stories for the soul


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Voices in the Basement (Act 2)

June 11, 2020
woman at the top of the stairs in a dark environment

It was like a horror movie. On act 1, we saw the young woman alone at her house at night, frightened due to some strange sounds and noises she couldn’t tell where they were coming from. She went room by room with a bat in her hands… her three-year old niece’s plastic baseball bat. She closed windows and moved around furniture to block some doors; she got one big scare, but it was just her cat …

“All clear; I’m safe,” she thought; she sat down on her sofa, put the TV on and watched the Real Housewives of New York, Season One. You gotta love Ramona…

That was Act 1; that was me during the past weeks frightened to succumb to the ghosts of my past during my grieving process. My bat was a birthday cake I had made for the first time for myself, and the daily call to my father and his wife “playing it cool”. That was me staying strong, “haging’ tough,” taking selfies (sinful selfies!) with my cats and making a home video of myself blowing three candles.

Does it sound sad? I was beyond happy and proud of having made it through; I was excited to feel the grieving had ended, celebrating the victory one of my greatest battles.

But on Sunday morning, I found out the screenplay had an Act 2:

She fell asleep on the couch and, in the morning, she heard an even stranger noise coming from the basement. “Did I lock it?” she thought. She got up and started walking towards it… and we yelled, “Not the freaking basement, you stupid bitch! That’s rule number one on surviving a horror movie!”

The basement door never worked well… She always keeps it locked with an old worn rope…

She got to the door, stood in front of it and a cold chilling breeze froze her; she opened it stealthily and saw a little girl at the bottom of the stairs, sitting on the floor holding her knees and covering her ears with her hands. She whispered to the girl “hey, hey, look at me; come here,” as the air was getting colder and voices from downstairs began to sound louder.

The little girl looked up, and our lead lady could read her tiny lips whispering “don’t come down,” but she did… And the voices took shapes and faces, and said:

“Do you remember all those times everybody said how much you looked like your father? It was a lie; every single loved one you had, lied to you; 

Do you remember the first time you went into surgery and they asked you if someone in your family had diabetes? You said yes; you were about to go under total anesthesia for the first time and your mother said to the doctor “no, she doesn’t have relatives with diabetes.” And you said “but Claudia!? Claudia has it!” and your mother said to the doctor “It doesn’t matter” and took him to the hallway. Did she tell him “be careful, we know nothing about her DNA?” She didn’t.

Do you remember the story they told you about the day you were born, and how your father called your godmother and they all went to the private practice of Dr. Fox, and unicorns pooped sunflowers? How stupid were you to believe that lie? Your father was in the army; he should have taken your mother to a nice hospital with his great health insurance so the queen could have had a cute room with a pretty view.

Dr. Fox… She was nothing but another criminal forging a birth certificate. “When was she born?” she asked, and your mother said, “we don’t know; just write down June 6; it’s the day we got her.” You were nothing but a doll to her.

Do you remember when you asked for help because you were being sexual harassed; verbally abused; and your mother said “shush”? Do you remember when you started taking medication for depression, stress, panic attacks and you were cool with it but your mother said “Shush; They will think you’re crazy.”

Do you remember when she told you – over and over again – that you needed to lose just one-more-couple of pounds; “a little bit right here” she used to say pointing the side of your belly, “and you’ll be perfect.”

Look at those pictures you keep in that box; look at all those diplomas you’ve gotten; they have people that are no longer yours; they have a name that’s no longer yours; you are vanished. And New York, is vanishing too.”

The little girl said “I told you not to come down,” and our lead lady replied to her, “Oh well…” and wrote this post.

I won’t bullshit you; and today I simply wanted to be very clear on this; I may come up like one of those positive cheerful people who are… so annoying! And I am not. I stay strong as much as I can; but when I have to make a huge effort to not succumb to painful feelings, the stress still builds up inside of me and then I feel I was hit by a truck. 

In ADHD brains like mine, emotions feel at a physical level, and the stress is like having ran a marathon without training nor someone who can advise you which freaking green juice you could take afterwards to feel better.

But, ADHD or not, this may happen to you too; you may also have ghosts in your basement which you know will never leave for good; ghosts that show up from time to time and turn into that monster some people call “depression”, whispering to you “we’ll get you.”

Therapy? It never worked for me… for many reasons; but above all, because there are things, there are aches, scars that will keep opening from time to time. For me, what matters is to acknowledge they are “scars”, a result, not something that’s hurting me now.

Anyway, I just wanted to say “hey, sorry I put my blog on hold again; something came up… so I hyperfocused and re developed my website.” The basement is closed until further notice, by the way.

Laly York. B.Ed. Lawyer. Writer / Researcher. ADHD advocate
Developer and author of the blogs "Neurodivergent", "NKOTB" and "Laly's."

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