I’ve come to believe lately that I have no true enemies in the world, at least none with the power to harm me that my own mind can not match in spades. Even in dreams I know how to torture myself better than anyone around me. I know all the wounds across my spirit, every place I can pick at the scars and open them up, pour salt across them, etc.
People usually ask me if my horror stories and love of the genre ever gives me nightmares. It doesn’t. Nothing I write is ever as scary as what it’s like inside my own head. The nightmare I had last night is proof of that. There are no monsters chasing me in my dreams, not anymore. In my dreams, the monster is me.
I’m 23 years-old and I’ve not graduated school, because I’ve been out of school for the past three years. The current stress of my living situation at the time caused me to want to take a break and re-examine my life and get things started again. Then my life went through several major changes. Now, I’m back home and the prospect keeps coming up. There were a few close calls, but unfortunately the state of Florida insists that it still needs my parents tax information and when a few papers arrived too late, that was it.
I’m actually glad I couldn’t get the financial aid I needed though. With the current state of affairs, I couldn’t concentrate on my studies. Not when I spend literal hours staring into space because of how much pain I’m in. With everything that’s going on and my inability to get treatment for my condition due to funds my GPA would plummet and that would be that. I don’t need another prospective failure so there’s no sense in putting myself in a situation where I know I would flounder around.
My terror of this every time it’s brought up by those around me turned itself into one of the most vicious and cruel nightmares I’ve ever had. My family and I, taking a tour of a campus, and every time I asked, “What about students with mental illnesses?” People just laughed. I don’t know why I kept asking.
There were all these activities for students. Plays, track-team, some weird thing where everyone held hands and ran around in a circle that I didn’t even understand. It was a bizarre amalgamation of school activities I’ve seen throughout my life, but all presented in a way that was alien, incomprehensible. It was all so that everyone looked happy and normal, and I was the outsider watching people live their lives and being utterly unable to function.
My parents were there, and Mom wanted me to sign up immediately. Because it’d be good for me, she said. That was when I lost it. I started screaming about how it felt to be raped, how someone had terrified me into acquiescing to their every will, how my mind and soul is in pieces still two years after the fact.
And her response, though it was only a dream is going to haunt me for the rest of my life, “I liked you so much better when you were a kid. You were more open to things. More fun.”
I was crushed by that. Everything fell into despair and agony. I woke up and had to wipe my tears as my mother actually had come to wake me up then. She wants me to watch the kids when they get out of school today. I told her I would.
That’s it, that’s the nightmare. The nightmare that I am dysfunctional, hated, alien; where everyone has moved on with their lives but me. School is no longer just a scary institution where I will see myself fail, it’s a place where all of my broken pieces will be put on display for the whole world to watch and laugh at.
If I could channel all of that into a story, I’d be the greatest horror writer there ever was.