Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dream: Basement Windows

I found myself in a back yard cookout at a certain house. I remembered touring this house after it had been remodeled a few years ago, before it was sold to the current occupants. Had I toured it as part of a class I had taken ? I couldn’t remember. But I remembered loving the house. I had envisioned it as a home that would be sold for a lot of money, well maintained, manicured lawn, in a white collar neighborhood. But as I looked at its current state, I realized the family now living in it did not fit this image. They had already let the house fall into disrepair, with paint peeling and cracking, the siding rotting. It hardly looked like the same house. They were not trashy people, but not wealthy either. Blue Collar, and rough around the edges. I wondered how they qualified for a house this size in the first place.  Were they trapped in it financially?  I wondered. 

The grill was fired up, the man was playing catch, and the woman was traipsing in and out of the back door with items for the picnic table. She looked stressed, haggard. I sat in my lawn chair, surveying the scene, wondering how I ended up at this cookout to begin with since I didn’t know the owners . Then my eyes became fixated—the large windows to the basement were opened, airing it out. There was light shining in the basement, and it looked as though the family had made it a work room or project room.
I suddenly  remembered being in that room at night just a few years before. The air was dark and dank and suffocating. No air movement at all. The windows were the only respite from the stillness. I was with a group, on a tour at night . . .a ghost tour.

“Is this house haunted? I heard it is.” Someone from the present asked, and it brought me out of my memory. I answered before the owners could, “Yes it is. That’s how I know this house. I came here looking for the spirits with a group of people, and we found them.” The family froze, tired eyes glaring at me, as if I uncovered a dark secret. They lived in this haunting, and likely were unable to financially get out of it. They were prisoners to this place. They had no idea at purchase what they were getting.

I have been in a dark, dank place in my own mind before. It’s a bit of a basement, and it’s full of ghosts. It’s full of fear and sadness. It’s a deep, dark depression. But I have also emerged from it and don’t care to go back. I have tiptoed around it since, looking into the darkness with curiosity, sometimes drawn to it. But the fear and memories pull me back to reality. The ghosts in that basement can damage a person, age them, destroy them layer by layer. Even the most beautiful and talented person, who was meant for great things, could be worn down quickly by their own demons, lurking in their mind. Who put the demons there? Experiences? Genetics? Abuse? All of the above? I don’t know.

Once you dwell in that darkness, your eyes and body adjusts to the surroundings. You get used to the atmosphere. An outsider can walk in and immediately lose their breath, but a dweller will feel at home. But even the dweller can get a glimpse of life outside the window and realize it’s time for some fresh air. Maybe they have a moment of clarity and open the windows and shades on their own, and maybe a visitor throws them open in disgust. But those moments of clarity are not constant, because the windows will eventually close again, and the fresh air will turn stagnant again.

Sadly, some people are trapped for whatever reason, and never escape the darkness. Sometimes it’s because they never change their surroundings, and stay in the myre. They refuse to walk away from relationships, jobs, and homes, even if harmful, simply out of familiarity. I think I escaped because of a moment of divine intervention—a moment where an opportunity arose to grow emotionally, and I was mentally ready to deal with the past. I took the first step, and followed through to the 2nd step. Instead of blaming the world, I blamed myself. So I was able to seek help for myself. Those that blame the world, generally refuse help, because they don’t think they need it. They are the most difficult to reach.

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