfortably numb and hungry, wash your hands, get something to eat — which, whatever it is, tastes delicious — and watch a bit of a movie, take your Prosac and Buspar and commit, at long last, to perhaps a few hours of dead-to-the-world sleep.

You sleep. Sleep safe and sound like a dead baby log. Then you need to wake up to get ready for work: a zombie rising from his plaid-skinned grave, in a state conducive to his fear-elected undead vocation.

Still always and forever Back to Start it seems, yes — but lived up at every end in the very least, put to bed with a redeeming climax every single, solitary time around.

Nightly burnouts to ensure a cloud of comfy at dawn. Lubrication for the spinning cycles. That was all this was.

Be it with booze or green, you are just oiling up for eternity.

Security Lite.

While it is certainly embarrassing to be in my mid-thirties and still sleep with the lights on, obsessively lock and bolt the door, prefer to sit in corners and typically keep my windows closed and latched with shades drawn, I think I have at least come to some level of understanding as to why. It perplexed me for some time that this would provide any sense of security for me — assuming the whole alien thing is the cause, of course. After all, on more than one occasion during my flashbacks I’ve seen them walk through solid matter — in one case, a wall; in another, a door.

This seems inconsistent with my conscious attitude, at least on the surface. Personally, I would chose to have awareness of my vulnerabilities over a false sense of security. The reason seems obvious: a false sense of security leaves you blind and unprepared; you postpone the stress until danger proves your lack of safety, and by then its too late.

Know yourself. Know your enemy.

Awareness of your vulnerabilities can certainly breed paranoia, but it can also provide you with the foresight and vigilance required to build true security. Forewarning is forearming.

Drawn window shades and deadbolts clearly do not provide the necessary protection and I still jolt at every sound, so why develop this ridiculous ritual?

Though I may not have much control over the circumstances, this ritual serves as the optimal means to ensuring some basic sense of comfort and some fundamental psychological preparedness. Walls, locked doors, latched windows: they at least provide barriers that perhaps obscure their sight or slow them down. Having the lights already on, however, would remove the barrier of darkness that would otherwise serve to confuse me or slow me down. In the very least, I would see them coming, I would know what hit me, and I would have the best opportunity given the circumstances to defend myself. I could die or be defeated on my feet with my eyes wide open as opposed to stumbling around in the dark or, worse still, be taken before I awakened.

Meds & the Weather.

Sitting in the small, relatively populated waiting room, I can feel my cheek twitching. As I type with my thumb on the touchscreen, using it as an excuse to avoid eye contact, I clear my throat and wonder if they’re judging me based on my shoes, which has quite a ventilation system going on. As for my one shoe, the top is hardly holding together with the soles at all. I really need to take care of that next paycheck.

Why am I so anxious? The appointment? Two pots of coffee in seven hours? Mild sleep deprivation? The unholy cocktail of them all? Fuck, just call my name already. I’m too twitchy to look up and I haven’t stopped typing on this goddamn iPhone since I sat down.

Ah, now the leg is going. Hyperawareness is moving in.

My name is called as she pokes her head from around the corner. Always kind, this woman — and in that authentic way that doesn’t make me nauseous. She makes small talk as she leads the way down the hall to the door of her office. Weather is her conversational default, like so many. It’s the cultural unisexual icebreaker.

After the verbal foreplay, we take our seats and she runs down the list of questions: any side effects from the Prozac or Buspar? No. Any suicidal thoughts? Not that I recall. Hallucinations? (Don’t hesitate). No. Sleeping? 4-6 hours. How is work? I cringe. I hate work. I have held it for over a decade, though.

How has my mood been overall? I feel like hell, but at a level closer to the surface, so that’s good.

Still doing nothing with my life, still in the same shit job, still haven’t been laid in three non-fucking years, still smoking pot on a daily basis, still engaging in chronic masturbating, still writing, currently uninspired with respect to artwork.

My life is at a standstill. I feel restless and agitated. Dependent and perhaps hopelessly insane. I don’t tell her this. Just that I’ve been feeling tense, agitated.

I think it may pass. I don’t want to increase the medication again, not yet.

Let this pass.

Archery of the Hallucinatorium.

During a period when I was utterly convinced I must be schizophrenic, I openly declared to a teenage coworker who had issues himself that I hallucinated aliens. When he asked me whether they were here right now or not, I laughed, and told him it didn’t work like that. As a matter of fact, sometimes it seemed as though my experiences were orchestrated to keep me in a constant state of uncertainty regarding their nature. Sometimes there was evidence suggesting it was true, such as my father seeing the tail end of the red, shimmering orb I saw hovering over our driveway; other times, it felt just as certain to me that I must just be bloody fucking insane. This is my mind’s major perpetual oscillation. Nothing, it seems, is capable of convincing me one way or the other, at least not in something exceeding a pathetically transient sense.

I imagine one day in the future I’m living alone again, walking a dog I will then own through a park where a large group of people are having a barbeque. My eyes drift passed the clapping trees on this beautiful summer’s day and there, above in the clear, baby-blue skies silently hovers a silver, metallic, saucer-looking object. In response, I shake myself free of the immobilization that came with the shock of seeing it and do precisely what I did on the morning of September, 2001 when I saw the orb of shimmering red light hovering over the lawn: I reach for my nearest means of confirmation, the nearest human beings in my immediate vicinity. I call out to the BBQ group and point to the sky, asking, “Am I the only one seeing this?” One guy sitting on a picnic table, holding a beer and watching the meat grill stands up to assist, looking up in the direction I’m pointing and kindly searching for whatever it is I might be talking about. “You talkin’ about that boat out there?” By that time, it would be clear to me that he could not see the saucer hovering there above us, and I would have good reason to dismiss it as a hallucination, however vivid: a product of my own mind.

When considering the fact that my experiences might just be due to mental wiring or caused by some psychological disease, I always consider how clever my unconscious mind must be. For what I have described above never happens, though there have damn well been opportunities, clearly. I could easily falsify what I feel sure is real, and so prove to myself that I am indeed insane.

I should remind myself that there have been occasions in which I have had hallucinations, all without the assistance of drugs, that it would be difficult to interpret as anything but. There are the instances of face-phasing, like girl’s face morphing transiently into the faces of previous girls I’ve been involved with: it has happened on two or three occasions, and by no means did I presume that they were literally shape-shifting before my eyes. I knew it must be some subtle hallucination.

Most disturbing was the image of my father in the rearview mirror when he drove us back from the hypnosis session, which was far more vivid that any of the occurrences with the girls. He did not transform before my eyes, either, nor was it actually his face that I saw — it was only his reflection, with his real face obscured due to my angle from the dark back seat of the van, where I sat alone. I knew it had to be a hallucination as there was no other explanation, but it was no less horrifying, no less mesmerizing, particularly due to its vivid nature, its presumed correspondence with the movement of my father’s actual head as he spoke with my mother as she drove, the fact that his skin was of a iridescent purple-blue that changed in the light and in the angle and that the color was unearthly but familiar, as well as its persistence. Several times during that long fucking ride home I looked away from the rearview and back again, and still it remained. Yet nothing else in my field of vision was disturbed. Everything else was entirely mundane and normal, which perplexed and amazed me, even at the time.

These hallucinations were technically pseudo-hallucinations, as I knew they were hallucinations. The face-morphing with the girls remained only so long as I focused on them and then all went back to normal. The face-morphing with my father would not go away no matter what I tried, and when we got out of the van upon arriving home I made sure not to look at the faces of either of them. As a psychologist would say to me when I relayed the story to him years later, it is incredibly suspicious that I had such a hallucination directly following a hypnosis session. The fact of the matter is that the experience was not at all that foreign to me. Though I go through periods of excess slacking, I often meditate or engage in self-hypnosis, which is more or less the same thing. Since I was young I had listened to guided self-hypnosis tapes to overcome anxiety or gain self-confidence. And nothing vivid came out of the first-and-only hypnosis session that evening, though there were a few hazy, however brief recollections that would come to disturb me later. That I would have such a vivid hallucination only on the way home after having been brought out of a largely unsuccessful trance seems a little hard to believe given my experience.

Though it does resonate with another experience in a sense. After having smoked some Salvia Divinorum in a friend’s homemade water bong as Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the theme song from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey played in the background. I took my hits off the bong a little after midnight, poor at holding the smoke in my lungs without hacking like a madman, and so I stopped altogether by a half passed. Another friend of mine — my current roommate, in fact — took in about as much as me off the bong and he felt essentially the same effects. We both had a bit of a head rush and were kind of dizzy, but that was about the length of it. I ate a bit of food, talked with the group of people there, drove one of them home on my way back to my parent’s house, where I was living at the time. After getting home, I made a pot of coffee, went to the bathroom and then decided to go outside to have a smoke and gaze at the beauty of the night sky. And there, having felt entirely sober and having felt no real sense of intoxication at all that night, I got what we might call another delayed effect.

Turning my head to look up towards the sky above the front yard I see, from an angle, a triangular object slowly moving towards the area above the house. Granted, I see no solid object, only a triangular formation of white, circular lights that appeared to be arranged in rows. Nonetheless, something implied to me a triangular object up there with these lights on its underside. It remained in my field of vision for about ten seconds, moving slowly in the sky without making so much as a subtle hum. Then, as if noticing me noticing it, the object gradually slowed down, dimmed its lights, then brightened them to a degree brighter than before, and then “switched off” completely. It was as if there was a little knob inside you could twist to brighten or dim the lights, and someone had, in their haste, accidentally turned the knob the wrong way for a moment before correcting the mistake and twisting the knob in the correct direction now, and quickly, until it clicked into the off position. This only permitted me to see a dark, triangular object move across the sky in the direction it had been going, albeit only for a few moments before I lost sight of it. Moments after I lost sight of it, there were subtle noises in the woods behind the house. It sounded like the crackling of twigs and rustling of leaves, as if the craft had gone over the house and was now burying itself at the tops of the trees in our backyard.

Though not hypnosis, as in the case with the rearview hallucination of my father’s reflection, it seems incredibly suspicious that this experience followed my inhalation of the fumes from a psychoactive plant. Again, what I agree is the easy solution on the surface doesn’t make sense the more you consider the details rather than just simplifying it.

There is, to begin, the matter of dosage. Irritated as I was when the Salvia had not seemed to have taken effect that evening, I did not find it at all that surprising. After all, I had smoked Salvia perhaps four to five times prior and it had never given me vivid hallucinations, and never any open-eye visuals. On each occasion I’d smoked a higher dosage of a more potent form of the substance, too. For instance, during my first experience I believe I had smoked Salvia 5x, which means that the active ingredient in Salvia Divinorum was sprinkled on the Salvia leaves, making it five times as potent. On the next two occasions I’d smoked ten-times extract. Even with the Salvia 10x, I had gotten nothing more than a soothing effect with transparent “eye candy” visuals when I closed my eyes. The leaves I had smoked on the night I saw the delta light show were just the leaves, however, void of any extract.

In addition, there is the matter of the drugs duration. My research and eventual experimentation with Salvia came out of a desire to falsify my growing belief in the reality of my experiences, essentially. Many had claimed that many drugs, such as Ketamine, DMT and Salvia Divinorum (which has been called “the most potent naturally-occurring psychedelic known to man”) produce experiences similar to both out-of-body experiences and alien encounters, both of which I experienced rather consistently. My focus on Salvia was due to its legal status at the time and the fact that while potent with a swift onset, it was of incredibly short duration: a trip usually lasted around the order of ten to fifteen minutes. Within half an hour, one felt entirely sober. There would be no hours of waiting if a trip commenced and went inconceivably bad, and that was something I considered attractive. Yet I had hallucinated a well-lit delta-shaped UFO roughly three hours and forty-five minutes after a few seemingly unsuccessful bong hits of naked, dry leaves.

If my experiences as a whole truly are all the product of the vast, multifaceted psychosis infecting my brain-stuff, then clearly things such as hypnosis and psychedelic substances would serve to either initiate a psychotic break or exacerbate the live episode currently airing in my short-circuiting neural network. This is not a factoid my spotlight of awareness dares to deviate all that far from in the post-1995 climate of my consciousness; one must take potential insanity into account to ensure one’s reality check has not bounced. My question is why they would happen on some rare occasions rather than all, and after the effects — of hypnosis, of the drug — were projected and felt to have ceased. Along with that is the notion that the delayed effects were of an extremely far more remarkable quality than anything within the context of the projected period of effect.

If both the hallucination of my fathers face in the rearview and the hallucination of that triangular craft above my parent’s lawn were produced by hypnosis and Salvia Divinorum respectively, they are similar in that they could be seen as delayed reactions. It reminds me, for better or worse, of the notion of “sigil magick,” a sort of branch of Chaos Magick, which relies upon intentional effort followed by diversion of attention, which evidently provides the room for results to be manufactured and received. It almost makes sense, as consciousness seems to interfere with conscious processes, and so must leave the room, so to speak, and go somewhere else for the unconscious to do its job.

This is why someone can fill their heads with data, struggle to understand it in order to answer a question or solve a problem or come to a decision and no matter how relentless their conscious exertion they only manage to get themselves wound ever more in the mental webs they have spun. Finally they submit to “leaving the room” and “taking a bath” or just getting some damned sleep. And as soon as they have accomplished that, as soon as they have successfully diverted conscious attention, the answer arrives to them out of the blue.

All you had to do was let it digest. Let the room become an unconscious womb where the answer can gestate and finally come to term. This is the same kind of effect described by those who claimed to have successfully executed telepathy and psychokinesis: a major investment of effort towards a goal, a sudden diversion is the only thing that produces success. A watched pot never boils; a fork never bends in your hand while you’re trying to bend it. Set the goal, invest the energy, then ADD away: the unconscious mind will pick up from here.

Sure you helped. Like you loosened the lid on the jar after struggling for eons and the next person turns it and it comes off immediately.

I was trying desperately to remember under hypnosis. I was anticipating doing the Salvia, hoping to see something. Results only come after my eventual release. The session is over. The drug is out of my system. On to other things. And then: delivery. I call it the Bow Effect, because you’re aiming the arrow, pulling back on your bow with all your might without getting anywhere towards your goal. Indeed, the arrowhead actually seems to be receding from the target as you up the ante, increase the tension. Only when your fingers give up or become diverted by a sudden intense itch or pain and you release the bow does the arrow soar towards the goal.

Lying Down In the Dark.

In my life I have found monsters in various forms: in the human, the inhuman, the institutions, in nature herself. I have always hid from them, preferring to silently observe them and fight them only with my thinly-veiled or behind-the-back style of hatred, barking back and biting only when I’ve reached the very end of my rope.

I consciously seek to steer clear of the spotlight, preferring the shadows, but I always end up gravitating to the spotlight, drawn into it closer and closer as if I’m in a whirlpool, a black hole and getting ever close to the event horizon, that point of no return. At nearly every job I try to stay away, keep out of it, but always end up getting more and more involved with the politics and injustices of the place and then always back down when I’m confronted and feel powerless, and usually running away, perhaps after some slight act of vengeance, when I can no longer take that shit-or-get-off-the-pot feeling and submit to my subjective constipation once again.

Here, in this area of the country, there be monster Winters, but I’ve constantly found excuses as to why I cannot move, usually resting on that all-too-familiar basis of fear. I do my very best to hide from the Winter. Similarly, as a child, I would hide from monsters such as bullies, my friend’s frightening father, and perhaps even monsters of a truly unearthly status. At any rate, I would always hide from these monsters in the very same places monsters were traditionally thought to be hiding themselves: in closets, behind doors and under beds. There are plenty of places to run to and hide, at least temporarily. That’s all I really want: a fair battle, a fighting chance, some vague semblance of hope in the wars being waged.

Despite how stupid I realized it to be, I have yet to overcome my paranoia of the night time. Since high school, I have slept with the lights on, always kept my windows closed and drapes drawn, always keeping the doors locked and bolted and sometimes having to check more than once to be sure. I used to scope out my parent’s house at night, and that habit has to some degree carried over to the apartment I live in now. I know why I do this consciously, and it deals with my paranoia regarding the thought that aliens — of all things — are coming to get me. These same aliens, despite their apparent predilection for tapping on windows and using doors, I have myself seen walk through doors and windows like an apparition, no matter how solid they seem shortly thereafter. They can see inside your head telepathically, they certainly could see into my room if they wanted to, so why draw the shades? Why lock and bolt the doors? I know why I sleep only after I’ve mentally or physically exhausted myself, or after I’ve gotten high or taken a sleeping pill. For some time it used to be drinking, for I knew if I hit the bottle I could hit the sack without bouncing back.

Yes, most of these occurrences happen at night and night is, after all, dark, but I have frequently seen them either in the daytime or when the lights were on, particularly in my youth, where one would suspect these paranoid patterns have their mighty roots. So why must I leave the lights on?

For the same reason I want the doors locked and shades drawn: its all I can do to make things difficult for them to catch me off guard. If they are here, I want to create boundaries and buffers even if they have the most minute degree of hope in serving their singular purpose as an early warning system. A fighting chance. Even if it’s a matter of seconds, I always take the attitude that forewarning is forearming. Even if its just wishful thinking, I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’ll take that over just lying down, keeping myself in the dark. Nowadays it seems as though that attitude towards the monsters of the world has grown to also incorporate my attitude towards the potential monster, the one that lies waiting, in an uneasy slumber as it hides to a greater or lesser degree in every person. I try to keep my distance from it, make boundaries or buffers to give myself time to anticipate if the beast is unleashed. Perhaps, in a similar way, I’ve dealt with my own monster.