Thursday, February 25, 2010

When you think in pictures - some images never leave you

Tonight in class my professor mentioned he felt there might be a disturbance in the force. He felt that way on Tuesday but tonight he really noticed that I was down. He is right. This week has been rough.

On Monday night I was having a conversation with a friend about being a worthy priesthood holder and how me not being one was a unattractive quality of me. Her comments triggered my mind to remember why I am I am an unworthy priesthood holder.

My mind almost always goes to a day in August, during my 13th year. I woke in the morning to find my mother on the floor in the kitchen, a pool of blood soaking into her clothes and mixing with a scattering of vomit. Because I have and always will be a photographer, my mind has in it an abundant still shots from that morning. During weeks like this, my mind puts those slides into a Kodak Carousel and the images get projected before my eyes. I see each aspect of the scene like it was happening before me. My mind spares no detail.
Later that day I would read a letter that was written just for me, a letter that proclaimed love and released me from blame. I still remember parts of that letter and parts of the other two that I would read in the next six years of my life. Even later that day, a man would come to our house with a sheriff and inform us that it was no longer our house. A few weeks later my family would move to a new house - the house I would live in until I moved to Idaho - and life would never be the same again.
However, the letter, the man and the new home have little bearing on my life on weeks like this. When I am reminded of my lack of worthy priesthood power, I am reminded of that warm August morning and the blood and the vomit and my mother lying on the kitchen floor, wrists with fresh wounds that would forever be a scar and a constant reminder of that day.

I have found very few ways to escape those images. They follow me in my sleep, the quiet moments of my day and in drive time when the background noise of the radio becomes a low hum. Even as I type this, I break for a moment, close my eyes and there in my mind are contrasting colors of deep dark red blood clashing on the white floor and mixing with the half digested Tylenol tablets. My mind is always open and willing to flip on the projector one more time for a private screening.

My only escape for several years has been an activity that uses endorphins to dim the light on the projector. This activity is considered a sin in the Mormon church and therefore is the reason I am an unworthy priesthood holder. I have tried life without it, only to find myself seeking out more self destructive activities with more lasting results. Without this activity, I slip into a state of undenialble depression. One friend once told me I was too smart for suicide, but on the months where I try hard to not do this unpriesthood like activity, my mind reaches for solutions like that (though not nearly as drastic) to ease the pain and reduce the constant replay of the slide show.

My constant companion is a day in August nearly two decades ago. When dear friends point out that my unworthy state is unattractive, I am reminded in greater detail of that day and am reminded that that one unattractive quality is more attractive than the alternative of brightly beaming the images of my childhood and a day in august when I was 13. I would rather be happy and slightly unworthy than in a constant state of detailed instant replay. At least as an unattractive priesthood holder, most people don't see sorrow in my face and sense a disturbance in my force.

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