They say that people with schizophrenia hear voices and can’t discern between which voices are real and which are not.
I don’t have schizophrenia. I do have voices. You know them – the ones who tell you ‘that was a stupid thing to do’ or who trawl over unsatisfactory conversations. They pop up frequently when I’m alone: in the bath, on a walk, in the car. Sometimes it’s only one but occasionally the whole lot emerge like zombies from a bad movie. It doesn’t matter how often you hack their limbs off, they just keep coming. Sometimes I summon them, especially if I think I’ve got the clinching argument. The one I should have used in the real conversation. In these internal dialogues, I’m always witty, sharp, and brilliant. They are always slow, stupid and put in their places… briefly.
They are all ghosts of real people, living and dead. They are all unfinished business.
Occasionally I have moments of clarity. I say ‘why am I spending so much time with YOU?’ But like sticky, over chewed gum, I can’t get them off my metaphorical fingers.
Except I can.
They are not holding onto me. I am holding onto them. I have my hand fisted round their shirt collar and I won’t let go. I’m intense and angry or else I’m cool and reasonable. But I never let them go. I want my view of the world to be accepted, agreed. But it is only the ghosts who concede. Their real counterparts obstinately and continually refuse to collude with my interpretation of matters. And I will not collude with theirs.
It seems that it’s not possible to resolve unfinished business with ghosts.
Recently I wrote a screenplay for a short film. It wasn’t until at least the 5th draft and complaints from others that I realised that my main character was unfinished business. I’d created her and set her up so I could destroy her. I was pretending I had sympathy when actually I wanted her to suffer.
Who wants the difficulty of real people? Next time I’ll go for a Fairy Story. Forget attempts at inclusion and go for full on dualism – I’ll have a fairy godmother, a crowd of wonderful mythical creatures (all on my side) and zombies. Lots of them. It’ll be a hard and difficult journey but just before the closing credits, good will triumph (my side of course) and all the zombies will be buried forever under concrete or thrown in the sea or turned into deformed statues to be ogled at by strangers. A few of my beloved creatures will have sacrificed themselves for me on the way and I will remember them always.
There. Done. If only.