Normal is overrated, p.1
Normal is Overrated, p.1
Normal Is Overrated
Copyright 2016 Margo Roth Spiegelman
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Table of Contents
About Margo Roth Spiegelman
I would like to dedicate this short novel to my parents, without whom none of this would have been possible. I would also like to mention my best friend, Beti, who has always stuck with through thick and thin. Lastly, special thanks to my other dear friend, Romana, who has been a constant support in my life. Many thanks also to all of the wonderful people who have inspired me to write this novel who are too many to mention in this section.
I don't know exactly how to start this letter.
You see, well, my name is Robert and I've had three psychotic episodes so far...
Good news is: A. they've only been episodes and not proper clinically diagnosed disorders; and B. that I've had them before I turned 30 (which is when life hits you really, really hard in the face). Bad news is I had to put my life on pause twice: once in October 2012 for about a year ( for those of you who thought I failed 3rd year of University, dropped out or took a gap year, well the answer is NO; I was going through a lot and only I and my parents know how I felt to be locked away for 3 months in a psychiatric ward) and twice just before the 1st of December 2015, when having anticipated that I will be having another psychotic episode and thus having anticipated that I will need to be in a psychiatric hospital I was brave enough to willingly put myself into that horrific mental health institution.
Dear person, whoever you are, no matter where and whom you are with, if and when you read this - remember that there are others like you out there on this planet and they hear voices too and think they are someone they are not and some of those people choose to take drugs or choose not to take their drugs (which I personally think is complete madness!) and that is their choice and their choice only. But almost 99% of those people choose not to speak about the mania they have to deal with in their everyday life, the OCD or anxiety or depression they have or have been experiencing for a long time but I am part of that 1% left and I choose differently. I choose to speak and speak up and speak out louder. The world needs to know how it is to be on the other side of the fence.
Lastly, dear person the story I’m about to tell you is a story of boy who didn’t know who he was and what he was doing in life in general. A story about a boy who did not only overcome psychosis but is currently under treatment and trying to get along with his life. I hope you will not be shocked and in any way be put off from reading this story. My story.
Thank you for reading this, person I will never meet.
Allow yourself to be Happy,
PS: The above content is all true and matter-of-factly. Please do not mock it or stigmatize me as an individual.”
"We are only as much as our hearts let us be. Every time someone calls you fat or skinny, black or white, man or woman, just remember this: the only thing that should differentiate us is our hearts.”
I have vividly imagined how it would look like when I would die. I have always thought that by dying people would just let me be with my thoughts. I have always wanted to fly as well but mind you, none of them have turned quite as well as they have inside of my head. But now this is it I am dead. I have finally died. What a relief! I can hear my mother's tears in the background and my father's silence. What a funny way to describe silence. I can hear his silence. It reminds me of that time when we went fishing and I only managed to catch a mackerel. As if that would have been good enough for him. I was only 5 and he took me fishing. He took me fishing instead of buying me that Corvette mini car I had craved for. That Corvette I had craved for so much that I managed to learn by heart "If you forget me" by Bernard Shaw (one of my mother's favourite authors) and thought I would impress him and would determine him to buy me that toy car.
But in any case I don't want to derail too much from the topic.
So I'm dead. How beautiful is that? I can picture all my friends all gathered together by my coffin saying their last words, I can finally see Cecilia (or C.C as they now call her). Hey it's not envy when you’re honest about your feelings. I wonder how she always managed to get things her way. It’s probably because she's the head master's daughter I imagine. And that guy she is dating right now. Like who is that anyway? He's fugly and so not CC material.
See? I cannot even convince myself that I genuinely hate this girl! She is So Nice! How can she be so nice? And so real at the same time? She's just too good to be true! Or was too good to be true given that I'm dead so she’ll never know how jealous I've been on her! All that bullying I've been feeding her during P.E. class was initially just for fun but after that I was just doing it just to wind her up. I wonder if it ever got to her.
Oh God there she comes! She’s close to my face now. "I'll always love you Robert, even if you never knew. I'm sorry for everything. Accept this gift I'm leaving with you now. It's from our first date back when we were ten. It's the rose you gave me on our first date, remember?" She leaves a rose close to my hand, I can feel her face so close to mine and her sweet daffodils smell is completely intoxicating me! What did she mean? How the heck is she in love with me?? I've been bullying her since we got to secondary school and now I'm dead! Like What The Fuck???!!!
Oh yes I forgot to mention, Cecilia was my first girlfriend. More of a platonic relationship but still she was my first girl I ever shared a timid kiss with. And we just grew apart after that. She then got excited about us (when we were only ten!) and told her parents and her overprotective mother got even more suffocating and even more overprotective and completely manipulated her to leave boys in peace at the age of 10 and focus on school instead so that she can stick to their family's "vision board" and go to Harvard as planned.
So you can see now how happy I am that I am finally on the other side and acting dead and all.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention another thing, I'm not actually dead! It's all just a scam me and Hippy ( his name is George but we all call him Hippy) are pulling for me to be able to leave my parents' house. Heck! I'm even all pale and everything!
OH yes, let me tell you why I'm acting dead. Literally. Well because my parents have this stupid job with this stupid place, called the United Nations. Yup you heard that correctly. I'm a diplomat's son and my parents are now moving for the 5th time in my 25 years of life and I'm kinda’ sick of it! Not kinda’ but massively sick of it! And that's why George and I decided to pull a prank and make me look dead so I can properly decide what I want to do with my life. It wasn't even that hard. But you'll hear more about this later.
Now it's a time for a different story.
Oh and I forgot to mention: my name is actually Robert; Hippy is just my alter-ego. Oh and I forgot to mention I have dyslexia, ADHD and Bipolar. Go figure on the alter ego.
“Nothing is random. Nothing is set in stone. Random is set in stone. Nothing is random.”
That was the mantra she kept on repeating inside of her head. She had been driving for the past 20 minutes focusing only on the road ahead of her. It might sound as if she was going on a road trip but Cecilia was actually driving through her home city, a place with about 300.000 inhabitants. She kept on driving past the same streets and neighborhoods sparking the interest of people sitting out in the cafes and enjoying their cold drinks in the soft July sunshine. She had lost track of how many times she had passed the same cafes and could not care less if people were trying to notice. Cecilia had too much on her mind. For the first time in her life, which now and then when deep in thought she thought that by the time she was 23 she would have had deeper knowledge of life, she was sick about reminiscing about the past. She stopped her car in the first parking space she found located near a park. Even though there was an unbearable humid atmosphere in the air Cecilia could see dark clouds gathering over her beloved home city.
Cecilia got out of the car, a red Peugeot 206 which belonged to her mother, and went to find refuge from the torrential rain which was threatening to get her all wet. She found a big oak with branches high up in the sky and decided to sit down on the grass just near the tree’s roots. Cecilia lit one of her menthol cigarettes, which had become her favorites in the past few months. “I swear I won’t ever give up. I just like smoking too much”, she thought as the rain started to pour down. She took a deep breath from what started to become a cleaner and colder atmosphere. She loved the smell of rain and she could spend entire hours just watching it pour over the world. She could hear her phone vibrate in her trousers’ pocket. It was a call from her mum.
“Yea mum. What’s up?”
“Hello deary! I was just wondering where you were on this awful weather. Are you seeing someone or are you just by yourself? You know I hate you driving on this weather. Also your dad wants to tell you something dear. Hold on!”
“I’m just in a park mamma. I won’t be long and I am not 15 anymore you know. I’ll be home soon”,
“Cecilia, listen to me”,
“Oh God that’s great “. Her dad was now pulling his oh-so-grave headmaster’s voice,” you need to come back home now. The city is full of terrorists waiting to attack and a beautiful girl like you shouldn’t be in the rain smoking by herself.”
Jeez, her dad was miles away and he could still telepathically manage to figure out what Cecilia was doing and where she was.
“Jesus Dad, I’m not a child anymore and I can take care of myself!”, Cecilia said while hanging up visibly irritated by her parents’ something suffocating care. Not even after she had graduated from university did her parents understand that she was a young woman perfectly capable of taking care of herself. After about 2 minutes after that conversation she felt guilty of having hanged up like that on her father. Her cigarette was now about to finish and the rain was starting to pour through the oak’s big leaves.
Cecilia got up and started running towards her car. She quickly got in and turned on the radio. It was playing Taylor Swift’s song “22”. Too bad she wasn’t 22 anymore. And the famous quote popped into her head: “I remember the past, anticipate the future but I live in the present”. Too bad that she couldn’t apply the same thing to her. She had been living in the past, reminiscing about memories for the past 2 3 years. Even with the help of therapy she was still unable to just live the moment and not worry neither about tomorrow nor think about yesterday.
She started the car engine and drove off from the empty parking space looking towards an amber colored horizon that was forecasting a bad thunderstorm. Too bad she didn’t mind thunderstorms. She loved everything about thunderstorms and light bolts and that exquisite feeling of danger it brought with it.
"Great wine causes great trouble", that’s what Freya thought as she was sipping her white wine. Her house had never felt lonelier than now. Her parents were out of town, as per usual, and her best friend, Hippy was dead. Or better said – Robert was dead. Hippy was merely his alter ego and he refused to respond to any other name than that very one.
She couldn’t even bare to go to his funeral.
“I bet everyone thought I was a complete and utter disappointment as a friend for not having come to the funeral”, Freya thought as she continued to sip through her white wine.
“I wonder what Hippy would think of this…, if only had he been alive”
She heard a knock on the door went to quickly open the door and forgot that she was still holding the wine glass in her hands. She opened the door and there he was! Hippy was standing right in front of her covered in mud and rain. But that wasn’t all; Cecilia was standing right behind him looking her straight in the eye all drenched by the thunderstorm outside.
“ What?”, Freya asked as she couldn't believe her eyes, “ You’re alive? What - am I seeing things now as well?"
“Good as new, baby!”, Hippy said with a large smile that brought out those large black eyes Freya had longed to see again.
"I was never dead: It was all a scam to make my parents think I'm dead and Katchiing - it worked!"
Just as she thought everything was over with the funeral of her son, Laura had called. She wanted to present her deepest grief yet once again. As if Simone had not had enough of all her stupid sobbing. As if Robert had been Laura’s own son but Simone’s. The phone rang just as Simone was washing the last dishes she could get her hands on.
“Hello Sweetheart! How are you holding up? Look Sweetie I just wanted to send you all my deepest love and please know that you have a friend in me who will be there by your side unconditionally. Alright?”
“Hey Laura! Ok gotcha!”, Simone was in no mood to empathize with her tonight. Not after that dreadful ceremony she had to witness during which her own son, her own flesh and blood was being buried. She quickly invoked that she was feeling very down and hung up the phone. It must have taken Rachel by surprise but she didn’t care. After all, she had soon become the mother of a dead child. A child , a grown up child nevertheless, who not had killed himself but had been going through so much in his life with the dyslexia , ADHD and bipolar. Simone had her right to be acting the hell she wanted to. For once in her life she stopped caring about what other people thought – probably that’s why she hung up so suddenly and many could say, quite abruptly as well. She was even too tired to cry or think about crying. It was bizarre but on one hand she felt relief. She felt relieved of not having to live with the impression that all the mental health diseases that Robert had gone through were her own fault. Maybe she was a bad mother after all. She decided to shake that thought away by checking on her husband.
Roland was to be found in his office sat at the desk in front of his laptop. “He’s definitely checking up on stuff from work. Not even he wants to think that we are now left without any children.”
“How are you coping honey?”, Simone asked sweetly.
“Oh do get the hell out of my house you lousy excuse of a mother!” Roland growled.
“Oh my God!!!! Hippy! How is this possible?! How can you be alive??”
“ I stopped taking my medication Baby! And So I decided to play dead.”
“But how? “ said Freya as the glass of wine slips through her fingers and breaks with a bang on the floor. “And Cecilia too, she knew you weren’t dead?”
“Let’s get one thing straight, CC abruptly said, I had no involvement in this whatsoever. I was just visiting his grave and there he was. Robert, or Hippy whatever you prefer sitting there near his grave.”
“Well as they say….eventually soulmates meet for they have the same hiding place.”, said a lovingly looking Robert towards CC.
There were rarely any moments when Rachel felt like herself ever since she escaped the asylum she had been for half of her life. Not only did she discover that she had supernatural powers but she was also aware that no one else could know about it. She thought long and hard before she made that first phone call in the middle of the night. It was pouring with rain and she had nowhere to go. “Alas”, she thought, “maybe I could try and sneak in the house I once lived.”
The phone rang but no one from the other side picked up.
“Hippy , I must get through to Hippy and warn him”, Freya thought.” I must warn him that they’re after him. They'll always be after him.”
Ok so maybe things didn't work out as planned. I thought Freya, my best friend Freya, would be thrilled to see me alive but she looks as much of in a shock as CC did when she first came to see me at the cemetery. I wonder why they’re not as surprised and happy as I thought they would be. I can hear my phone vibrating in my pocket, ringtone set on vibrations mode , but I don't bother to check who's calling. It can't be someone important anyways. After all, everyone important in my life thinks I'm dead anyway right?
But then just like that a thought strikes me: I forgot to say goodbye to Rachel. And now you're probably wondering who Rachel is, right?
Rachel is someone I used to know. Someone I shared highs and lows whilst I was locked up in that horrible mental ward. Oh yes, I forgot to mention, I spent some three months locked away in Granger Hill Mental Hospital just down from the hospital my mom, Simone, worked as a neurosurgeon. Fancy profession you might think. Well it's not. It only makes you work extra hard and never allows you to see your kids. Hell, I cannot even remember seeing her much until I grew up to not care how much I would get to see her anyway. I grew up surrounded by nannies and no father figure was present either. That's because my dad was always working extra hard to keep his job at the UN. But in any case, let's get back to Rachel.
Normal is Overrated by Margo Roth Spiegelman / Actions & Adventure have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on20 votes