By Chrissy Tolley
It’s come to my attention that people think I’m crazy.
I’ve already gone through this process with my family. It took my family years to believe me when I told them that I was sexually assaulted. When I told them that I talk to spirits, angels, and dead people, most of them believed me immediately.
Magical families are like that.
Well, not everyone believed me. My father, a veterinarian, asked if I was schizophrenic. The question wasn’t inappropriate—I’d been admitted to the psych ward mere months before for suicidal ideation and severe depression. But the voices in my head weren’t telling me to hurt myself; the voices in my head were Latina grandmas complaining that their granddaughters weren’t married yet. I considered debating with my father, an animal healer, about who exactly was responsible for my magical propensities, but dropped it. He, like everyone else, wants proof. I don’t hold that against him.
A friend of mine texted me this week. He moved away and we haven’t kept up much since, but share a silent agreement that we care for each other and want to remain in each other’s lives. He texted me this week and mentioned that people we knew were contacting him “concerned” about me. Isn’t that funny?, the sentiment went. That people are worried about you when you’re doing so much better?
I didn’t respond well. I knew that people were talking shit about me, but I didn’t connect that people were talking shit about me to my friends. I immediately texted another friend and discovered the same incident was happening to her, so often that it’d become an annoyance.
“But I didn’t think you’d want to know that”, she responded.
“Yeah,” I typed. “I didn’t.”
People avoid taking risks so that they don’t have to feel the exact way I feel right now.
In reality, I’m making good money by doing strong work. That’s the most I can ask of myself. I have seven sessions booked this week and a depossession booked next week. I’ve done two so far this week—the first was strong, the second only okay. How well I perform depends on how good I’m feeling, and I spent most of second day crying at my desk job. If I don’t perform well, people will think I’m a fraud. Then they’ll tell other people I’m a fraud, and those people will text my friends asking them if I’m a fraud. The fear is circular, and unending. I recognize that I’m making some people uncomfortable. If its any consolation, I am so, so much more uncomfortable than you are.
At least ten people have messaged me not wanting to book a session, per se, but hoping to “catch up”. I don’t know what that means, but history shows it means sitting in a restaurant while someone I barely know monologues their oldest trauma. When I ask them if they see a therapist, they tell me they can’t afford one. Then I order another gin and tonic. I work two jobs now. I love most people, but I’m not going to choose “basically working for free” over hanging out with my real friends. I’m going to prioritize the people who prioritized me. I do appreciate that people who want to spend time with me generally mean well. They’re not hoping I break.
I could break. I really could.
Starting a spiritual business means that I’ll lose people, and that reality is already coming true. “I don’t know if I have any real friends,” I’ve thought more than once this week. My heart knows that’s a lie, but my trauma brain does not. It says, “See? Everyone thinks you’re stupid, because you are.” I cried in my car on Monday because people I don’t know anymore are laughing about me in group texts. I know that's childish and naive, but I did expect to end up crying in my car. Not because anyone did anything wrong, but because that’s the consequence of living out my dreams.