The most frightening part of my People in my Hips experience was that I never knew when it would manifest.
Some days I would be fine, and others, I would be a wreck, barely even being able to walk, or just filled with OLD scary emotion from the past. And then some days would be LIVING HELL.
It was February 2005. I was taking the train home from NYC after seeing Douglass and Dr. Freud. It was the 7:56 more or less express to Lower Putnam County.
When I got on the train I knew something was up. Whatever I had opened up in Yoga with Douglass and then in therapy with Dr. Freud was starting to work on me. The train was crowded with commuters and day shoppers coming home after a long and tiresome day. Whenever I got on a train, I would immediately search for a seat with a wall behind me. Having a wall behind me felt safe. No one could hurt me from behind. At the time, I knew it was crazy to do this, but the Peeps made it uncomfortable at times to sit with someone behind me, especially a man. So I wouldn’t do it. I always had a train wall behind me. Unless there wasn’t a safe seat available. This particular evening, that was the case. Oh hell…
So I sat by a window with a small Puerto Rican man sitting behind me. Small was good. Small may not bring the fear, plus something was brewing in me, and a big guy behind me would not work. A 30 year old woman sat down next to me with her 6 year old daughter. She sat her daughter between me and her. Oy.
Then behind me I heard my worst nightmare. It was a large 6 foot tall business dude, booming about something stupid on his cellphone.
Oh hell no a loud voice behind me please not now no not now!
The train started. We began our trip through the tunnel to 125th St. Something about the shaking vibration of the train was unsettling, and the man, the man with the big voice behind me was doing it to me. Oh NO NO NO NO NO!
My hip began to cramp up, and I began to shake lightly. I can't have this girl next to me see this. And her Mom would freak.
AND PLEASE BUSINESS DUDE SHUT THE FUCK UP CAN’T YOU SEE I AM REGRESSING. I AM A CHILD AGAIN DON’T FUCKING HIT ME PLEASE!
I started to breathe quietly. I shut my eyes. I will breathe and I will sit here in my self imposed darkness until it is safe to come out.
I felt trapped. I breathed. I prayed. I didn’t move, but my body started to shake. I am not sure if the little girl or her mother saw me for I stayed in the darkness, hoping all would go away.
45 minutes later, we were almost at my stop, Goldens Bridge, where I would find my sanctuary where it was safe to bounce and cry and howl with the demons from my past. But I had to get up, and Mommy and daughter were still there next to me. They must be going to Purdys or Carmel or somewhere far. Damn. I would have to get up. And when I get up I will start to bounce or fall over and I will scare this little girl next to me and most definitely her mother too.
I think fast. I will write a letter. I pull out my bag. I am shaking. I pull out a spiral notebook and write a note.
"I AM HAVING A PROBLEM WITH MY HIP AND I AM HAVING A HARD TIME WALKING AND I WILL BE SHAKING WHEN I GET UP AT MY STOP - GOLDENS BRIDGE. I AM WRITING THIS NOTE TO YOU SO THAT I DON’T SCARE YOUR CHILD OR YOU. I AM FINE."
I sit for a moment. Should I give it to her? It is weird. But what is the alternative? Very weird. I give Mommy the note.
She reads it, looks furtively at me, and then nods. I smile. My head is shaking slightly side to side.
We arrive at Goldens Bridge. I nod to Mommy. She gets up with baby girl. I try to get up, great pain in my hip, and my body starts to shake. She looks at me in fear and turns her baby girl away. It seems like the whole train is looking at me as I shake like a cripple and make my way down the aisle, using the seats like crutches. Tears are streaming from my eyes.
I am a God Damn Leper! Oh please God why can’t I just get off a train like a normal person?
I exit the train. I lean against a poster for some bad Broadway play. The train pulls out. I wait. I wait until everyone leaves, and then I start my walk home.
I walk. I shake. My hip hurts. No one is watching. All is fine.
I get home.
I fall to the floor and pull my knees into my chest and cry.