Anne Sophie Cornelius: Discovering your mind
In this vividly written piece, Anne Sophie Cornelius describes living with the consequences of trauma.
Sometimes my mind is a door I’d rather not open. Memories lay scattered like Polaroid pictures after a storm, gathering dust and grime on the cold hard ground. (Oh! Oh! Trouble, trouble, trouble! Sorry, that was the “bursting into Taylor Swift songs” part of my mind). I step on fragments of childhood as I make my way through the broken door, which is barely hanging onto its hinges. Some of them feel like fresh grass under my feet, some cut like glass and soon my footprints turn bloody. Marks that will never leave. If you don’t wash blood with cold water and soap, the stain remains. I have loads of those stains.
In this corner of my mind, the demons dance and a black shadow haunts me. “You can’t do it.” “You’re nothing without me.” “You are my possession”. “I will destroy your life”. Bruises appear on my heart and fear fills my head with poisoned thoughts. It’s like a thick fog and I cannot think straight. I run away but they always catch up. Sometimes they’re my only company. I’ve learned their initials: C, P, T, S, and D. Apparently this is their scientific name that explains the darkness in my mind. Looks more like demons and ghosts to me.
A few months ago, I escaped the black shadow. It still resides in my mind, but its poison ivy grip on my self-perception has loosened. Sometimes, I miss its comforting darkness, but it cannot let my light shine without overshadowing it. So, I burnt the bridge. Some nights I join my demons in their party and we dance and drink and laugh until we pass out in the early morning light.
Then, there is the corner of my mind that is my cushion: everything is cotton candy soft, filled with feathers and frolicking. It is the newest Netflix show, hours spent on Tumblr, my mum’s soothing words and helpfulness, and coffee shop dates with my friends. Nothing much happens here. Apparently, this place is called the Comfort Zone and I can’t stay there for too long. The ground is quicksand and I get stuck. It is nice in here, but nothing grows.
This corner is under renovation: some things are broken, sometimes it leaks and I’m fumbling to rectify it which only seems to make more things fall apart. Pieces of me are flung across the floor – underwear and glitter from a past burlesque performance, piles of half-written notebooks with creative ideas I struggle to put into action, dreams, photographs I’ve taken hung up on the walls, shelves with books stacked on top of each other, souvenirs from roads less travelled on. On the ceiling is the pencil mark I left after successfully climbing at pole fitness. There is a garden with a pond and bright coloured fish, green grass and cushions. I wake up with the sun and birdsong.
On cold nights, the wind blows echoes from the black shadow, but the fire keeps me warm and this corner is my shelter. It is me, my own creation, and I’m proud of it.