When humans work, they frequently become unaware of their own body, their own senses, are surprised to find that their wrists ache or their backs are sore or their friend has left the building. It's as close to an out-of-body experience as can be achieved short of fifty volts, a circle of warding, a pigeon's claw cut from an albino female of purest white feathers, or a lot of mushrooms.
When sleep came, I would dream bad dreams. Not the baby and the big man with a cigarette-lighter dream. Another dream. The castle dream. A little girl of about six who looks -like me, but isn’t me, is happy as she steps out of the car with her daddy. They enter the castle and go down the steps to the dungeon where people move like shadows in the glow of burning candles. There are carpets and funny pictures on the walls. Some of the people wear hoods and robes. Sometimes they chant in droning voices that make the little girl afraid. There are other children, some of them without any clothes on. There is an altar like the altar in nearby St Mildred’s Church. The children take turns lying on that altar so the people, mostly men, but a few women, can kiss and lick their private parts. The daddy holds the hand of the little girl tightly. She looks up at him and he smiles. The little girl likes going out with her daddy. I did want to tell Dr Purvis these dreams but I didn’t want her to think I was crazy, and so kept them to myself. The psychiatrist was wiser than I appreciated at the time; sixteen-year-olds imagine they are cleverer than they really are. Dr Purvis knew I had suffered psychological damage as a child, that’s why she kept making a fresh appointment week after week. But I was unable to give her the tools and clues to find out exactly what had happened.
There I was out in the barn playing midwife to a pregnant mare. I remember sitting there, spinning yarn in the light of a little oil lamp, a city girl who knew nothing about farming, sitting on the deel beside that mother in pain, already beginning the birthing process. All around me there was darkness and perfect silence, except for the mother's pain. It was as if the war didn't exist in those hours.
Send these images of me through the internet out into the universe, where I will continue my out-of-body existence.
The feeling was less like chemical intoxication than being drunk on life. Spinning round and round, he experienced absolute bliss— unadulterated and unconfined—in which he transcended his own personality and became one with everything he perceived.
Dissociation gets you through a brutal experience, letting your basic survival skills operate unimpeded…Your ability to survive is enhanced as the ability to feel is diminished…All feeling are blocked; you ‘go away.’ You are disconnected from the act, the perpetrator & yourself…Viewing the scene from up above or some other out-of-body perspective is common among sexual abuse survivors.
Little known fact: When you get really scared and too many scary things happen at once, you can leave your body. I don’t know if it’s your soul or your consciousness or what, but you can literally float up in the air over your body and watch what it’s doing.
During this hour in the waking streets I felt at ease, at peace; my body, which I despised, operated like a machine. I was spaced out, the catchphrase my friends at school used to describe their first experiments with marijuana and booze. This buzzword perfectly described a picture in my mind of me, Alice, hovering just below the ceiling like a balloon and looking down at my own small bed where a big man lay heavily on a little girl I couldn’t quite see or recognize. It wasn’t me. I was spaced out on the ceiling. I had that same spacey feeling when I cooked for my father, which I still did, though less often. I made omelettes, of course. I cracked a couple of eggs into a bowl, and as I reached for the butter dish, I always had an odd sensation in my hands and arms. My fingers prickled; it didn’t feel like me but someone else cutting off a great chunk of greasy butter and putting it into the pan. I’d add a large amount of salt — I knew what it did to your blood pressure, and I mumbled curses as I whisked the brew. When I poured the slop into the hot butter and shuffled the frying pan over the burner, it didn’t look like my hand holding the frying-pan handle and I am sure it was someone else’s eyes that watched the eggs bubble and brown. As I dropped two slices of wholemeal bread in the toaster, I would observe myself as if from across the room and, with tingling hands gripping the spatula, folded the omelette so it looked like an apple envelope. My alien hands would flip the omelette on to a plate and I’d spread the remainder of the butter on the toast when the two slices of bread leapt from the toaster. ‘Delicious,’ he’d say, commenting on the food before even trying it.