Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Alien Abduction Terror: A Study in PTSD


Some of you have read about my horrific experience 22 years ago, wherein I shook hands with Death via a violent home invasion and rape. But it might interest you to know that the aftermath included something that seems unrelated but must truly be directly influenced by the trauma. In short, I spent a week hiding out at my grandmother’s house in Florida, sleeping in her guest bedroom where I had slept many times before. Only this time, I was visited with visions of grey aliens every night. I could not sleep for fear of waking up in the grip of several jabbering aliens with needles and restraints. If you think I’m exaggerating, I might, at this late date, be inclined to agree. But at the time, it was a dark obsession; every time the lights went out, I saw aliens. 

The disconnect might join up for you if you realize that my mother had given me her copy of Whitley Strieber’s Communion to read shortly before this. Mom was always into paranormal, magical and other weird stuff. She even had a tarot deck and a Ouija board. I don’t think she ever used the Ouija board though; it sits in my garage…somewhere. The infusion of a breathless, emotional account of Strieber’s abduction experiences wormed their way into my ravaged, stressed-out post-trauma brain and lodged in my dreams. As a result, I slept with abduction anxiety for a week or so. If I were more credulous, I would have affixed great significance to the fact that I heard my father’s voice in my head so loudly it caused me to roll violently out of bed, only to see him pulling out of the driveway early one morning during my stay at Grandma’s house. Surely, the sensitivity of the traumatized brain is amazing, or I experienced telepathy .

These and other experiences have led me to believe that humans indeed possess capabilities that might be deemed paranormal, but I would not go as far as calling them supernatural. By definition, anything that happens in the natural world is “natural.” Thus, I keep my mind open to the possibility of paranormal phenomena. But many times, the most obvious explanation is the right one. If you’re ever traumatized like I was, I don’t recommend reading Whitley Strieber books, ok?

Monday, June 11, 2012

You’re HOT, Birthday Girl! Love, Mom.

A pretty watercolor flowery image   
In a few minutes, I’ll be officially a year older than I was a few minutes ago. Happens every year, you know. This year I’ve racked up big number 47, and most of my family has tended to forget my birthday. I don’t particularly mind this, because it is a mixed blessing to turn 47, after all. But I think of the alternative and decide it’s overall a good thing. My mother remembered me, and she sent me a card in the mail. I opened it today, a pretty, decorative card with the Greeting Card Co. sentiment. So I read along, and it slowly gets just a slight bit weird, like maybe she’s lost her mind or closed her eyes and picked a card at random. This particular card begins:

“Ever since we became family,
I’ve been impressed by you.”

OK, I can see that. After all, I came out on the end of forceps looking like a miniature of Frankenstein’s monster. That’d impress anyone, really. The language is a little strange, as if I became family sometime after the Frankenstein delivery. But, to continue, it goes on:

“You know who you are
And you show it proudly.
You follow your dreams and work hard to make them
Come true…”

All this is under the nice, generic, “happy birthday daughter” rubric, so I’m hangin’ with that. After a stanza or two more of this, I turn the page to the greeting card punch line:

“You’re an incredible woman,
And I’m happy to have you in my life.
Happy Birthday
With Love.”

Now I feel like this is a card meant for a lover or a wife or something. Don’t get me wrong; I love my mother, and I’m happy to have her in my life, but I can’t picture the phrase, “You’re an incredible woman” coming out of her mouth. That’s something a lover says to his hot babe or something, or God forbid, something a very drunken suitor says at the bar when it’s nearing 2 a.m. and you’re the only possible pickup target left at last call. 

But hey, Mom sent a $30 check too, so I’m willing to go with the whole “incredible woman” thing. Maybe she’s trying to make me forget I’m middle-aged or something. Thanks, Mom! I love you too!