When I go hunting for antique fabrics, old lace or interesting pieces of furniture I’m often traveling out-of-town to Ottawa real estate sales or country auctions. I keep my eye out for things in good shape, natural materials, good composition and in good enough shape to use.
I’m not thinking about “giving old stuff new life” or “the story” nor am I imaging the person who owned it. I feel the nature of the previous owners on my own without entertaining imaginary romantic notions. So I allow what they were to come into me and be—with full acceptance—happy or sad.
It makes me a little fonder of the items I do collect which is likely why I’m so fond of old stuffed animals and dolls. The love energies that ooze from those things are so heart-meltingly tender that it makes me feel like I’m loving-up my own babies again.
A few summers back a massive Ottawa real estate sale was advertised. Turned out it was just outside the city in a town called Almonte so my gal pal Terry and I decided to check it out.
Ottawa’s a government town and to my knowledge hasn’t many seriously old homes to plunder (and even less with stuff worth purchasing). A government town, at least Ottawa, has home interior goods with practical tastes and about as interesting. Marriages of “Ottawa and art” are the exceptions not the rule.
It was a sweltering day as all Ottawa summers have turned into, thanks to global warming, and by the time we arrived our clothes were sticking to every inch of us. We arrived near closing time pleasantly surprised by the number of items still left.
18th and 19th century beds, household furniture galore; charming antique Christmas decorations, old, old playthings; trunks, heavily carved picture frames, early Canadiana and five white wicker bassinettes! And that was just what was outside.
Terry headed for the cool interior of the house while I like a rescue dog searching for wounded, combed the inventory outside.
The Mississippi river flows through Almonte and in the 19th century Almonte was known for almost a century after as the Manchester of North American producing the finest wool textiles. Mansions were built in many locations along the river and the saw mills and railway families enjoyed generational wealth.
This home was certainly an old mansion, imposing in its grand storied beauty. The grounds still had the old fashioned gardens that spoke of a much earlier era.
A breeze carried the mingled scent of peony, aquigula and phlox across the yard momentarily covering the musty smell of old wood trunks, dressers with peeling liner papers and rickety pine tables.
The perimeter of the property was forested and delineated by a low stone wall. I’d heard tell that there was a forest stream on the property too. A bit of heaven it seemed to me.
I also thought I’d overheard someone mention that the family had been in politics. Regardless of who the family had been, it was obvious no one had lived there in quite some time. The grounds bore that neglected abandoned look.
As I breasted the last long line of interior fittings like chandeliers and four foot long glass and brass bathroom towel racks from the twenties (God, I love those things) when suddenly I began thinking about how awful everything and everyone really was.
That was an odd notion I thought, but before I could fully grasp what was happening I thought about the sickening people connected to this house with a sullen hateful resentment. What is going; on am I mad? But the darkness came again right out of the sunshine and into me. I had no idea I felt this way about people and couldn’t fathom the insidious stirrings with the gaps of “still me” in-between.
I’m no saint or stranger to nasty thoughts but I shocked myself with the pointed little teeth I’d suddenly grown. I felt like I’d stumbled right into the middle of a nasty “feed”. I felt a hunger and something was about to be consumed. Satisfaction would be mine. My sly feelings had the slick polish of one who’d practiced deep deception for a very long time; years in fact.
Oh thank God, it’s not me. This is a adult male so I took a breath and opened wide.
No one knew who he was he thought. Sneeringly he felt so clever. Not the people at work (although I could see he was aware that in fact there had been colleagues that’d known about him but his fantasy-driven sense of superiority demanded he pretend otherwise) not even family (that wasn’t true either but delusion ran here too) and he reveled in their perceived stupidity and his superior intelligence, the crazy-like-a-fox kind that knew why pretending to be someone else was beneficial.
I was going to let this ride, I’d never felt anyone like this before.
Like an appetite growing “my” new-found hunger insinuated satisfaction could only be met by dining on my companions (what the hell did that mean?) my feelings were furtive, and oh-so-sly. The witnessing part that was me considered breaking “the read” again and then I heard, “I’ll keep this to myself; no one need ever know what I really think.”
Who said that? Okay maybe this was a bit much. This read was very clear; and repulsive.
It’s hard to explain, just what it feels like to wear someone else. There’s a blending that you allow and have complete control of because it isn’t you. But at the same time, and because you’ve allowed it, the blending is a perfect fit and what you feel is exactly him/exactly you. It’s why I can understand so completely.
I shook it off, took a breath and thought I might tell Terry because I was a wee bit weirded out. But there’s this time-space inside of me where I too am perhaps secretive—hiding the personality I just wore until I can detangle his strands of energetic DNA from my own. So I said nothing and instead scanned the yard for the person I was picking up although I knew he was long gone. Then I glanced toward the forest and realized he’d hidden in there once or twice before. Before…
Entering through the back kitchen door; focused, planned and ugly I thought, she’s going to pay. Who does she think she is? She’s ruined me, exposed me and she’ll pay.
I recognized the energy of hate.
That’s when I stopped and took another breath to clear the reading. I then soothed myself with old tapestries and balls of wool. After that I calmed and was my fine old self again.
Later we stopped in town at a local antique shop and began chatting with the owner. We told him we had just been to the huge estate sale. Concern marring his brow he said, “I wouldn’t have gone there, not to that house,” to which I immediately and inexplicable said, “all murder and mayhem was it?”
“Yes it was that’s where the mayor was shot dead last year by his son-in-law. He was battering his daughter and she’d moved back home. He came after her. Her father stood in front of her right there in the kitchen and was shot dead. She was wounded by survived. The mother lives in a condo now, just up the street—couldn’t stay there anymore—what with the bullet holes in the refrigerator.”
I didn’t say another word but realized the intel from the read had belonged to him. I didn’t need to ask if he’d used the side entrance (nearest the kitchen facing the forest) I knew.
Over the years I’ve picked up objects and felt their owners. Sadness, dreamy thoughts, happiness, loneliness; academia; but never what I’d felt that day. I’d always thought someone who could commit murder would be very different from me but there were many emotions I recognized. Perhaps not to the degree expressed in the read, but the same nonetheless. The self-deception for instance, and the desire to blame; degrees of measure whether shallow or deep don’t matter for as Marianne Williamson once said, it’s a short leap from bitchiness to murder.
That’s the thing about being inside someone else’s head—it feels like your own, and in this case with a single-minded darkly-restrictive agenda. So narrow in scope that it was impossible to turn around and think a different thought; like speeding down a one way street and unable to stop or turnaround.
Sometimes I feel others that are also trapped on one way streets of their own making but their feelings tend to be despair. Awareness sometimes comes later and their able to stop the one-way careen, but are often still unable to turn around—too much momentum built up behind them—to think a different thought. These energies can undo me with compassion and a sense of familiarity.
On the drive home I examined those single-minded hateful thoughts and realized the pervasive feelings were obsessively blame-orientated, willfully self-deceptive and deliberately angry/hateful almost as if he were entitled to his hate.
Anger and hate are different things although one can lead to the other. Hate always involves delusional thinking like willful deliberate self-deception contrary to repeated assertions of correction, logic, evidence or facts. We can all deceive ourselves and frankly regularly do. But healthier minds, catch and correct themselves. Sick ones do not.
When you hate someone you generally believe whatever they’ve done is deliberate and meant to deprive you of something. Interestingly the very ways that they think and behave–but that parallel goes unnoticed by them.
When you believe thus there’s almost no turning around from that narrowed view (because of the willful self-deception)—so I must hate you. And if I hate you I must kill you. All thoughts and behaviors are very linear.
I could stand those feelings but what made me shut down the reading were the sly, cunning, furtiveness of his mind; the entitled calculated nature of him.
I’m a fairly open and direct personality. I tend to hoot, holler and swear when I’m angry. Juvenile to be sure, but I’m not going to plot your death either.