I can’t watch this with sound on; I don’t want to hear the voice of that music teacher ever again in my life. But just watching the corridors and staircases, I… something grips me, and I feel sick. Not because of the revolting PR, which I guess is present in the film clip (as I said, I turned off the sound). But because I honestly feel sick to my stomach. I notice some former students have become teachers; I suppose they must have love their school. I suppose they don’t feel anxious and like they’re going to vomit. I do. When I watch this, I can’t understand I’ve managed to go there twice since my teenage years. I must have unconsciously decided to become numb to the environment. Happening to click on this link off-guard, however, it makes me very uncomfortable. As I said, sick. And I’m not just saying this. I feel sick. It’s more than 20 years on, and I feel sick. I can only watch a few seconds at a time. It’s a bit strange it happens now, maybe because I didn’t expect it, I wasn’t prepared. Maybe it was the camera movement in these corridors, stairs and rooms; I don’t know. It’s not like it’s the first time I’ve seen footage from there, I’ve even been back there a couple of times as an adult, and it’s been alright. I’ll try again tomorrow.
I’ll tell you, because I don’t know if I have, I think I have, so forgive me if I tell you again. Once, when I was 13 or 14, my mum wanted me to go with her to a fair at the waldorf school. This was only a year or two after I’d left it. I thought nothing of it, I went with her, they often had lots of second-hand books, and I liked buying second-hand books. I mean, I was away from there, I was safe elsewhere and I knew it was just a visit and I didn’t expect it to mean anything in particular to me. My reason alone didn’t alert me to the emotional danger. Not that I reasoned about it, I didn’t understand I should have. I didn’t expect anything. I had had to go there for nine years, so what could a short visit do to me? A lot, it turned out. I totally freaked out. I understand now that I must have had a panic attack of sorts, but I didn’t understand it then. I thought I was going to break, physically too, to pieces. And that my brain was going to burst my skull. I couldn’t think. I had an adrenalin rush that helped put me in a flight mode, and I just fled. I don’t mean I walked away like a civilized person who only wants to leave a place. I fled for my life, like a chased animal, like a hare from a wolf. That’s how it felt. I ran for my life. I probably ran in the way of traffic and accidentally into people who were going uphill (you know what I mean if you watch the movie clip). I have a vague memory of trying to run at top speed among too many people, too many obstacles. I felt I was facing Death, and I have no idea what all these people were doing there.
Interestingly, something similar was the theme of many of my nightmares during those years. I used to dream I was shot, or butchered alive, or was bleeding from huge gashes, that I was among people but nobody noticed the blood, nobody noticed me dying in front of them. Not even if I had bullets gone through me or my organs were protruding from my torn apart chest. It was life as usual.
(How ironic! Not until I pressed preview on the blog post before posting did I notice that the front ‘cover’ (you don’t say that with film clips, do you?) includes a human skeleton. Appropriate somehow.)
(Edit: re the post title, see Tom’s comment.)