“The monster under the bed doesn’t exist,” reassured my mom as I crawled into her bed in the middle of the night and she sent me back to my own room. I trusted her but I knew she was lying. It was there, waiting to grab my fingers or toes if they slipped over the edge of the bed during the night.
“The goblin in the woods is all in your imagination,” stated my grandmother as she pushed me back outside to play. She didn’t believe me but I knew the creature was out there; I’d seen it. It had more scraggly facial hair than my cousin Stevie. It glared at me with its red eyes as it clutched at the branch of a spruce tree with claw-like hands. It hissed, baring yellowed fangs and tossed pine cones at my head. It was looking for a chance to hurt me; I knew it.
“There is nothing in the basement,” laughed my father as he opened the door and urged me downstairs to retrieve his tape measure. He was wrong. There was a shadow living under the stairs. I felt its urge to grab my ankle and trip me every time I ventured down into the darkness.
All three repeated the same phrase whenever I expressed a fear of something beyond their ken: “It’s a figment of your imagination; you’ll out grow it.”
But I didn’t.
I see shadows where there is nothing to create them; I hear voices when there is no one near. I remember living in the past and being people other than myself. I’ve danced with faeries and left offerings for hobgoblins. I can change the weather and help heal the sick. I’ve seen inter-dimensional travelers and talked to demons. I’ve met ancient Goddesses and heard God’s call.
“And you’ve felt this way since childhood?” asked my psychiatrist as he scribbled on his prescription pad. “Try this,” he said as he handed me the slip of paper. “It’ll help you sleep and stabilize your emotions. Eventually those thoughts will go away and you’ll be a normal, rational person.” I took it from him with a tentative hand.
“Oh, and don’t forget to schedule your next appointments with my assistant on the way out. I want to see you twice a week. We need to monitor your situation closely.”
He didn’t look up from the notebook where he was writing furiously when I left the room, the prescription for Zyprexa clutched in my hand. I tossed it in the wastepaper basket as I smiled at the assistant. I walked out the door without speaking to her, deciding in that instant to walk my own path.
Why would I want to live a rational life? There are exciting things out there beyond the ordinary; I can experience it, as long as I believe.