Round and round like a horse on a carousel, we go,
Will I catch up to love? I could never tell, I know,
Chasing after you is like a fairytale, but I,
Feel like I’m glued on tight to this carousel.
Come, come one, come all,
You must be this tall
To ride this ride at the carnival…
– Melanie Martinez, Carousel
“You guys having fun?” The megaphone voice blared, reverberating like heatwaves over asphalt.
The carousel riders whooped and hollered, drowning out the four year old girl shrieking for it all to stop.
“How about we go in reverse? Everybody?”
The benchseat lurched backwards.
“You guys want to go faster?”
Her daddy gripped her waist tighter, the momentum of the ride pulling her out of his grasp.
“No! No! Daddy, why aren’t they listening?”
This is how I learned that sometimes my “no!” didn’t matter. That sometimes even my parents weren’t in control, sometimes they couldn’t protect me.
Round and round like a horse on a carousel, we go…
When I have a panic attack, I feel like I’m back on that carousel ride. I’m not in control.
Everything is shifting for me right now.
My college graduation was last month and I’m finishing a summer class to complete my double major, so I’m passing that milestone. I’m relocating to find a job within science, which will probably mean leaving Colorado. And I’m in a different place than so many of my friends.
I’ve had intense periods of doubt about my faith and the existence of God, I’ve made choices others condemned and they can’t dissociate my personhood from that.
Why did you steal my cotton candy heart?
you threw it in this damn coin slot,
and now I’m stuck, I’m stuck,
riding, riding, riding…
It’s terrifying, this awful spiral of doubts and paranoia, not knowing who I can trust and who will use my own heart against me. It’s like a carnival ride that I never wanted.
But you’ve already bought a ticket, and there’s no turning back now…
Leaving a controlling environment was like unplugging from the Matrix. Cliche, but accurate.
It all started when I recognized the interpretations given in my homeschool Bible curriculum weren’t supported by biblical texts, and went from there. I’ve questioned everything, even back to my own existence, the whole “I think, therefore, I am” epiphany.
Sometimes, all I’m left with is my own experience.
Absolute truth exists, but can we as imperfect humans ever comprehend it? We muddle about in subjectivity, but that is what makes our stories unique, fascinating. Our collective perspectives create such an iridescent world of life and color. Sometimes it’s skewed or inaccurate, but it’s human.
I’m reformulating my worldview, sifting through philosophies and learning how to be a better human than I have been. Like that Walt Whitman quote that my friend Samantha handed me last fall, printed on a teabag tag: “Reexamine all you have been told, dismiss what insults your soul.”
My perspective of my subjective experiences is also morphing. My counselor at school and I are doing EMDR bilateral stimulation therapy to help my nightmares and anxiety. Together, we’re examining memories, talking through my emotions and reactions.
I just keep on riding that carousel, finding new perspectives through the disorientation I feel.