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12. Ignorance

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My name is Darius Alyson Riddle, I’m in the “best years” of my life and I’ve been certified as insane. According to people who should know better, I’m “unhinged”. I think that I’m perfectly fine, decide for yourself.

They allow me to write as much as I please, as a substitute for my photography – result of the temporary insanity. As my best outlet of expression, I wrote constantly. The doctors read it and saw only gibberish. I didn’t look at the words after I’d written them. But Raine, by dear friend and companion of soul, he understood. The lesson present in my rambling is obvious to him, but that’s only because he knows better. I got him to let me read the story. I thought he was working on a work of fiction, but no, he wrote the harsh truth of our ventures. Honesty is a great attribute to possess; he was humble about it as well.

There were a lot of great things about Raine’s character that he neglects to mention when discussing the gang. This he does on purpose because on most occasions, he considers himself a secondary citizen. Granted, there are moments where he’s as stubborn as a jackass and refuses to be moved from where he’s set himself, but as we all get older, he’s more accepting, less foolish. For some reason though he was far from typical. There were times where he’d sink into depression for no reason, but be happy moments later. And he cared, above all things – he was compassionate. That’s a trait rarely seen anymore in the world we’re in, hence why I loved him.

What scared the doctors about me was how I wrote and what I wrote about. I hate happy endings and superficial people, so I excluded them from stories as much as possible. But said fiction is necessary to create the surrealistic universe of denial within which the majority flourishes. Denial is a huge part of society; it’s a waste of time. I write whatever comes to mind, and I don’t follow their rules. There are so many typical and unnecessary restrictions to writing, most of which are only meant to ruin potential and destroy unique creativity. Such is life.

To explain my methods as plainly as possible. First of all, I’m crazy. Because of this, I have a much easier time escaping reality. When I write, I don’t think; I don’t plan ahead, don’t scribble down ideas at random or lay a solid foundation on purpose. Whatever is in my mind at that moment gets put to paper exactly as it was considered. Some of the ideas are condensed; explaining every detail would take a lifetime, maybe two. To understand my methods would require a general understanding of me, which is an undertaking within itself. The doctors couldn’t grasp that it was just that simple; their psychoanalysis terms were wasted on me. But that’s just how things were. I was far from ordinary, and I loved it. They feared the unfamiliar, so they fought as best they could – with analysis. In reality, they were clueless and they feared their own ignorance as well. So I performed the part, making the necessary changes here and there. In the end, it suited me just fine.

The “asylum” was scarier than the real world because it was a world of denial. To go through short periods of denial is all right but to live in such a falsehood consistently is dangerous. More than dangerous; denial can destroy your mind – everything you are. I watched those around me bend under its’ steel grip. Such was the new existence that I was now a part of. I learned to cope as myself. I had to, there were no other ways to deal; there were other ways though. But those other routes I refused to travel because they were ridiculous. I wouldn’t let them grind me down to a mere shell of humanity.

This world was white – our dark reflections gleaming back at us. The white walls alone drove most of us mad, but the doctors didn’t catch on. Like I said, ignorant. The truth was obvious, it was right there! The atmosphere was meant to calm troubled minds, but all it did was intensify the paranoia. I sat and thought about it one day to understand it, to find the trick in the puzzle. Blank – that’s it. The reason why it’s all white is because white is blank; it symbolizes the blank page, an empty canvas. Pure white meant to stimulate our minds as to what to do once we were away from the white. We were meant to appreciate color and think uniformly with them. That was part of it too.

Conformity. That’s the reason that most of us are here. Only about a quarter of the people are legally, legitimately insane. Another quarter is just here for drugs and attention. And the remaining half? People like me, artists; innovative and unique. We were here because we refused to conform. We refused to bend that tiny bit, so the State took action as best as they knew how. I hate conformity more than I hate denial. Such is life.

In the concerns of greatness of heart and greatness of mind, insanity is merely a stepping stone between the two; in a society such as ours, it has found its’ proper place. The hardest truth to accept is that insanity is acceptable as denial is denied admittance to the typical society where truth fuels all. But in a world of delusion, where you can trust only what’s in your heart, for all else is deception; it is here that the question of intelligence and insanity are posed. To think without ground to stand on, to speak irrational thoughts, to cease to be logical – are these such terrible crimes? They’re merely the anatomy of an innovative and creative person, otherwise labeled as “crazy”.

They think I’m off the deep end – far from it. Like I said, they couldn’t understand. So I wrote, constantly. The walls of my room were covered with words and drawings. They tried to paint over them but I’d just keep doing it. I stayed up for days on end at some points, just writing. They thought I was crazy – in reality, I’d just run out of paper. Everything on the walls was memorized so that I could replace it. If I behaved, they’d take pictures of it for me before it was painted over.

Back to my ramblings about insanity in general. I want to set that idea’s foundation before talking about my personal self. The main idea is this: our society condemns what they do not understand. Some are ridiculed because of an appreciation of minute details that most of us consider insignificant. Some are delusional because theirs mind refuses to grasp a harsh truth, perhaps that thousands are being slaughtered each day in the name of peace and enduring freedom for all. Are these such terrible faults for mortals to possess in their character? Mortal, that is what we are. We have but one life to live, no more and no less. To make the best of it is our sole purpose, to achieve as many great things in the limited time we have is our goal. To be hindered by logic and reasoning is a waste of time, time that isn’t ours to waste. To deny what is real and what is right in pursuit of making the best of what we are given, is that such a scary idea? To some, yes, it is. Why? Because it’s not “normal”.

From all these ideas, what’s the bottom line, the main idea? Various things manipulate and influence us, and make us stray away from the previously traveled road. Yet, is such risk dangerous? Why does society shun those who take said risk everyday? Those who live in said lifestyle and prosper as individuals. We shun them and lower them in social rank because they are different. We create conflict and separate classes and dividing lines because of silly petty reasons. Because they are different. Different, meaning unique, meaning in touch with themselves; meaning artistic, meaning secure, meaning human. Bottom line? Insanity isn’t a disorder. It’s not an illness to us all, to some of us, most of us in my opinion, it’s a gift that we refuse to accept gratefully.

To deny what is in your heart to believe is a sin, to deny what’s in your mind is genius; in a changing world of pain and suffering, is it wiser to deny emotion and kill oneself entire, or deny logic and preserve one’s sanity at the risk of social isolation. Consider –

Thoughts like these ran through my mind like a freight train, repeating, appearing and disappearing at random. The walls were also used for when these random thoughts occurred, I would scribble them and add ideas and details later. One section was story ideas, plots, character names, ideas – things like that. I never used them. I wrote them so I’d remember that I’d already planned them. Like I said, I write without thinking, sometimes I do things without thinking as well. Raine came around with the gang usually, sometimes alone. I loved the days when he came, he’d bring me books or drawings or pieces of the story. I gave him pieces of mine so he could save them, mostly from myself. If there was no paper or wall space, I’d write over another used piece, making the ideas bleed together. Some of them I’d burn or throw out if I was in the mood, it all depends. The words were my comfort; they broke up the blank pattern. Repeating them to myself each night was my lullaby.

Sleep, that’s another topic within itself. I slept; sleep is good and all, but not much. I was able to function on little to no sleep and could control when and how much of it was necessary. I can’t explain that one, but it worked for me. Some things can’t be explained; most shouldn’t be. But that’s life. Beyond change, beyond comprehension. Rarely pure and never simple. That’s how my mind works, unfortunately for some, good for me though. Back to subject of sleep though. Sleep’s an important topic because there’s more to it than that. There’s dreams and nightmares, visions of joy or sorrow re-enacted in our subconscious. Sweet dreams and pleasant nightmares.

I say that my dreams were typical of my character is . . . honest. I couldn’t control my subconscious, for the most part. Most dreams were black, white, gray and red; there was a visible connection between the abstract and the real. They were usually in motion, unlike reality. That’s another topic, motion, or lack thereof. It isn’t really necessary you know. I realized this a while ago and adjusted myself because of it. Things like this aren’t as easy as one might think, it required years to train my mind to do things not natural to it. My dreams were usually tossing and turning, random yet insignificant: Each one had a purpose, an important and crucial purpose.

I’ve been rambling for a while now, maybe I should discuss the important facts. My days weren’t all boring. There was one day in particular that was important. One day that I’ll never forget. I was in my room, writing quietly, when screams echoed through the place; the walls shook and made the noise louder, vibrating around me. I got up and saw a boy being held, fighting free, held again. He was kicking and screaming, sending orderlies running. I watched as the containment crew came in and took him down. He was sedated and dragged away. As he passed where I stood, my mind raced; I knew the face. It was Cicero.

After being charged with his crimes, he must’ve been send here for counseling. The irony of it was hilarious, absolutely hilarious. A small chill crept through my spine as he and I locked eyes. He was the tiger caught by the paw, and he was furious. Poor boy. My heart was cold toward him; he’d destroyed my happiness. Yet, I couldn’t judge him, as much as I wanted to. Character flaw. I’d have to tell my dear Raine about this turn of events when next I’d see him. I went back to my room and continued writing.

I should explain more about Raine. I love him; he’s absolutely amazing in the tragic sense. I never believed in such foolish ideas as love or faith or hope; my childhood stole them from me long ago, assuming that I ever had a “childhood”. Anyways, he got me to lean back without looking; he got me to trust my heart over my mind. Never have I fallen without him there to catch me, if one of us suffers, we both do. Separation was tormenting us yet we’d survive because we had each other. That knowledge comforted my broken heart at night; that idea helped me sleep. He was my other half – he completes me. He’s all my art and inspiration – he’s my everything.

Although we were separate, I never stopped thinking about him. Love does that to you. To change topics before I make you sick. Cicero was put on a schedule that forced us together most of the day. He remembered me, and I him, so tension grew through silence. He calmed down and did as he was told, understanding that obedience was the only ticket to freedom. So the bastard jumped through the hoops, balanced the ball on his nose and played dead on command. And you know what? He got a cookie for it every time. When I slipped a red-light phrase, he’d smirk and laugh at me, offering smug advice then sauntering away before I could reply. He had that cockiness that made you want to kill him on the spot; just tear him apart limb from limb.

There was a day when we were cleaning something alone, in silence. He looked at me in a funny way – I ignored it at first. Then he quirked his brow and spoke in that typical cynical tone. “Ye know, I was positive that I’d caught ye in the chest,” he said plainly, smiling his sinister grin.

“What do you mean?”

He shrugged and pointed, “When I shot you, I thought it was fatal at the time. I’m very disappointed with myself.” His words cut into my flesh, burning the areas where I’d been shot, my blood boiling. I tried to shrug it off and ignore him.

“What a shame,” he muttered. I looked up and made eye contact. “If I’d been just a little more steady, I’d be slightly avenged,” his eyes leveled me out, “Slightly.”

“Careful, you may get another shot at vengeance, if it doesn’t take a shot at you first.” I got up and walked out without the slightest glance over my shoulder. I imagine he stayed there, confused and at a loss for words. I buried the event in my mind, locked away deep down, and loved alone.

Several such incidents occurred between him and I while we were locked up together. He truly thought he was God; he figured he could charm me into liking him, helping him gain power again. I was able to contain myself until he pushed too hard. Bored with mocking me, he started mocking Raine. I tolerated as much as I could stand before snapping. He didn’t see it coming when I decked him in the jaw and he hit the floor hard. I tried to walk away but no, he wouldn’t have it. So the battle raged on, it didn’t go far, we were torn apart shortly. He calmed down and lunged at me, kissing me hard as they dragged me away to be drugged up, whispering, “Thanks for the thrill, kid.” I found myself weightless, I tried desperately to avenge myself, but it was too late. My blood carried sedatives through my body and all I remember before darkness was Cicero, laughing, lurking over me.

I woke up in my room trying to decide whether or not it had been a horrible nightmare. The plain walls glowed in the darkness, letting their uniformity be known at all times. I decided to write for a bit, venting my frustrations on paper. I desperately needed Raine right now, to hold me, protect me from madness. Assuming that I truly am mad . . .

I stayed in my room for a while, keeping to myself. I avoided Cicero at all costs; my body ached from the scuffle. I wrote profusely to vent my frustration; there was nothing more that could be done. I saw Raine but decided not to talk about it, he’d only worry. I’ll tell him about it as soon as I get out of this Hell. I kept up the secret for weeks at a time. I wasn’t afraid of Raine hating me for not telling him the truth sooner. I was protecting him from himself; if he knew, he’d kill him. Flat out, cold-blooded murder. So I kept up the facade, and kept it well. But all things come to an end.

I sat across the table, staring at Raine as the words he spoke danced in my head. His voice was enchanting, it flowed freely and smooth, truly beautiful. Abruptly the music stopped, I came back to the world, watching his eyes narrow at me, then slightly past me. I didn’t have to turn around to know what was going on. The prince of pain lurked over my shoulder as the king of gloom stared through me. My skin crawled as I sat between the gods, waiting for anything.

Whatever happened next, I don’t remember; I recall Cicero’s voice and the usual smug remarks. I remember physical violence and the three of us being dragged away. Somewhere along the way I blacked out and the events bled together. I remember sleep and waking nightmares that kept me tossing through the night. I was confused for a while. They told me that Raine couldn’t come around anymore. No. I told them, no. I didn’t tell them, I screamed it at them at the top of my lungs. Still, they refused to bend. It took a suicide threat and some serious counseling to get him back. They took my writing away again because they think I’m unstable.

They couldn’t keep Cicero away, so the majority of my time there was more stressful than in the outside world. But the more I dealt with him, the better I got, I think. I locked things away and became cold, but not heartless. Raine and I had a long talk about Cicero. He was hurt that I hadn’t told him sooner, but he understood why; I was forgiven.

How I ended up here, I don’t know. Why they insist that I stay? No clue. Yet, here I am. I really just want to go home, walk out of here – let go. But I can’t, I’m here, can’t let go, need control of my life. The medical Gestapo put me on more meds to keep me sedated. I don’t get it; Cicero can get away with murder, yet they sedate me. Why? I slept more and dreamed less as my mind refused to function. They wanted me to be ordinary. If I were ordinary, I’d kill myself; I can’t stand people who are boring and uniform and proper. There’s only one life that we get to live, I won’t waste it being typical. I closed my eyes to rest, but my hand is still moving. Let me know what it says, I’m not here anymore. The darkness is my blanket, hiding me from the world, shielding me. Don’t come find me, I’m already gone.

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