Fifteenth floor, sways like elastic acid, buckling concrete swells and sweats, snowing dust mushrooms and in the stillness my feet hover centimetres from the floor, I levitate, underneath me it falls. Wind on my belly thinning the skin into a pond sized plateau. Impaled, through neck then pelvis, back revolts from the obstruction and vertebrates snap off... one-by-one. I cease, terminated. I see. I feel. I am this constantly.
My fear binds me.
“Then Fear drives out all wisdom from my mind” (Ennius, quoted by Cicero, 1595, cited in Montaigne, 2003:63). Daytime nightmares, daymares, morbid visions, I am macabre, perverse, morose. I have been made perose, macaverse, morabre. Always bleeding dry, I lose my head to the pavement, I plummet. What man makes I envisage unmade, imploding and hooking me, dragging me in. I die everyday, sometimes more.
Imagination is my blessing, curse. “Everyone feels its impact, but some are overthrown by it” (Montaigne, 2003:82).
I could say that I was born out of the shadows that were my mother's thighs, slipping through with a stream of scarlet, crimson, ruby. Thick, red, blood. As a life was given, one was taken. Hollowed breaths followed aching screams. The music of sobbing would arouse a lurch in me every time after then. An uncontrollable spasm gagging in my throat. The automatic drop of my stomach, my heart, innards. Being an orphan was my undoing. The shoe that would have remained tightly laced, now loosened. Retching open the aglets snapped at the air, weaving backwards through each hole, the tongue drooping forwards and eventually leading the heel and toes to slip out. I was to remain barefooted, the sole, soul, blackening. But, this didn’t happen. It cannot be said of me that this “involuntary scene is created in which images from the past dominate and suffuse current perceptions” (Modell, 2003:113), for I have no traumatised past, I have no scenes of danger, horror, pain, stress, suffering to recall. Rather, it might be that “comfortable people today don't simply fear losing what they already have; they also fear losing what they might soon have” (Abramsky, 2008).
Life, news, literature embeds within me a fear of the world unravelling, crust being peeled off by an unstoppable hand. This ‘culture of fear’ moulds my perception. If it’s not terrorism, it’s war, if not that, natural or man-made disasters. “The media market works to emphasize sensation: If it bleeds, it leads.”(Abramsky, 2008). I cannot fly, for I have been shown planes will crash. I am shackled to the floor.
The great puppeteer of authority with a swift movement leads my head to nod, my back to bend.
V for Vendetta shows as much fear as I. “There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.” (V for Vendetta, 2006). It is shown in this graphic novel and film that the terror was created by the same Government who had the answer for it. This happens now. Why am I plagued with crashes, with collapses? To be quiet; stay doggy, stay.
Myths of the ‘other’ as dangerous, troubled, harmful infuse my already susceptible vision. An ‘other’ is anything but me, it may have breath, or it may have no pulse but it does not have mine, so what trust ought I to place? None says the man. “Mythology is certain to participate in the making of the world” (Barthes, 1993:156), as it is “conveyed by a discourse” (Barthes, 1993:109), a known ‘truth’ to live around, live by. I see through this myth as a means to be my controller, but, itself I find unable to ignore.
“Cultural meanings are not only ‘in the head’. They organize and regulate social practices, influence our conduct and consequently have real, practical effects” (Hall, 1997). Disasters occur. Instruction to be vigilant. Paranoia strikes. I shriek without warning. I am unfit for society.
My hands, typing, shake. It is not my quickened pulse which influences this movement, rather the chair under me shaking too. Fuzz glazes over my eyes, my head bouncing too quickly to focus. The permanent structure ceases. Mouth of the carpet gaping, wood splinters teeth. Quicksand pulls the more you struggle. I struggle. On my head is pressure from the once roof- now floor. Eyes bulging under the force on my neck. They pop. Oozing down my cheeks. I slam the lids shut. I am reinstated to my seat, the building put back as it was. I know I am in reality now, but sometimes the visions are just as credible.
While this fear made from me means I won’t put myself in a place of danger, I’m caged, held by the scruff of my neck by my own mind. I want to melt and leave my trace over everything, but this culture of fear won’t let me go. I need to let me go.