I have to be honest - I think I'm losing my mind. Not "losing" like I've misplaced it, and not "losing" like I'm watching it die in my arms. Losing like the tangible loss of watching the girl you love pack her things into your ex-best friend's Volvo. It's a kicking and screaming thing. Maybe my mind is divorcing me.
I was brought into this world with a then-progressive technique called the Leboyer Method, whereupon the lights in the delivery room are dimmed, the doctors and nurses speak in hushed tones, and the newborn is placed gently in a bath of warm water immediately after exiting the womb. The umbilical cord is not cut until the baby has been massaged into taking it's first breath on its own, rather than the jarring spank method commonly used. When I was born I screamed bloody murder just the same. The tip-toe environment didn't ease my mind, couldn't heal it.
I've begun trying a similar technique to put myself to sleep at night: I marinate in a long warm bath while an episode of Planet Earth plays from my nearby laptop. I put my disturbingly adult pajamas in the dryer prior to the bath so as to minimize my body temperature fluctuation. Then I climb up to bed where Lu has warmed my spot (once again confusing it with his spot). I put on a collection of Chopin Preludes. It's a process designed to make me feel as if I have control of my life; I'm right where I want to be, living it up alone rather than enduring the stress that accompanies human interaction.
And then a strange thing happens: instead of visualizing myself as a mature adult, full of endless potential, I'm reminded of that scene in every "Psychological Thriller" where the serial killer just happens to be a connoisseur of classical music (quite often Chopin). And he's always [a "he"] listening to it while he's alone --- not alone enjoying a burrito with the latest issue of The Economist, mind you, but alone collaging voyeuristic pictures of some actress over and over and cutting curly Q's into the wall with his foot-long fingernails. Once that association with a psychopath is in my head I can't get it out and I begin to redoubt my stability; it's a self fulfilling prophecy. The darker the rings beneath my eyes, the more I stay up thinking about them.
But none of this is the "losing my mind" part. Everything I've just described would happen to anybody who is living how and where I'm living - alone in the woods in a crooked house without cel service. Truthfully, that evening routine is the only time in my day when the lines of this war of sanity (between my scientific reality and whatever this other thing is) are distinguishable. For most of the day there are things that my mind is doing to me now that my scientist brain will not stand for. Today, for instance, I didn't feel an iota of protest when the impossible happened. And so I believe that my scientist brain has left us here to prance around in the strange world we're creating.
I'm seeing distinct personalities in each of my ladybugs; a notable sense of humor, even. For instance: there are always two ladybugs on my laptop (even as I type this, one crawls across the top of the monitor while the other sits to the right of my delete key). Today one ventured onto the keyboard, which none of them had ever done before, and once situated on the "i" key she absolutely refused to depart. Even after I set her on my shoulder, she promptly resumed her post. I contemplated finishing the email without the use of the letter "i." I looked it over and realized that yes, in fact, the email was obnoxiously solipsist, and so set about retyping it with that wonderfully inclusive "we" pronoun.
I've seen them respond to speech. I was able to determine (by the grace of Google) that they don't have ears, so I do not see how this is possible. While in the shower, they play on the window ledge. I yell at them to be careful not to fall in. They turn towards me, hunch down for a few minutes, and then resume playing, eventually falling in. They make this huge helpless display down by my toes until I pull them out, albeit with a light scolding.
All day I talk to them. When I leave the house, two are always on my person, rarely discovered before I've arrived somewhere. It's somewhat embarrassing to go to the market with beetles on you. Especially those of the sentient variety, because you really can't justify killing them callously, you have to put them in your pocket when the clerk isn't watching. At home they are always within sight but rarely get in the way.
And I feel like they have been trying to tell me something for months now, and I'm too daft to get the message.... something in the way they position themselves about the house. They are in the kitchen when I am hungry. They are in the bathroom when I smell like New Jersey. Today they were already on the drumset when I felt like playing. I thought they were following me, but lately I'm wondering if it's not the other way around.
Today around 4:30 or so I went downstairs to shower and, after pulling the curtain back and seeing what they'd done, I fell backwards over the toilet, freaking Lumas out. I scrambled out, chugged some cranberry juice and composed myself before walking back in. What I saw was impossible. I knew that no one would ever believe me, so I began the hunt for a camera. I'd given the digital camera to my sister a month or two back, and so had nothing with which to document this phenomenon. I ran next door, where---much to my delight---Jungleboy and his portly friend Reese (who was wearing a utility belt above his belly, making it a "utility bra" of sorts) were filming a ninja movie (directed by JB's older brother Jesse). I managed to bring them back to the house and catch this on film before the battery died.
Jesse ran home to charge the battery (in hindsight, I don't know why I didn't suggest he just get the charger and plug it in at my house) but by the time he got back, their message had almost completely dissipated. In Jesse's absence it dawned on me that I own the world's most futuristic cel phone, and that one of its many features is short video recording (none of its features are "phone reception," incidentally). So I bolted upstairs and grabbed it, just in time to tape these two movies as my dotted friends began to disperse.
I wish I could say that this brilliantly physical message, in plain english (SEEN BY OTHER HUMANS, so I know it's real) clarifies their intention for me, but it doesn't. I don't know what "find" means. And I don't know what this means in terms of my sanity. But something tells me that acknowledging the collective conscious of a houseful of ladybugs is a step down a dark stairwell.