Paranoia

“She brings out the best in you.” JSM

-Unexpected Company-

The challenge when dealing with paranoia, for myself exclusively (I dare not speak for others), is knowing whether or not the paranoia is justifiable. Should I be feeling this way? Do I have the right to feel this way? Wow… you do have the right to feel this way, and if you didn’t?

It would be inhuman.

But you shouldn’t be feeling this way. Everything happens for a reason, right? If this is happening for a specific reason, then your feelings and thinking on the matter, are flawed.

Look behind you and observe what you know. Remember it all. Every tiny detail. Soak it in like a sponge. Let it feed you. Remain angry and show everyone how you feel. Misery loves company, right?

No… Be rational. Understand to the best of your ability, a lot’s happened to you, and there’s not much you can do about it. Focus on attempting to pick up the pieces of a scattered puzzle and reconstruct life. Start with the edges and corners. The picture will appear later. 30,000 piece puzzles don’t come together all at once.

Big frigging deal! A lot happens to everyone. You know what you need to do? You need to stop putting yourself on a pedestal of suffrage and indignation. No one pities you. Stop pitying yourself.

You are the only one you can trust.

Was he just looking at you funny?… Divert eye contact. Don’t provoke. Keep your head low. Hands in pockets. Why is that police officer turning around? You didn’t do anything wrong. Holy shit, another email, another text, another voicemail. Who needs what now? What juicy gossip will I hear this time? Why is it, when I need help from others, the others always ask help from me instead? Why is everyone so self centered? I don’t recognize this number, not answering. Lock the car, check out the property, sift through the mail, sweat and cringe at all the bad news, lock all the doors, draw each curtain and close each blind, double check the interior, double check the oven burners after dinner, peek out the windows one more time, unplug everything unused, and now you can settle into the night life.

What has two thumbs, and lived a period of time in smothering paranoia? This guy.

It was horrible. I was scared of my own shadow. I believed for a time the world was out to get me and I was destined for nothing but trouble, for the remainder of my days.

The question, during that time of life was (my unending struggle) am I justified in my distrust and momentary psychosis? I still don’t have an answer. The frame of mind was temporary and lasted only a few months and I had to deal and overcome it. A passing phase. An experience needed for personal growth. Of this, I am convinced.

My father once told me, “You’re the only one I know that can keep getting flushed down a toilet and always come back out of it.”

I suppose my resilience and tenacity says a lot about me. Having an ability to adapt to the unexpected.

A key factor in the realm of paranoia, is dealing with the unexpected no matter what form it takes. When living a paranoid lifestyle, anything unexpected is potential for madness.

Anything out of routine, or extraordinary.

Like an unannounced knock at the door at nine at night.

*****

All the lights in the house had been shut off earlier that evening. Only a table lamp illuminated a corner of the living room where the contents of my filing cabinet were sprawled out across the floor.

Shelby barked at the front door as though the devil himself was trying to enter. She frothed and coated the blinds covering the glass, with foam and drool, and jumped up on her back legs to see the visitor eye to eye.

I leaned against the wall, hidden in the shadows outside the beam of light, and waited for whoever it was to leave.

The dog will make the visitor disappear.

The knock echoed through the house a second time. At this moment, I was curious. Is it a family member? Maybe someone really is coming by to visit? Maybe it’s an emergency. Who’d come over this time of night? No one… that’s who. Creep through the hall and get to the bedroom window. See if you can get a look at the vehicle. OK… No lights are on.

I crept inside the darkness from room to room, tip toeing across the old wood and Shelby continued her onslaught against the door.

The desire to rid my Island of company took precedence. I did not enjoy surprises and unexpected visits. My world, my rules.

Come on… see who it is. It may be important. What’s the worst that can happen?

You might get stabbed.

I reached for the doorknob then realized I had to wipe sweat from my palms. This is a bad idea.

light-through-door

I snapped on the porch light, peeked through the blinds, and walking down the stairs away from the door-returning to the vehicle, was Nancy. The mysterious woman from work. In her hand she held a small cardboard box.

I cracked open the door and said, “Hi.”

She stopped on the stairs and turned slow to apologize. Her eyes opened wide, “I’m so sorry if I woke you! I don’t want to impose. I saw the car and…”

“No. No. It’s fine.” I had to force the dog back with my knee to get beyond the door, and join her on the porch. Shelby continued her angry rant inside the home, thinking the stranger was about to hurt me.

Nancy set the box down on the railing, “I was going to text and see if you were up for company… but my phone died at work. I was passing through and thought I’d stop in.”

I had to think about it for a moment, before I spoke. Do I really want company?

Sure, why not. She seems cool.

“Come on in.” I waved her towards the house, “Don’t mind the dog. Her bark’s worse than her bite. She’s a big baby. Just let her walk around you.”

“I like dogs.”

“Yeah, she’s been awesome the last couple of months.”

“Do you like cake? Sarah’s mom boxed me up a big slice and there’s enough for two. You want some? It’s amazing.”

I stopped in my tracks and glanced over my shoulder, “Like a little slice of Heaven, right?”

When Nancy crossed the threshold into my home, and magically entered my universe, everything I knew, everything I understood, thought, felt and believed, changed forever.

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