So today is a day full of anxiety which is not a good place for me to be.  With day to day stressors and overactive hallucinations, generalized anxiety make for a challenging day.  The voices are more prominent and the visual stuff is so close, I can feel its presence.  The others lurk about so close I can feel their breath on my neck.  Usually I just tag them and shoo them away but not on days like today.  It is all too real.

It is amazing how the brain works.  Takes a simple day and turns it into a haunting memory.  No one ever remembers these things like I do.  It is as if they are seeing it in black and white while every scene is bright palette I cannot readily escape.  One of these days, I will never forget.

At the time, I couldn’t have been more than 5 years of age.  It was summertime and my mother’s favorite past time was going garage sale hunting for stuff we probably didn’t need but was fun to look at other people’s discards.  Sometimes she would bring a friend along who had kids.  It would quickly grow boring for most kids but for me, everything spoke.  Some moaned while others giggled at the excitement of being sold to a new home.  The giggles were fun but the moans were aching sadness about being thrown out like garbage.

This particular day of hunting, I had to be bribed.  These sales created such anxiety but I was promised I could pick out ONE item (and only one item) within reason from any of the sales we went to, granted I behaved.  One item had to be worthy of being chosen. I only got one.  I begin to hope for some miracle find like a dollhouse marked super cheap or doll that someone else didn’t want but I would treasure or a really good book.  So, from sale to sale, we ventured.  I saw some toys, but even to me as a child, I felt many were marked too high or seemed too lifeless when I held them.  Those would not do at all.

Then, after I was hot and bored, ready to whine, I saw it.  I was passing a table with some toys when I heard a whimper.   “Please love me.  I’m so scared.  I don’t know why I’m out here.”  I looked through the pile of stuffed animals and found a worn, obviously loved, stuffed bunny.  It was the velveteen rabbit –a real velveteen rabbit only it had not been made real.  It was awfully pitiful to look at but I loved it right away.

“Please help me,” cried the bunny.  I picked up the dear rabbit.  I felt its energy and I knew the rabbit loved me back as it quivered in my arms.  The tag said 10 cents.  WOW!  My mother would surely buy this for me.  How could she refuse?

“Oh no!” my mom exclaimed as I approached her holding the precious bunny.

“But mom, it’s only a dime!” I protested.

“Dear, how about these over here,” said the lady of the sale.  She was pointing to newer less loved toys on another table. “Any one you chose, same price, okay?”

I gripped the bunny tighter. “No,” I cried tears in my eyes.  “I want this one.”  In my head, the bunny needed me and I already loved it dearly.   I needed the bunny too.  Its fur was worn completely off in spots and you could tell where it had been sewn together over and over again.  I had to have it.  The rabbit began to cry harder.  I did too.  My mom was annoyed and the lady looked miserable at the scene.

“You know I didn’t mean to put this old thing out here,” she tried to explain as she reached for the bunny I clutched.

“No,” I whined.  The bunny began to screech as it was taken away from me.  Why can’t anyone else hear the bunny?  Why was I being tortured?  I felt like I would go mad from the sound of the bunny’s cries.  Back and forth the conversation went.  I couldn’t believe how harsh and cruel the world seemed at that moment.  Everyone seemed out to get me, even my mom.  All I wanted to do was continue to love the crying bunny.

Next thing I remember, I was in the backseat of the car driving away, looking back at the lady and her bunny she wouldn’t sell and my mom wouldn’t agree to buy.  I closed my eyes and said a little prayer, “Dear God, please send a fairy to that bunny when it cries tonight.  He will surely be in the trash.  Let the fairy turn him into a real bunny, like in the velveteen rabbit.  Please God.  I hope you hear me. Amen.”

Every night for weeks, I could  hear the bunny crying and I would say my prayer again and again.  I wanted the crying to stop.  I wanted to know the bunny was okay and not in the trash somewhere.  I still tear up today recalling the poor worn out bunny.  I have to believe that the bunny found a special place, became real, and hopped away to live a nice long life.

Be free my little bunny….be free!