Suddenly he is high-powered sprinting toward me from down the long white corridor, a slim giant of a man with a beautiful bald dark shining head, huge wide black eyes, long arms and fingers extended in my direction, leaning out and over his own powerful churning legs.
I stand riveted - young pale Trista in a bright pure red blouse, midnight blue pants, bright red shoes, and long black hair trailing down my back. The door is locked behind me and my key card will not allow me to quickly exit. Beside me is my charge, a scared-out-of-her-mind junior intern, looking to me for direction, hoarse-whispering my name with a questioning lilt. I feel responsible, I feel charged, I feel judged, I feel caught.
There is no record of this incident in my journal. Details were not carefully notated. Feelings were not processed, at least not on paper.
But it is emblazoned in my memory. I remember how it felt to literally have my back against the wall without an outlet for escape. How it felt to out-of-habit assess what I had done to trigger an attack, to quickly question what part of my femininity had threatened yet another man. How it felt to have to make a split-second decision to assure the safety of myself and others. How it felt to not know what to do, when there's no time to differentiate right from wrong. I remember how it felt to be in survival mode. How it felt to meet his eyes and not know our immediate and future fate.
I remember how it felt to watch strong orderlies in white rush out of side rooms and fling themselves on him from either side, holding him down and back. I remember the look in his eyes, full of fury and passion, when they dragged him away. I remember both the relief and shame I felt for having witnessed a takedown, how it felt to watch someone else in survival mode. How it felt to have Blame hang empty in the room without a resting place. How it felt to learn later that he was a famous poet struggling with a schizophrenic episode on a locked ward in the corner of a dirty city - a highly intelligent genius with broad sweeping vision, a man who is loving, creative, kind, beautiful.
I'm thinking a lot about misperceptions. How important it is to not jump to conclusions. To question everything. To suss out the truth.
I'm thinking a lot about how much we don't know about each other. How much we think we do, because for generations and generations and generations, people we've never known, over vast swaths of space and time, have unwillingly passed down to us their own fears, traumas, biases, and unexplored "truths".
It's time for a reckoning, say the Gypsy and the Poet.
Are you ready?
Trista Hill is a professional harpist and fine artist, creativity coach, educator in the arts, and Board-Certified Music Therapist. What her formal degrees in music and art gave her pale in comparsion to the gifts she's experienced in working with creatives just like you. Visit her website — tristahill.com — for links to her monthly letter, blog, listening library & compositions, performances, and offerings to further you along your own glorious creative journey.