Yesterday I read the vibe of a student who has been abused. I knew this beforehand. This was nothing new, but was different was how she felt. Have you ever seen those toys where the box keeps changing and moving itself, so each time it showed a different picture? That’s what she does. Her mind/soul keeps switching, switching, switching. That’s the only way I can explain it. I could feel her assessing everyone around her. Then she switched, switches, switches. Her mind is a whirling machine of protection. She had very few emotions. She was determining the right thing by the people around her. Are you a threat? Are you a threat? These emotions were all on the surface and the further I looked the blacker it became. Underneath the switching was darkness, hollow. There was no fear, no love, nothing. A Grand Canyon of nothing. It was the most bizarre thing I have ever felt.
Before reading her, I thought she was going to feel sad, but it was very much the opposite. Her outside demeanor is cool, aloof, unmoving. I never expected to find the churning beneath the surface. She validated the switching. She validated the constant assessing. She nodded and somewhat smiled. I kept the blackness to myself. I did not dig further in the blackness for fear of what I’d find.
Today we were getting into a circle to discuss our current novel. She moved a desk over for me and then one for herself right next to me. She smiled shyly. I say down next to her and she settled in.