Veils and moonlight, ghosts and glamours, illusions and sleights of hand. Resonance and dissonance.
Imagine you are dreaming, and in the dream you keep walking up to the same door, ringing the same bell, only no one answers. Trick or treat you yell. You can see the warm lights, there are pumpkins aglow on the steps, witches and ghosts populate the front lawn. You can see shadows within, sense movement. You know this is the house that gives out the big candy bars. You have dressed in your best costume, planned it for weeks. You can feel the oohs and ahhhs, the delight in their faces as they gasp and laugh. But the door is not opening. You look around. You don’t know what you’re looking for, just something to explain why the door is not opening. You look for implausible answers. The number on the walk has not changed, they have lived here for years. You know them. You look down the block at the other houses, as if to confirm that it is in fact Halloween. You stretch your neck to try to see in the window. You expect that at any moment the door will fly ajar with some easy answer, some happy relief, the welcome you have been waiting for, dots will connect, all will be well. But none comes. You consider a tragedy, but the warm lights and the smiling Jack o’ lanterns tell you otherwise. The front door remains closed, but a door opens within your young mind, into the far reaching underworld of all the complex surreptitious reasons why THEY aren’t opening their door to YOU.
And that friend is how you came to believe that the one who dropped you like a hot potato was actually working for CSIS, which explained the weird phone number your hair dresser’s PI BF looked up for you and traced to a sting operation, and it explains why the ghosting only to come back as your secret admirer from another number, and it explains the look you saw in their eyes, the night of riveting conversation, the way they devoured you with wonder and fascination. The perfect chemistry when your hands touched for the first time and the music played and you danced and then walked under the moonlight and then had that dreamy kiss and felt all the things and made each other laugh, and yet the disappearance of their witty banter from your phone — the pumpkins glowing and your whole world waiting for this magic, and the door won’t fucking open. It can’t make sense, because you aren’t STUPID. You’re not intellectually stupid. And you’re not emotionally stupid either. You weren’t making it up. You want to believe that you were making it up, because that would be easier. If you were stupid, well you can change you! You can GET SMART. You can control stupidity. If you were naive you can get savvy, you can control for naive. If you were too open, you control for open by erecting a god forsaken wall.
But you can’t fix a problem you don’t understand.
And here is the oh so shitty ghoulish mind bender. If THEY would just open the door and tell you Go to hell kid, we don’t like you. Or we think you’re annoying, or we found a better kid with a better costume well we would feel a stab in the gut, and we would cry. And then we would pick ourselves up and wipe off the fake blood and move on to the next house. We have handled so many THINGS like a badass boss THIS is really not nearly as hard as any of those. Except that we don’t know we’ve been shut out because there is no sign of it. No context. No lead up. No dots to connect. Zero dots. Zero.
And so we are left haunting the empty doorstep, searching in crazy implausible places for an answer, a key, a way to open the door that holds all of the warmth and goodness our heart deeply desires, and that is just a small easy answer away.
Cognitive dissonance. All of the cues are telling us magic and candy live here. And yet the closed door tells us they don’t but we can’t appreciate understand or make sense of the closed door, because of ALL THE OTHER CUES. Because 1. They tell us something different 2. They came first 3. We want and need them.
The one that got away, got a way for a reason. Okay sometimes circumstances are a bitch. But I am not talking about meddling parents, or literal actual crossed wires. I am talking about the fixation that happens, the inability to grieve and move on, when we can’t make sense of a rejection because we aren’t given all of the information and that has caused us to see something that isn’t there and to not see something that is.
Here is the zinger. If someone didn’t choose us, they simply and hands down were not the perfect person, or relationship for us. OR THEY WOULD HAVE CHOSEN US. The not choosing IS the rest of the picture. It IS the giant red flag, the creepy music in the background that the audience can hear while we stupidly check the basement to rule out some kind of intruder or creepy monster. DUH!!!!
The not choosing can be translated into this “You are seeing a FAÇADE of the house and the illusion of warmth while you are starving in the woods, but there is a witch inside!” Now, I am not trying to vilify your ex, your ‘one who got away’. Sometimes they are showing you a warm house in quite an innocent way. They are trying to be polite or kind. Or maybe they really want the warm house too, but they are scared of it. Sometimes they too are trying to pretend there is no witch in the basement.
Sometimes the door that won’t open anymore is because they have another relationship in another town and they have deceived themselves into enjoying the warmth of a house that can never belong to them.
Sometimes the door won’t open anymore because they’re costume shopping in the back, and while you have the coolest fake blood on the block, someone else has a very cool severed arm.
Sometimes the door won’t open because they need something from you, but it’s way too scary for them to ask, or to talk about their feelings and easier to just blame it on your costume. Like you should have got the purple one. Purple is super important to them. And even if you love purple too and would have been happy to wear it, you never got that chance.
Sometimes the door won’t open because they feel ashamed of their own costume.
The bottom line here, and the answer to your dissonance, the end of the dream and how to reclaim that lost fragment of your soul that haunts an imaginary doorstep is to stop focusing on the warm house and skipping back to the warm house, and to focus instead on the closed door. Because that is the answer. That is where the most important information lies.
They showed you something you were wanting and needing, but then they showed you the rest of it. The warm house is the fragment, the illusion, the advertisement, the lure but it’s not the whole picture.
The closed door says “I can’t sustain this. This isn’t true for me. I am not seeing what I am showing. Or I am not showing what I am seeing”.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY WAS NOT THE ONE. THE ANSWER IS IN THE ‘GETTING AWAY.’
There are zero dots to connect, but there is one giant hole.
And we need to hear this.
Today, let me be the closure for you.
You are in love with my front step, but my foundation is cracked. Or belongs to someone else. Or was never there in the first place, like those movie set facades. The house is a hole, not a whole.
Let me have the talk and say, you deserve that warm room. You deserve that welcome invitation. The magic is all yours, baby. You have the best costume on the block. The real deal.
So stop knocking on the carnival mirror. This one is the trick in the trick or treat.
Your treat is around the corner. But you can’t get there standing here, scaring the neighbours because it’s July now and you’re hiding in the bushes in your mummy costume crying.
In this plot twist it turns out YOU are the one who got away. By the Grace of the Gods and the skin of your plastic vampire teeth.
— Love Erin
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