Are You Afraid of Me?

(This is intentionally presented in the fashion of a one on one conversation, with asides at times. It’s one of those conversations with someone that I just can’t have.)

Do I scare you? Does the way I talk worry you?

I’m not talking about intimidation. I’m tall, and I’ve always been told I’m stronger than I realize – usually just after hurting someone without realizing it, but that’s not what I mean.

When you begin working with a therapist, the default warning is something to the effect of “yourself or others…” As long as you aren’t going to hurt yourself or others, this stays private. Well, do you think I am a danger to others? Myself – that’s rather clear. A few suicide attempts on the record and plenty more urges to go around, there’s no doubt about that. But am I a danger to others?

Too soon, though it never really is, is it? Could I be an “Adam Lanza?” Am I a monster just waiting for something to snap to reveal some dark and horrible thing inside of me? Were these people ‘normal’ at some point, simply indulging in some idle imagination to vent anger and frustration, until the day that it wasn’t just idle anymore?

You say it’s a ‘fantasy’ world, and not reality, and it’s harmless (mostly) as long as it stays that way, but the idea that this could be a ‘fantasy’ inspires revulsion in me. I want nothing to do with this fantasy, much less its reality; the Auroras, the Newtowns, the Casas Adobes. But what if it’s not me who will decide that? What if some reclusive mental illness, some breakdown, some psychotic episode allowed this to be in control instead?

I know the realities of these situations – more often than not these people were never ‘normal,’ or hadn’t been in a very long time, and people “saw it coming.” The histories established in the aftermath showed a pattern of behavior long beforehand, and a certain planning and forethought, and you look at it in hindsight and know that this person was a nightmare in the making. But surely, there are the ones that nobody expected, and I have to wonder why. Were they just quiet, or did they conceal something from everyone, maybe even themselves?

So I ask you again: Do I scare you?

I think… I think I scare me, and I’m afraid.

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  1. By Katie Bongiorno


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