It’s a sad thing to join an underground train full of miserable, grey strangers who sit in half light and don’t move or utter a single word to one another. That said, small talk is pretty dire too. Let’s see what we can do.
Oh, you’re reading Wuthering Heights! I was haunted by the depth of emotion in that book, it really got right into my heart and soul. Like when you see something so familiar that you had forgotten about for years and it all comes flooding back? A deep-seated memory in the unconscious. A memory that is ages older than all of us, and it makes you realise how small and insignificant you are as an individual, for humanity has been experiencing that animus projection myth for thousands of years. When you get down to myth level, you begin to realise there aren’t nearly so many variations in experience as you had imagined.”
(I’m feeling vey shaky and panicked: negative in my mind. I’m preoccupied with strange things like being bored to tears as a 9 year old and feeling tortured by Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’ getting airplay every 15 minutes and not being able to turn off the radio.)
“This morning I woke up with Flunk’s ‘Queen of the Underground’ in my head and I’ll be hard pushed to shift it for the day now. But that’s ok, I think. I feel like something terrifying is going to happen, something I am not emotionally equipped for. And I think whatever it is is going to be unavoidable. The only way out is through, my emotional state is temporary, tomorrow is a new day: I know all of that. But right now I am stretched.”
(Come to think of it, all the songs I have listened to so far today have that ‘darkness in the daytime’ amber hue thing. I have not fully woken up I feel. But I like it here. When will I ever access this beautiful feeling when it is appropriate?)
“Appropriateness is the oppressor though, don’t you think?
There is comfort in uncomfortableness.
Paradox is king.
My eyes are different shapes, maybe that is why I like things asymmetrical and unbalanced?”
(I have fallen down a rabbit hole, yes.)
“And all I get from my peers is an expression of their wanting me to come out and get back to ‘reality’. ‘Pull yourself together’. I hate that term so much. What if I’m happy here for a while, wallowing in my melancholy among the stars? Please let me alone. ‘That’s the illness speaking that isn’t you!’. That isn’t what you think is me. But it’s the me that produces all my best work and helps me to form a sense of centre and connection to the eternal.”
(I think of the term ‘get a grip’ and it reminds me of the long slender fingers with nails sculpted to a point I drew in art class once.)
“Let’s think of this as controlled madness. I have an anchor now. Or at least, I trust my guide and my inner self to the point that I know this is not madness. Or more accurately, this might be what you would call madness, but so long as it makes perfect sense to me, it is not too prolonged, and I don’t allow you to see any part of it that might distress you, it is as good as any old sanity. Are you feeling distressed? I do hope not. You look nervous. I assure you I’m of no danger to you.”
(I’m no longer dipping my toe in, I know. I am swimming in the well. But my lady is here and I see her as a beautiful deep indigo covered in tiny twinkly stars. And she is expressing that I am trained well enough to do this now. All the commuters now look tiny and far away – thin sausage-like shapes in white. But I feel more like myself than ever before. I feel attuned and yet completely out of time with the consensus reality tunnel. This train and its seats look like they would in a dream.)
“There is always part of me that is ready to run away from the promise of money and comfort. And it has got to be that which puts me in this state. I think am lurking just beneath the accepted frequency of operation as I am talking to you now. There are very few lines and certainly no boxes. Does it seem like I have crossed a line to you?”
(When I am feeling soulful in this way, or ‘in a stormy mood’ as it is most often seen from the outside, it is said that everyone in proximity can feel my poison. Like a thick black tar is emanating from my mouth and creeping into every room, choking people and gripping their legs and paralysing them. It is quite a strange phenomenon really, because ordinarily I soak up the emotions and moods of others like they were my own.)
“It is like I am literally inside out.”
(I have such a deep frown! I caught my reflection in the window. All my muscles are on auto while I sail off on this deep starry ocean. Believe me though, I am not in a place of terror. I will row my way back to you soon enough, with treasures I’ve no doubt.)
“I think I’m in a surprise trance”.
(I hear a faint voice: bring it under control, this is a lesson. An alchemical image of the sun and the moon. I’m to move towards the sun now aren’t I?
Take a breath
Feel your fingertips
(I drew them in art class)
Rise at your station
Mind the gap)
“The good thing is that I’m feeling more and more in touch with my soul every day.”
Rise at your station.
“There comes a point where you aren’t so much wishing that certain things would come to pass, but you just know that they will. Because your will is aligned with the universe. So it’s all good, I just need to learn to navigate these steep drops. Thanks for the chat”.
Mind the gap.
In retrospect, perhaps the silence was preferable. It’s quite a fine line between being friendly and being annoying, and another line between being annoying and acting insane. Be careful of this thing you call sanity though, it’s a tricky beast. It will have you turning grey and miserable. And worse than that, it will have you commuting.
Fragments of Light is a hand-bound, illustrated zine compiling short bursts of creative writing about magick, illumination and madness.