I’ve never told anyone before, so I suppose it only makes sense that I should tell the whole world in one fell swoop.
I’m not ashamed of it. It is just indescribably jarring to be riding in a car enjoying the scenery one moment and finding myself looking for places to hide the next. Literally. My mind drags me through abandoned farmsteads and caves and culverts and all sorts of nooks and crannies—anywhere I can escape from predators long since dead.
Thankfully, that only happens when I’m a passenger. I’ve concluded that one too many contented sighs most likely triggers the event, because my ever-vigilant brain perceives my relaxing muscles as the letting down of my guard and sets off alarms about impending danger.
It’s fascinating to observe myself, though, and I’ve made a game of it. My favorite times are when I’m in the woods, where I am most at home. I spent years exploring forests and sleeping on the ground and was never afraid. So, when we’re driving through the trees, I imagine myself in places where even shadows cannot find me.
During those odd disconnected moments, I recognize that I am perfectly safe. But lifelong survival mechanisms die hard, or in my case, not at all. Even now, I struggle to sneak between that point of relaxation when I can fall asleep and the instant my brain snaps its nightlight on and leaves it to burn until morning.
Another thing… Apparently, I have mentally collected a file of safe places for almost sixty years. I can still picture my crayon map that showed the supposed route from my house to a tin shack on Mt. Timpanogos. I was certain that I could survive there until I grew up enough to fend for myself. In fact, I had it all planned. It would be me, my kittens, and my brother, who would bring his wagon packed with supplies.
I try not curse the men who decided that their amusement was more important than my sense of safety in my body and my bed, as I don’t want to slum around in the energy of revenge. Even so, when my thoughts are yanked from the beauty of a new landscape to the need to find an escape, I wish that those soulless lumps had lived even one year in my shoes, so they would know the devastation that they left in their selfish wakes.
Here’s an excellent article that explains the above.