|If you are an empath – |
– and if, for this reason, you often find yourself building walls –
– even at the risk of appearing harder, colder and more unfeeling than you actually are –
– to protect yourself from a world that might otherwise break you with its pain –
– then it’s the WORST IDEA IN THE WORLD to spend all afternoon steeping yourself in Netflix’s “Witches: A Century of Murder” and then go on to do a gram and a half of mushrooms.
I repeat, IT’S THE WORST IDEA IN THE WORLD.
The evening began innocently enough. It had been a rough night at the club. I was the plumpest, juiciest peach in an orchard where clients only wanted apples.
There was a light at the end of the tunnel, however. I had plans to meet up with my friend Kit after work to check out his new place. With every condescending rejection that hit my pocketbook that evening, I looked forward to it more and more.
When I arrived around 4 am, Kit met me in the parking lot of his apartment complex wearing a short, red silk kimono, a green face mask and nothing else. There was no parking to be found, so Kit found some grass with a large rock in the middle and suggested I park there.
His muscular legs bulged as he strained to roll the rock away for me, and I couldn’t help but giggle at the sight. If some Japanese emperor ever assembled a Tiny Kimono Army, Kit would have been its sexiest soldier.
Waiting for me inside Kit had prepared hot soup, margaritas and a warm bath. I felt the weight of a thousand burdens roll off when I stepped into his warm apartment. Goddamn, it’s so nice – and so rare – to feel so welcomed and well-cared for by another human being.
After a tour of his loft apartment, which was amazing, Kit wrapped me in a bunch of fur vests and offered me shrooms. Like, a lot of them. WAY more than I normally take. I said yes WAY more enthusiastically than I should have.
He cut them up and sprinkled them in my bowl of soup, and it wasn’t long before we were floating among rainbow clouds, spiraling out into the galaxies, gazing awestruck at the air as it shimmered and moved and flowed like a river, climbing mountains into the heavens and talking to God in a spectacular cathedral of fractalized light.
Kit was the perfect playmate, happily showing me all his toys, telling me about his magical childhood, fetching water and more blankets, his blue eyes crinkling, his dimples deepening with every boyish grin, his infectious laughter tinkling like a wind chime on a breezy day.
Everything was funny. Everything was beautiful. All was perfect bliss for hours.
I don’t know what went wrong. I don’t know what caused me to wildly, suddenly plunge into the darkness. Perhaps the higher you fly, the further you fall.
And fall I did, hard and fast. All of a sudden, bewilderingly, I found myself reliving the documentary I had seen that day, except I found myself reliving it as one of the accused, one of the alleged witches tortured exquisitely and relentlessly without rest until it was my turn to scream in agony at the stake.
When you’re an empath and you put up walls to protect yourself, mushrooms tear down those walls. And what rushes in from behind those walls is a waking nightmare. It’s real. You are living it. My brain became a prison, lashing me with pain and fear I couldn’t escape from. I was there for what felt like hours. Shamed. Tortured. Starved. Beaten. Burned.
I WANTED TO DIE.
I feel so badly for Kit. If he never wants to see me again, I wouldn’t blame him. He tried until he exhausted himself to snap me out of it. There was no snapping me out of it. He had a bona fide tripping girl freaking the fuck out in his apartment, and there was nothing he could do about it.
HATS OFF TO KIT FOR PUTTING UP WITH ME, YOU GUYS.
Relief only came when I called a friend I thought could help. At 8:30 am on a Sunday morning, when even the most pious church-goer would rather stab a fork in their eyes than be awake at that hour. That friend was able to talk me off the ledge, and thank bejesus that he answered, or I don’t know what poor Kit would have done. I hung up the phone, finally quiet.
“Look, the sun’s coming up,” Kit said, pointing to the wall of windows that lined the ceiling in his loft. It was the first sunshine I’d seen in weeks, and the soft light shining into the room brought relief in more ways than one. We finally slept.
Despite the horrors of the night, I awoke feeling refreshed. Relieved that my ordeal was over. And embarrassed. Very, very embarrassed. Like, seriously, I should really learn to handle my shit better.
But also, I felt energized. More calm and at peace, with a greater sense of purpose and well-being than I’ve felt in a long time.
I made it to band rehearsal on time. It went great, and I loved it. I went home and gave my daughter a big hug. I bought groceries, cleaned the kitchen and made a big pot of brisket, carrots and sweet potatoes, the kind with butter and ranch seasoning and au jus sauce that’s so good you wanna slap your fanny.
I haven’t actually cooked dinner for myself and the kiddo in a really long time. It’s a big accomplishment considering how much I’m working these days. I mostly just eat at the club when business is slow, and she eats at the movie theater where she works whenever she has a minute to spare.
I’m not an ordinary woman living in the 1500s, accused of witchcraft, doomed to experience pain and fear for the rest of my short, brutal existence.
When you look at things from this perspective, life is always good in comparison.
My apartment is clean and warm, the band has a bunch of gigs now, I’ll make more money at the club tomorrow, I have awesome friends, my daughter is a liberal, I’m happy, healthy and surviving.
And I’ll probably do shrooms again before too long. Heaven help you if you’re around me when I do 😀