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  • Helena Ortiz

Life Is Alone Time Plus Art Creation

I haven't been alone in months.


Alone time had been replaced with being smothered, feeling like a teenager rather than a twenty-seven-year-old adult, and a lack of independence I never believed would haunt me again. But, the co-dependency did haunt me. It did burn a hole into my temples, reminding me over and over again how frightening being alone would be.


To give you some context, from ages twenty through twenty-five, I lived in my own apartment right next to my grandfather's house. It was his duplex, and I rented from him. In January 2018, a close family member physically assaulted me. On February 5th, 2018, my paternal grandmother passed after months of her wilting and withering away.


That same night she died, I ended up in the hospital with non-epileptic psychogenic seizures. These are basically panic attacks that come in seizure form. The ER doctor mocked me, told me I was faking, and that I could stop any time I wanted, which was the furthest away from the truth. The next night, I was also in the ER.


For several months, I was isolated from the rest of the world. The internet, books, and my work were my only companions. I don't believe I've ever been that isolated. The last week I was in my apartment, alone, I was gang raped by three different men, two of which I knew from a restaurant I used to frequent. One of them disguised himself as Scottish with a fake accent. It took me over a year to figure out who these two were, and now it haunts me more than I can even describe. The shame of those events and how my mind reacted to them hangs over my head.


By the end of the week, I was admitted to the hospital for PTSD, and I spent a year there being tortured rather than saved. My mother keeps saying that being in the hospital was the best thing that ever happened to me, but hearing that makes me feel as though I deserve the PTSD that accumulated from being in that place.


Yes, that place did help me in some ways... many ways, in fact... but, whenever I think about it, my chest clenches up, I can't breathe, and my neck starts ticking. I begin having a seizure. The hospital and the idea of it scares me more than I care to admit. I can't describe the fears I have of going back there, so I hide most of my emotions and create stories about what I'm feeling -- a way of psychokinetic healing.


Nevertheless, because I was in that hospital for nine months, and then lived in my dad's cave for several months, I don't know how to be alone anymore.


For the past three nights, I've lived at my grandfather's house, watching over it while he's in the ICU. He had a brain bleed, but he's a tough one. Now, he's going through rehabilitation so that he can come home. Grandpa's a total badass.


A part of my living here is to get used to living alone, by myself, in a city surrounded by houses filled with people that I don't know. The first night was difficult because every hour on the hour I awoke believing someone was trying to break in. I relived the men breaking into my apartment, using my seizures to their advantage. After the first two nights of triple-checking every door in the house, I've settled more into a groove.


Now, being alone is calming.


Soon, I hope, I'll be moving into my own place, which is just a couple of blocks away from my grandfather's house. I'll finally have a place to work, a place where I create the rules, and a place where I can exist to be free and independent. Independence is one of the good things about being an adult, and I've felt as though my adulthood had been taken away -- especially since I was living, tossed between my mother's and father's, both of which treat me like I'm still a child.


I'm going to be a starving artist in my own right, discussing life how it is from beginning to end, as I did in What Is Life? an EP. The EP depicts the full story of who we are from life to death and how we experience it. It begins with the question of life and ends with the chaos of death.


Every life begins with a question: who will this tiny ball of life grow to be? Meanwhile, death is chaos in and of itself. It's the end, oscillating between the knowledge that death is coming and the fight to continue to live.


My maternal grandmother had spent years living with Alzheimer's, and was on her hospice bed, a couple days away from death. The family was Facetiming with she and my aunt. In a moment of complete lucidity, my grandmother looked straight at my aunt and asked if she was dying. It was the most lucid and in-tune with herself she'd been in years. That moment of recognition was the chaos of death -- between the knowledge that you are going to die, and the surreal fight to live. It wasn't a split second later that her lucidity disappeared, and we were left with a grandmother who knew she was dying, but did not want to.


What Is Life? is a three-song EP that depicts all of this: the questions, the life, and the chaos. It can be streamed on Apple Music and Spotify.


There are also a few other updates that can be found on the website, including a short story, and fun for writers.


For all of the writers out there, I developed a page of ideas and situational prompts that you may want to look at. Many of these can be found on Pinterest, but I figured that it would be better for those who don't use that social platform to have a page on this website where they can view them instead.



For all of the readers out there, I wrote a short story from the point of view of an odd, little thing. We've all been on the other side of it, the one munching away. How many of us haven't? But, what would it feel like to be the object? The one we all pick at, throwing away its clothing only to have stickiness left over? I've probably given far too much away, but even then, are you ready for "Sweet Tooth"?


As always, feel free to follow Marmosetic Wolves on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Following and purchasing my work will always be the best way to support me, so if you enjoy what I do and want me to keep doing it, please take a second to do so.


Best,

Helena Ortiz

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