It's amazing how you can think you're over something. Done. Finished. And then you find out you're not, after all. I've had two very interesting conversations over the last two nights. Both started out innocently enough. And then something comes up and you spaz. A forgotten memory rears its ugly head, uninvited. And then you can't stop thinking about it.
The mind is an amazing, yet terrifying place. You can see, feel, and hear things that aren't really there, just because you truly want to. I think this explains many religious experiences. I don't necessarily think those who have visions or whatnot are crazy (though I don't rule out that possibility, either). But I do think that we fulfill our own desires, fantasies, fears, and prophecies. But we can also block out things we don't want to see, hear, or feel. We've all heard about traumatic events being blocked from our memories to protect us. But I think when things are particularly stressful, we don't retain memories as well. And we choose NOT to process information. We deny. OK, I don't know where I'm going with this. But just...beware. The fabric of reality is....fragile. Even the catholic church requires confirmation of miracles. There's a reason. OK, it might not be a trick of the devil, just your own, epically powerful brain. With the human brain around, who needs demonic (or heavenly) influences? So how do you know what's real? This is a question that has plagued me for YEARS. After leaving the church, I figured I could only trust that which I could detect with my five senses. After Andy and his, uh, friends....I didn't know HOW one was supposed to experience reality. So, yeah. Sometimes I get chilled with the question of whether experiencing something with my senses makes it real. Were Raz and Tai real because my neurons fired off signals indicating a hand on my skin, a voice in my head, that tingling you get when someone's close by, a face? I know I sound like a crazy person right now. And that's ok. I don't really care that much. Because I want you to see that this is what a cult does to you - it drives you crazy. But there is a version of normal that will come eventually. It's just relative.
My first post-cult friend is an example. And it came up in conversation tonight. There was a past. I heard a story. And hey, it wasn't about a plan for my life, it wasn't about characters in a book, it wasn't even about supernatural beings. One of the benefits of befriending an atheist post-cult. Still, I was never sure if his story was true. But I didn't care. It was in this dimension. And he wasn't trying to drag me into anything. And he read Jeanine's book, found it interesting, but didn't judge me. At all. It was a huge relief. That wasn't the thing that took him away from me, which led me to believe there MIGHT be life after Abbey and Andy (I still had to see them every day, as Hollywood really is a small town) I didn't know until recently that this person's past was some big secret to others who were close to him. Which makes me question it more. But it's ok. Because, given a choice, I'd rather say I was friends with someone I didn't know was a murderer (or whatever) than have to admit I believed in hobbits from another dimension. Normal is relative.
OK, so I hope I haven't just earned myself a free stay at the Hotel California. But there it is. Why? For the survivors.