Thursday, December 6, 2012
Ascending Psycho CHAPTER XII
Meet My Dysfunctional Brain
I made an appointment with a psychiatrist. Maybe she can fix my mental disarray and the anarchy I carry in my mind. I did it because I see a remote possibility to have a normal life. Sadie opened the door to that possibility. She’s half my age, but like I said in my poem, the first half of my life doesn’t count, I didn’t have a life. I was absent from this world, because of my stupid shyness. Then Leticia showed up, and in the end, she was also cruel to me, like my father. I’m glad both of them are gone. Now I don’t have an excuse to be a psychopath. Now no one is pushing me over the cliff.
I think I can compare a priest with a psychiatrist, they have the same objective: to help you put your mind at ease. To erase your wrongdoings or fears.
If I want to be exonerated from my sins, or if I want to get rid of my repulsive thoughts, I need to appeal to two people, a priest and a psychiatrist. The last time I had a confession I was thirteen years old. That’s when my dad and my grandfather forced me to become an adult. At that time my childhood disappeared. There wasn’t a transitional period. Just a drastic traumatic change. When I lost my innocence I also lost my faith.
To have your soul cleansed and renewed you need to be sincere with your priest, without restrictions. It’s the same thing with your mind. You need to be genuinely open with your psychiatrist, if you want to have a sane mind. But how can I confess my sins or crimes without expecting a deserving punishment? Actually my sins don’t concern me too much, because I can confess just before I die, and it would be okay. That’s the only thing I like about being Catholic, but even if the psychiatrist doesn’t denounce me to the authorities, or the priest convinces me to voluntarily surrender myself, I wouldn’t dare to tell anybody about my homicidal record. Still, I have to give myself an opportunity to clean up my act. I need to rearrange my life. My dad was one of the main causes for my erratic behavior, and thank God, he’s gone. (Actually, he's gone thanks to me.) The other reason for my suffering was my stupid shyness and inferiority complex, and I believe that miraculously I overcame that bothersome defect.
I chose a female psychiatrist. I believe that a woman might be less aggressive and more patient than a male counterpart, or it might be that a woman might be easier to get rid of, if things get out of hand. I don’t mean ‘get rid’ as in ‘make disappear’, but I think that it might be easier to ignore and quit. That’s what I’ve been trying to do all my life with women . . . to ignore them. Obviously without any success.
When she asked me what was wrong with me, I said that my mind had irrational thoughts. That I was mixed up, that I was in constant turmoil, in chaos. I told her about my shyness and insecurities, but not about the heavy stuff, of course.
The entire first session was dedicated to tell her about my life since I was a kid. She let me talk for an hour. At some point I felt profoundly ridiculous. I mean, I felt that nobody could help me, but me. I know what’s wrong with me, and I know that all I have to do to change in a positive way is to stop killing people. But there I was, thinking about ways to kill her in her own office. Going behind her chair, removing my belt and strangle her, or hitting her in the head with the oversized crystal ashtray that I see on her desk. But I know I wouldn’t do it, or would I? First she needs to help me, if she succeeds, she’ll go on living, but if she fails, well . . . she dies. It’s up to her. Her life is in her hands, but she doesn’t know that.
The reason I’ve never been to shrinks, it’s because they seem so arrogant to me, so sure of themselves, like they underestimate and underrate the rest of us. Well, they must be analyzing themselves all the time. At least, that’s the impression I get from watching them in the movies.
She is in her forties, she’s elegant and professional. Anyone would notice or assume she is smart, just by her looks. Women like her, I never saw at my butcher shop, or at my AA meetings. Actually, I never had contact with any smart ladies in my life. But I don’t feel inferior, because of the thoughts I now carry in my mind. I know her life is in my hands. But the reason I’m here, is to lose that absurd feeling that I have, that I can destroy anybody’s life without any motives. I want to become normal. (If possible)
I feel like I’m in front of two doors. One leads to heaven and the other to hell. Both doors are closed, and I don’t know which one I’ll end up opening.
The other day, as I was crossing the park in front of my shop a homeless man asked me when I was going to prepare hamburgers for them again. I said, soon. I know it’s been a while. Who did they have last time? Was it Leticia? Was it Fredo, or the hooker? Hmm, I don’t remember. I think it’s time for me to sharpen my knives again and look for a temporary friend. I felt certain pride, to know that I’m appreciated by my cannibal friends. But if my shrink succeeds with me, they might as well go on a hunger strike until they die. Or perhaps, I’ll start giving them animal meat instead.
I took Sadie to the Sequoia Park, I thought she was going to be impressed, but she said that all of Oregon was like that. We were on the same bridge where my dad pushed my grandpa, with our feet hanging from the bridge, lying down and watching the clouds.
“I read somewhere that God hides behind the clouds when he is ashamed to see some of the things we do, but I think he hides because he is unable to help us. He is ashamed he can’t help us. I wonder what he feels when he sees we’re killing each other. If he watches a man killing another man, why doesn’t he intervene? For centuries he’s been watching war after war, all over the world, a war gets solved here, but another starts over there. Obviously he can’t help us, because this is never ending. What you think, Sadie?”
“All that you’re saying makes sense, but I hope you’re wrong. Otherwise, why do we have a God, if he can’t do a thing? Why do we need him for, if he can’t fix what he created?”
“Maybe he just created marionettes or puppets, and he’s just pulling our strings?”
“I don’t know, Angel, but I think he did at least one thing right. He brought us together.”
When she finished her sentence, I felt supremely happy. I thought it was great, to have her next to me, on the same spot where I had the worst moment of my life.
“I told Joy about us. She was a little upset, but in the end, she accepted it. I’m glad she did, because I didn’t know what I would have done, if she had opposed to it. I love her so much. She’s like a mother to me. Did she tell you, she was raped?”
“Yes, she did.”
“I remember my dad went to pick me up at school that day. My mom was at work. When we returned, we heard noises coming from Joy’s bedroom. Joy wasn’t supposed to be back home yet. To reach Joy’s bedroom, we had to go through the kitchen, my dad grabbed a big knife from the table. Without making any noise my dad opened the door and we found a guy with his pants down on top of Joy. He had Joy’s mouth covered with his hand. Joy wasn’t screaming, but she had a look of terror in her eyes. She was just lying still. Then, my dad stabbed the man on his back. The knife went all the way in and the handle was all we could see. That man was my dad’s best friend. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life, not even at the butcher shop. Joy didn’t move, she was paralyzed, for a moment I thought she was dead too, she had so much blood on her. When we cleaned her, we noticed she had been stabbed too. After the knife penetrated the man’s body, it had entered an inch on Joy’s chest. If the man had been a little skinnier, my dad would have killed both of them.”
Of course, I’ve seen that scar in the middle of Joy's chest. When I asked about it, she didn’t answer and changed the subject. I didn’t insist and never asked again. Then Sadie continued.
“The police took my dad to jail, for an interrogation, they said, but they kept him there for two years. Joy remained in shock and couldn’t talk for a whole week. Two months after Joy was raped, my mom moved to California with her new boyfriend. She left us when we needed her the most. She said she had it all planned even before our dad killed that guy, she didn’t say, "before Joy was raped." The following day our mom left, Joy quit school and started to work. She was sixteen years old, I was twelve.”
I had tears in my eyes when she finished. I thought my life had been hard. What a fool.
For no apparent reason, or maybe just because her story broke my heart, I told her about the events that happened on this bridge. About my grandpa wanting to retire to Mexico, about his plans to sell the butcher shop, about my grandpa wanting to return to the place where he had met my grandma, about that time when my grandma’s mom disappeared from her hand. And about all that sad stuff that happens in most normal lives, not just mine.
The sharing of our tales, brought us together even closer. Sadie learned that day to love my grandma, even more. She kept calling her ‘abuela’ or grandmother, which made my grandma very happy. A few years later, just days before my grandma passed away, she gave all her jewelry to Sadie, all her letters and memories too. My grandma loved no one more than she loved Sadie, not even me.
My shrink began each session with just a question, and then I spoke for an hour. I began to like her. She was very quiet, almost shy, or maybe that was her method to learn more about me. It was a good therapy, like a massage to my mind. All I had to do, was talk, talk, talk, I didn’t have to worry about being judged, criticized or scolded. There was not much to tell, if I didn’t tell about my crimes, which were the consequences of my traumas. My damaged mind hadn’t suffered any wounds lately. The last one had been when Leticia left me for her ex-boyfriend, and before that, when my dad humiliated me in front of a friend at the butcher shop. My solution had been to kill both of them. Some might say that my decisions had been too drastic for the little mistakes they had committed, but my fragile impatient mind couldn’t bear any more deceptions.
“Of all the movies you’ve seen, who’s your favorite villain?” My psychiatrist asked.
I loved that question, right away I thought about all those miserable moments I spent hiding in my room. The only thing that could help me deal with my vulnerable mind was to watch movies, and almost all villains I liked, were my heroes too.
“Without a doubt, Nurse Ratched,” I replied.
“And what about your favorite hero?” She asked.
To me, super heroes were super false. Superman, Iron Man, Spider Man. They never came to my rescue. In that case, my only superhero would be my grandma. My grandma had been a real hero. Just like my dad had been a super villain, even worse than Nurse Ratched. Now that I think of it, my dad is the only villain that I hate.
“Wait, I have more favorite villains than heroes. Another villain that I like a lot is Hannibal Lecter. I love cannibals.”
“I mean, I love stories about cannibals, zombies, vampires, and all those bloody suckers.”
I better control myself, she’s making me talk too much, and about things I shouldn’t talk about. I almost forgot that this is not a conversation. She is studying me, getting information to make me sane.
“So, what about your heroes? You must admire a few of them, who are they?” she asked.
“No, not really, I always want the villains to win. I’m always on the loser’s side. That’s why my favorite movies are, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Silence of the Lambs. The villains win on these two movies. I don’t like heroes, I hate them.”
“What would you like to be, a hero, or a villain?”
I know I fell on her trap, but I didn’t care.
Edmundo Barraza / Visalia, CA. 12-05-2012