A Kiss from a Witch in a Fur Coat
The last few days have been a whirlwind. I'm back home today, but there's still a lot to say about my stay in the hospital - so here's the entry I began writing on Valentine's Day and am finishing now :
My friend, the Austrian boy who wished to become a child again, was released today. I was visiting Damien in the lobby when he left. I ran to give him a great big hug, he whispered to me to take care of myself.
When he walked out the door, I was simultaneously happy and melancholy. Happy, because he got what he wanted, melancholy because the world outside is not nearly as kind as the one within these white walls. So I worry for him, and I wish him peace. When I pray, I include him in it.
A new woman arrived today, though I didn't notice her at first. I was busy in the waiting room, crying and waiting for my turn of medication. She noticed me, though. After getting my meds and smoking a cigarette -- a beautiful privilege of French hospitals : they have smoking sections-- I was heading to hide in my room when I heard a strong "Mademoiselle! Mademoiselle!" calling out to me from an open door.
I followed the voice and was met by the most stylish old woman, 61 years old in a grey leopard print faux fur coat, and adorned with beautiful jewellery. She asked me to sit, and I did.
"I saw you, earlier. You were crying. Might I ask you why?"
I don't know why I trusted this woman, but I did - immediately. I told her everything that had been going on, how lost I felt, how scared I was. She told me things about her, too. She told me her children had abandoned her, that she was completely alone in the world. I didn't ask her how she came to be in the ward, nor did she tell me.
We spoke for about an hour, and when I left her, she asked me to come closer for a moment. She was sitting, so I knelt down beside her and she wrapped me in her arms, a furry embrace. She kissed my left cheek, then my right, then my forehead. In that moment, I nearly cried. Something about it left me feeling reborn, and that's not necessarily something I believe in - though I'm not opposed to the idea. But I left her room feeling different, feeling that things would be okay, that they were already.
The next day, I asked to be released. Because I checked myself in voluntarily, my doctor had to let me go - though he strongly advised against it. But I felt confident in my decision, I felt that I had gotten what I needed from my stay and while there were still battles to be fought - I could handle them more comfortably in my own bedroom.
So here I am now, in my home, the home that I share with my love. And it's not easy, and it's not pretty - I still cry, but I don't feel hopeless. There are more and more moments where I forget to be sad, and find myself joyful, laughing. Yesterday I watched one of my favourite films, with Damien on my left and Elsa on my right, and it felt right. I felt safe, for the first time in a long time.
One thing I can say is that I feel now more than ever how loved I am. The outpour of connection in the past week has been overwhelming and incredible. My friends who came to visit, friends in other places, other countries, sending me messages, checking on me. Everyone assembled in their own way to help me in whatever way that they could, and it felt like my heart was bursting rather than breaking. I am so incredibly grateful, and in the moments where I begin to panic, I remember that feeling, that love.
On a parting note, there's a mantra I made up a long while back, and I'd like to share it with you. I sing it when I'm afraid, when I'm overwhelmed, and it always grounds me. It goes like this :
I carry my light wherever I go
and nothing can touch me,
nothing can touch me
and though I may stumble,
I know I won't fall
I've got God above me
nothing can touch me
the fear in my heart
is just fuel for the cause
the trauma I've fought
has been my food for thought
I carry my light wherever I go,
and nothing can touch me
nothing can touch me
Thank you for being here, thank you for caring, thank you for existing. I am so incredibly grateful to you.
Love love love, forever and always,