Flames of Liberation

This Sunday I am finally burning The Box. The Box contains a motely assortment of items and papers related to my psychotic episode which I just don’t want to have around anymore. These include diaries, drawings, my hospital bracelet, pieces of one of my hospital gowns, my smiley face slipper (a foam travesty of mockery, I would keep it but it’s getting gross, but yes, my slippers had smiley faces on the toes), legal orders for committment, and a long diatribe en francais about my strange actions upon admission, like me peeing on the floor. I in fact did pee on the floor, because they refused to let me use the bathroom even though I asked about fifteen times. So it’s a huge deal, I’ve been carting it around with me for ages. And it’s shit I really didn’t want to throw in the garbage, I have to destroy it in a more specific way. And so for years it was a vague thought, figuring out how to burn The Box. And by now it’s symbolic of so many things. There are some prescription medications I have around which I don’t take anymore, and they are getting burned too, including Zyprexa, Celexa, and Lamictal.

My mom took me to Bazaar and Novelty and I stocked up on about 71 dollars worth of fireworks. I have twelve roman candles, two fountains, and several exploding stars, I think one sets off about 70 balls in five different colours. One is a box of roman candles that all go off sequentially after lighting one fuse. I also have 3 ft and 12″ sparklers. I will be making some paper bag lanterns to place around the area, and I will also be burning incense, some huge sticks that are used in outdoor altars. It all happens this Sunday night at my uncle’s place in the country. It has two other meanings as well, Sunday is Chinese New Years, as well as being the birthday of my cousin Christopher, who died in June. It’s the first birthday of his since his death, and his immediate family went out of the country but I think the rest of us feel like we need to mark it somehow, and he happened to love fireworks. So it has several layers of meaning. The whole family is invited, along with some people I know here in town. It’s a celebration really, of liberation from psychiatric oppression, because it marks my release from the hospital. I’m hoping to transform my anniversary into something more positive, so this is the first time I’m doing anything celebratory around it.

Plus it’s the burning of the box!! I mean, that is a huge step for me. I had such a difficult relationship to that stuff, I didn’t know if I should destroy it or keep it and then in the end I realized I didn’t need it and I didn’t want it to fall into someone else’s hands either. I will be taking pictures of course, I’ll probably post them all on Monday. And yes, after it’s burned we’ll be using the fire to cook weiners and marshmallows. Although my mom keeps trying to get me to turn it into just a weiner roast. No no no, it’s burning the box, setting off the fire works, and weiners somewhere in between. Ceremony people, ceremony. The box is the number one thing. I think she just doesn’t want to have a late supper.

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