Thursday, 10 November 2011

Rabbit in the Headlights

I think it's safe to say I am not normal.
I'll elaborate. You would think that when you receive praise for your work, it encourages you to keep going. 
Oh no, not me. 
Not that I don't appreciate what people have been saying, it's been so wonderful having such support. I've been so amazed to hear how well people have received what I've written and it's given me such a boost of confidence in knowing I have something worth saying...that's one side of it. The other side simply reveals a scared little girl who's ready to give the ballet recital of her life, sitting behind the big red curtain, knowing there's an expectant audience waiting for her to deliver and she suddenly can't feel her feet! 
So sitting down to write this post was similar to when a friend unexpectantly says, 'Let's play a game! Think of a song title, any song title will do...' and even though you know it's just a game, none of your limbs are going to be cut off, nothing bad is going to happen to you, for the life of you all songs no longer exist in that wonderfully unreliable thing called a brain, if it even deserves the title for moments like this.
I've ummed and ahhed about continuing my posts in the same style as the last as I always wonder after something's gone down well, is it wise to keep going? Similar to when they make a sequel to a good movie and you wish they just hadn't bothered (ugh like Pirates of the Caribbean, know when to say NO). And you know, 'Joshua' isn't like some secret code. It's not like somebody is reading this in Timbuktu (this was the first place that popped into my head) saying "I have got to meet this guy! I wonder where he lives? I'm gonna Google him!" 
I've just found that using my moments of personal discovery and journey in this way brings slightly more depth to them than if I was writing, face value, about how life unfolds. In fact, when I put it like that, of course I don't want to give you something of face value...I actually want to give you something of value.
So here I am, dear reader, attempting to write honestly in this moment and tell you how I feel.
And I feel nervous. 
Speaking in front of an empty room, you can see everything quite clearly. It's a blank canvas. Speaking in front of an audience, you can't see if any of them are holding something nasty behind their backs, like lemon pies....Not that I think, at all, dear reader, that you, of all people, would throw a pie in my face. You wouldn't dare! But there is someone who'd love for me to think it. I don't even know if I should speak of him. Most of the time, myself and my friends who have had the terrible experience of meeting him, find it very unpleasant to even discuss him. But it is better to know your enemies, so I've been told. Maybe by laying out his tactics, you might avoid the 'pie thoughts' yourself, if you can understand where I'm coming from with all my metaphorical jargon (by the way, I LOVE the metaphors if you haven't caught on and will never ever stop). I don't think I'll dignify him with a name. I know that sounds spiteful, but hear my story first, you may come to see there's more to this than first impressions.
The thing is, to start with first impressions, he comes across very fine. You find yourself bumping into him like an acquaintance you didn't expect to see on the street but for the life of you, you cannot remember his name! It's a surprise but not to spoil your day, as you've got time, you are in no rush and have nowhere to be any time soon and you feel dreadful for not remembering who he is. But it's fine because he is so happy to see you and asking all sorts of questions. Before you've quite got your head around who you're talking to, he knows exactly where you're going and how long you've been working at that place and who you're meeting for lunch later that day. It seems to all hold very little consequence and you find yourself inviting him along to join you for drinks later. After all, it would be impolite, and it's been so long, and he says that he has some really interesting news to share, and you can't help yourself, you're dying to know what it is!
Of course, later, when you're waiting for him to show up and it's an hour past the time scheduled to meet, your dumbstruck brain starts to wake up and you remember what was once cloudy when you bumped into him earlier in that fleeting moment.
He has one of those faces you never can really remember, but he always reminds you of that other person that you knew that one time, what was his name? And because of this, you hold little against him until you have experienced, what I like to call, his illusions (that's what Joshua calls him, the Illusionist). 

Now, let's talk plainly, we all love a good magic trick. They can be fun and full of fascination as that well known phrase is uttered around the room, 'How did he do that!?' But the Illusionist does not use his magic to simply gain a round of applause.
Let me try to unpack his dirty work. Take, for instance, darkness. Now, we all know, at the end of the day, the sun goes down, the moon comes up, we arrive home from a hard day's work and we get into our beds and settle in for a good night's sleep. Darkness makes this easier and reminds us at the end of the day that it's time for a rest. And then at the end of the night, the sun comes up, we wake up, and start all over again. It's a regular cycle. Consistent. Reliable. Steady. 
Unfortunately, the Illusionist uses darkness for worse things. He gets a real kick out of the fear factor. Don't ask me how he does it, I think it's through many, many years of practice, and I don't know what drives him, something darker than even the dead of night I think (excuse the pun). 
Now I feel it is important for you to understand the great lengths he will go to in order for his illusions to work. Let us compare the everyday magician that we naturally associate with, who, after successfully astounding his audience resulting in a rapturous applause, the curtain falls, the gloves come off, he packs up his box of tricks and returns to his happy home. As the curtain was drawn and the gloves came off, his time card was filled, and when he arrives at the door, the box of tricks is put down by the door, locked and unnecessary as when he returns from a days work, that's precisely where his magic must remain. The Illusionist has acquired that name as that is all he is. He makes no living from it but simply lives it. I hate to push this further, but I want you to grasp his obsession; just think about it dear reader, what is the one thing most children are afraid of? And let me ask you, what parent teaches their child to fear the dark? Like I said, he doesn't really deserve a real name does he? For myself, since I was little, he has used darkness as a key component of his illusions. I never knew the dark to be any different. It just personified fear. 
Fear goes hand in hand with his illusions. I believe they are the best of friends, possibly twins, as I have definitely often gotten the two muddled up in the past. In my experience, I believe their aim is to get you to stand still. This not only means that they don't have to track you down but now it is much easier to get your attention. I must caution you once this has been attained, they have the upper hand and will work quickly to continue building the illusion up in your mind so cleverly till Fear has had the chance to completely paralyze you. Your will think your eyes deceive you as you make out a perfectly matching pair of cunning smiles, almost like one is looking in the mirror, as these two wretched deceptive thieves recognize your familiar face. You start to believe that the illusion has taken the place of reality, and worse, the reality has, in fact, become the illusion.

Let me tell you more of The Illusionist, but later, there is still more to be said.

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