Vignettes of Ruin and...

Posts Tagged ‘health’

Deluda (the God of Pretending This Isn’t Happening)

In The Nightmare on May 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm

The doctor is kind, but he still asks why- why’d you leave it so long?

The Gods of Vice, I think, it’s their fault. But the thought is hollow. It echoes without resonance. A tin can of self fed lies. Empty glass bottles of inhibition and low esteem. A crunched up paper ball of pathetic existence. It’s not anyone’s fault.

There is only me… and maybe Deluda. The God of Everything Is Okay Even When It’s Not. The God Compartmentalise Your Bullshit. The God of- you get the idea!

Lying back, I say, there is something inside of me. And it’s not a child, no- nothing quite so usual as that!

He says, but how do you know it isn’t a child? You say you are in a relationship. You say it is growing, it has a pulse…?

I tell him how we barely talk, we barely touch. There’s too much drinking so there is no time for that.

There is no child. There is something else.

He feels sorry for me, I can tell. He pushes down on my abdomen and I close my eyes. I feel relieved. Finally, I am facing this, whatever it is. When I open my eyes, tears leak down the sides of my face, down my temples, into my hair.

The doctor says quietly, I agree with you. He seems surprised that this is the case.

The relief dissolves and the fear returns.

My tumor has a heartbeat.


Adoris Odious (the God Who Is More Than Just Vain)

In Pride on March 27, 2011 at 1:16 pm

“I am going to have to go home.”

“But you live so far away. You can’t stand for hours at a stop for a bus that never arrives. You can’t catch a tram that is full of junkies this time of night. You can’t catch a train because the stations are full of drunks. You can’t get a taxi because it will cost you a fortune!”

“No, no, I definitely can’t stay. Look, it’s…it’s because I forgot my make-up!”

This is what I tell friends who apparently like my company. They laugh like they think (or hope) I might be joking, and I smile to indulge them. But it is true.

I will not step outside without the illusion I can create with make up. I cannot leave without perfectly silken hair. And it is better to leave late at night where my now dishevelled clothing won’t have to face the unbearable exposure to a day full of sunlight tomorrow.

So I stand for fifty minutes at a bus stop in sub zero temperatures, refusing to give up and walk the half a kilometre back to the warm golden home of friends. I finally make it to the tram and I spend another fifty minutes on it, trundling into town, trying to be invisible to the prowling gang of rejects slithering down the aisle. But when I make it to my destination, the next train isn’t due for twenty seven minutes. I can hardly feel my fingers, they bluntly miss the appropriate keys on my phone when I try to text my friends to tell them I am alright. arjjoraldakjkdjoellsgfngo, I almost tell them before I give up and put it away. An old man lurches towards me. His skin is dark with dirt and he smells dreadful. He extends his greasy palm and his yellowed fingernails are long, cracked and full of crud.

“Have yeh got any money yeh can give t’me so I can…” He hesitates a moment and I see Intoxicatus rearing up behind him, pouring his fervour for alcohol into a mind that has already been devastated by him. The old man shudders and struggles and eventually splutters- “…and I can… spend the night in a hostel.”  Intoxicatus dissipates like smoke. His battle with his god over, he appears to relax a bit and briefly comes back to reality. His open palm falters and he looks around, like he doesn’t know how he got here. I lower my eyes and shake my head. I cannot help him. I cannot even help myself.

Finally, I am home, so happy to be home. I immediately check how I look in the mirror. Very acceptable! Because for the entire journey home, as the cold seeped into my bones, vapour stuck to my skin and the breeze knotted my hair, I felt ugly. Anyone who looked at me, I thought, they could see those spots I thought I covered up, why did that stranger have to sit so close to me, they could see my split ends and my tired red eyes, the tear in my coat, the sole peeling away from my shoe? But looking in the mirror now, I can’t see any of those things. So why would they? I am polished and unblemished. Pristine and pretty. It is a brief respite from trying to appear attractive.

Just as I pull away from my reflected image, some movement behind me paralyses me with fear. I should be alone, but clearly, something else is in here with me. I spin around to face it. But there is nothing. No one. As the hammering of my heart begins to calm, I wonder what fear looks like. I turn to the mirror and then I see her, standing right behind me.

Odious, the God of Self Loathing.

She is a fantasically horrible sight, her despair at herself manifested physically; though living, her body is fraught with decay. Her mottled skin sags and oozes, her bones are jutting through, her hair is sparse and straggled, encrusted sores score her scalp. Her nose has rotted away and as she smiles, a bitter expression of self-realisation, her receded gums expose unnaturally long stained teeth. She stares at me with deep twin recesses where her eyes once were. I know why she is here. To remind me that even when I feel alright, she is barely concealed beneath the surface.

My encounter with Odious changes how things look in the morning. I can hardly even bear to look at myself, I shrink back from the stark honesty of the mirror, I cower before its merciless truth. I cannot believe I ever thought I looked remotely acceptable…I am a travesty, unworthy of being considered or loved. I don’t think I will leave the house today.

Sitting at my dresser, it’s top covered in eyeshadows, gels, pencils and brushes, words materialise in my mind. You don’t have to feel this way. It is Adoris, the God of Compulsive Vanity. She gracefully sits down beside me. She looks exactly how I wish I looked! Creamy skin touched with rose, luscious richly coloured hair, she glows with health and vigour. But then she turns her gaze on me and I cannot believe it. Her eye sockets are dark and empty, but her stare is no less chilling. I recognise her instantly. She is Odious. Odious is Adoris. They are one and the same. She makes sure I never stop striving too look good or feel bad- that is the black power she feeds on, and oh, how she has feasted on me!

“You are an artist. And your face is a blank canvas you must paint.” She hands me a brush and a make-up palette. I cannot deny her. She is too tempting, even though I now know how hateful her true form is.

I raise my hand and begin to draw.