Thursday, October 24, 2013

After College

I was reminded what twenty-two felt like the other day when M came down the stairs sobbing. Suffice to say, everything's okay, but it reminded me of a time when I came home after college (I was 23) and all I did was cry. I cried when i got up in the morning and I cried when I went to bed. I didn’t have any friends I could talk to, and I couldn’t go to my parents. Parents? Who talked to their parents?

Finally my mother arrived at my bedroom door one morning and asked what the matter was, and was there anything she could do, and should she make an appointment with a doctor. I guess I'm reminded too of my mother, and what it must have felt like for her, hopeless, on the other side of the door. Since I couldn't talk to her about what was upsetting me, we settled on calling a therapist, a friend's recommendation. (The friend, Mr. Ehrlich, a German businessman, was later found murdered in his store, which, I'll note here, I had nothing to do with, despite his recommendation).

The next thing I knew I was driving down Newburg Road to Louisville's only mental hospital, appropriately named, Our Lady of Peace. The hospital was up a winding driveway, with grand gardens and slopping hills. 

A flickr pic of Our Lady of Peace Hospital,
Louisville, Kentucky

The doctor—let’s call him Dr. Frank Stein—was dressed neutrally in a gray suit. I wasn’t crying when I started, but I got worked up when I talked about leaving NYC and all that had happened there. By the time the 50 minutes were up, he had his assessment: electric shock treatment. He would notify my parents and set up an appointment. 

I didn’t cry then, but rather, I became hyper sensitive, noticing his glasses and how small the room. I got in my car, and for the first time since I had come home, I wasn't feeling numb anymore: I felt pissed. I thought, What did that doctor know about me anyway? I wasn’t crazy; I was just sad. I had left my boyfriend, and I was home with my parents, and I had no possible idea what I was going to do with my life. The future stood before me like the grim reaper; I couldn’t imagine how I would ever make it on my own. Ever grow up. Ever leave home, despite the fact I wanted it more than anything. But now I had something I could work with. 

When I got home, I told my mother that the doctor was full of shit and I wasn't going back there. I told her I was okay. I was going to be okay, and from that point on, I was. A few months later, I moved to Toronto (with my mother's blessings), where I began a long stretch of dancing/choreographing and teaching.

Our Lady of Peace is still up on the hill, welcoming the drug addicted, the crazies the motherless, the unfortunates of Louisville. Looking back, I'm thankful, at twenty-three, I wasn't one of them.

 Living in Toronto, mid-twenties
(I remember thinking this scarf would make me look artistic!)


  1. Good Lord, what a terrifying story, Charlotte. Glad the visit to Our Lady shocked you, as it were (yah, couldn't resist), out of your despair and back into dance. And interesting now to see it from your mother's perspective as well. Love the sultry portrait - beautiful.

    1. Thanks outwalkingthedog, I never thought of it like that, but yeah, you're right, i was shocked out of it! Always love your perspective as well!

  2. Who took the picture, Charlotte? It's a wonderful story and I am glad your mother didn't say "Snap out of it!".

    1. This was a very welcomed message this morning, Unknown (? who are you I wonder). Yes, she was not the interfering type, thank God. I was just about to utter those words myself and your comment stopped me. Thank you.