I have been in the house many times since the first time. The first time was when I was eight years old. I was being teased, called a chicken, and all those things kids say to each other. Triple dog dare. You can’t turn down a triple dog dare. It was the first time I opened the door. I only looked inside for a second but that was enough. The door had been opened and my future was doomed.
I soon started visiting the house more than I would like to admit. Always by myself of course. I couldn’t let my friends know what I was doing. Each time I went in I would find a new room to explore. It was fascinating at first. All these new things I was finding meant I was also learning more about myself. I thought I was being brave. Anytime something would happen to me I would run to the solitude of the house. Only in the day time though. Never at night.
At night you could always find me in my own house. Safe, warm and comfortable. My parents loved me and I felt safe in my house. Of course you could say as many times as I was visiting the so-called haunted house that it became my home away from home. My place to go to be alone and collect my thoughts. Leave some of my thoughts there. Come out a new person, but I left a part of me in that house each time I went.
It wasn’t long before I was sneaking out of my home and going to my haunted house at night. I couldn’t help it. I loved being the only one there. The only one that knew I was spending so much time there was me. I loved that sometimes when I went there would be a new room or two to explore. I never questioned how they got there. Part of the mystery of a haunted house I thought.
I started to withdraw from my friends so I could spend more time there. I could explore my house for hours on end, always something new but I could also go back and remember. Remember the who, what, why, where and when of the first time I opened this door or that door. Remember when I was so scared I slammed that door closed, only to peek back in a few weeks later. No door was ever sealed shut. I could visit anytime I would visit the house.
The problem came when I couldn’t resist the house anymore. It just kept luring me in. Like it was calling out to me. Come on in, it is safe here. You don’t need anyone else. Just you and your thoughts, that’s all you need. No one will hurt you in here.
Comfort. I found comfort in that house. I should’ve bought the place and moved in. Saved me from going there all the time. It was on one of these trips that I met someone. A man like I had never met before. He told me to stop going to the haunted house. There is nothing there for me. How did he know was my first thought? My second thought was who cares who he is. This was my world and my house and he was just an intruder. Another person out to get me.
A couple days later I was going back to the house and there he was. Sitting on the front steps. The same steps I first went up when I was eight, except they didn’t look so scary anymore. They almost looked warm and inviting. Anyway, back to my guest. There he was. “How did you get here,” I asked. “I’ve been watching you for years,” he said. What kind of person is this? I then bluntly told him to leave. He wasn’t welcome here. He told me he couldn’t do that. He was here to help me leave this place, leave it for good.
No way. This is my place. My home. He had no right to ask me to leave it.
But he got me thinking. In my experience, that is never a good thing. I would rather just go to my house and leave my thoughts in one of the rooms.
I walked on by him and he got up and followed me in. “Look at your prison,” he said. “My prison? This is my house,” I corrected him. “No”, he said, “I have a much better house for you. Want to see it?”
“Not really sure,” I said, “I like this place.”
“Here take my hand and I will show you,” he said. I don’t know why but I reached out for his hand and….all the doors opened. All the doors in my house flew open and everything that was in them came pouring out.
I screamed, “let me go!!” I pulled my hand away and ran. This wasn’t my house. How did all these things get in here? Why was he letting them all out? I tried to shut the doors but they would not close. I fell to my knees and let them overtake me. But they didn’t touch me. They all poured into him. He took them all. All my good and all my bad. All my pretty and all my ugly. They all poured into him.
I watched, mesmerized. It seemed like it lasted for hours but it couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. How could I let all this stuff in my house? I watched as everything flew out. Things I forgot I put in the rooms. Things that kept me a prisoner in my house. Fear, lots of rooms full of fear. Anxiety, worry, hurt all leaving my house. Negative thoughts and lies I believed to numb the pain all gone. Depression, shame, guilt- all gone. Anger and hate, see you later. Regrets, doubts about who I am, lies, distrust, unforgiveness, all gone.
You might ask what was left but you already know. Love was left. A love that told me I didn’t need to live in this house. A love that told me I was forgiven. A love that showed me who I am. A love that told me to unlock those doors and throw away the key. A love that told me my house isn’t haunted. A love that told me I could’ve left that house anytime I wanted. A love that told me I never had to build that house.
Mansion by NF –
My Own Prison by Creed –
Empire In My Mind by The Wallflowers –
Demons by Imagine Dragons –
Baptize My Mind by Jon Foreman –
Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel –
Keep Your Mind Wide Open by Annasophia Robb –
Outta My Mind by Anthem Lights –
Voices by Jana Kramer –
March Out Of The Darkness by Papa Roach –
Out Of Mind by Queensryche –