Robin Peace and Charisse Cecil

Charisse Cecil
Inspiration piece

By Robin Peace


“The eyes are the windows to the soul.”
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
“An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.”

I am sure everyone has heard these quotes and so much more that featured the eyes.  But what happens when you look into someone’s eyes and you can’t trust them because of what you are hearing?  Welcome to my world.  I am Genie and I suffer from schizoaffective disorder.

My day starts normally, if talking to yourself and answering yourself is normal.  I have to talk to myself because my thoughts are running a mile minute in my head.  They need a release.  Talking aloud slows them down and makes them real.  So if I come up with an idea for a story or if I think if a poem, I have time to think and write it down.

Then I go to work, where I wear a headset all day for my sanity.  I hear voices.  I take people’s conversations or sounds (if I am alone) and turn them into conversations about myself in my coworkers’ or boss’ and if I am at home, my neighbors’, voices.  None of what is said is good – like she is going to kill herself, she is listening to our conversations, everyone knows she falls asleep, and stuff like that.  To keep my sanity I stay plugged in because I don’t know when I am hearing them talk about me – really or when it’s all in my imagination and I long lost the patience to try to sort through all the noise to figure it out.  The headset is like me talking aloud.  It calms the beast inside.

But the looks are what I can’t control.  Or rather, the looks I imagine people are giving me.  The headset blocks most of the noise, but not all.  Some still get through and those that do have eyes attached to them.  I can feel them crawling up my spine as I walk by.  They talk about my hair, my clothes, and my weight.  I feel stripped naked and laid bare.  I don’t know what I want to lose more, my hearing or my sight.

Sometimes at work, I think they are testing me to see what I can really hear.  They don’t know about my illness.  I never said I couldn’t hear anything.  I need to be able to hear announcements and the fire alarm.  My problem is I don’t know if the conversations I am hearing are real or my sickness!  I would love to scream that I am schizoaffective aloud and be done with it.  But with the exception of a few friends at work who would empathize with me, the rest would just behave the same way, therefore I wouldn’t gain the response I would hope for by the revelation.

After I leave the place I call hell and others call work, I come straight home for peace and quiet.  I still talk to myself when I get home but it’s a more angry discussion because I can’t leave the stress from work at work.  It also does not help that I think my Latino neighbors are watching me and talking about me.

As I walk to my apartment, I feel their eyes on me and I hear them talking in Spanish.  Then clearly I thought I heard them say,  “There’s the bag lady!”  I drop my head in shame.  But then I realize, if I have a ton of bags – that means – I have a job and I can afford to buy what I what.  I think with pride, call my ass a bag lady because I am not spending my days looking out the window talking about people because I have nothing else to do with my pitiful life.

So now, I walk a little bit with more pride when I walk by Latino neighbors but being Christian I pray for them, and hope they find jobs, because I’ve been there and I know how it is when you aren’t getting a paycheck.

Ah, Christianity.  How I cursed God when I began to hear voices!  My mother thought I was possessed with a demon and I needed to be exorcised.  My father thought I just needed a vacation.  My older sister was secretly bipolar and understood to some extent but she could not openly support me or else she would be under our parents’ microscope.  I was abandoned and alone in all this, because I was too vain to tell my friends how bad off I was.

I also had the worse luck with doctors.  Every time I got on a good medication regime, something would happen, I would change doctors, and then my new doctor would change my prescriptions.  For what reason I never understood why and they also never told me the side affects to these medications.  I was so young and stupid; I trusted that these doctors would not give me anything that would harm me.  For example – why would you give an already obese woman who wants to lose weight a drug known to cause people to gain weight and not check in to make sure she is not experiencing any side effects from the medication?  I gained 100#s in one year, due to being on two medications; not realizing both increased one’s appetite.  True I should have read the medication pamphlet the pharmacist gave you but when I first was diagnosed, I didn’t know my ass from a cardboard box!  I was taking pills praying for the voices to stop and the eyes to stop following me.

But now, the voices and I have an uneasy truce.  I respect the voices and their power and they respect me and my power to shut them up, permanently.  Of course, the voices know I’m too chicken shit and too religious prone to use it and I am afraid of the eyes.  How can I be sure that someone won’t see me and call the police to stop my bid for freedom?

So every night after dinner I sit, half glass of antifreeze in one hand and a half glass of chocolate milk in another.  I figure if I am going to die, I’m going to drink my favorite comfort libation mixed with the poison of the hour.  My suicide note was written a year ago.  I tinker with it every night, making sure it says exactly what I want it to say.  Perhaps tonight will be the night I will make the voices and eyes disappear.

But then, I always have to go tinkle.  I end up looking at myself in the vanity mirror and burst into tears.  I am so vain.  I love myself too much to kill myself.  Does that make sense?  God said love the sinner, hate the sin.  I hate the voices and the eyes but somewhere deep inside, I love me.  Maybe that is why I still manage to get up each morning.  Because this is greater than myself and I just need to close my eyes and trust that the world is big enough to hold sick people like me and sane people like you, passively reading this analysis of me.
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