Mad Madison [Part 1]

I first met Madison in the detox & recovery unit of a mental hospital. 

lemme explain….

 Madison was there detoxing off of heroin. Her father checked her in after she overdosed for the 9th time and almost died. This was Maddison’s 6th time at this particular hospital. She’s been in places like this since her teens after Madison’s mother forced her to partake in a late-night arm shoot of heroin (“On the kitchen floor,” she emphatically adds when telling the story). Madison was only 14 years old then. As for her mother – she is now in jail. Madison is now 22 years old. Before landing her ass in this hospital, she lived with her boyfriend, Ricardo, a (reportedly) successful up-and-coming pimp. Madison spends her days doing getting her heroine fix by doing whatever Ricardo tells her to do. 

And me, I checked myself into this place after collapsing from an otherworldly ego-death in 5D (I don’t know what else to call it). That’s far too simplistic and crazy-sounding (and it was both of those and none of them simultaneously… ) Simply put, this sucker was the factor that fully flattened the entire collection of Charlie’s colorful chakras (which were all near-depleted already). And this, on top of a life scenario and personal narrative lifepath that you’d have to watch on a movie screen or read in a book to understand (and get) since it seems to hit see every kind of high point and low point and plot twist in storytelling history….But I digress. Now, medically/mentally, I “presented” to intake as (1) This one appears to be a shaken, yet mentally stable, yet telling stories of a madman  to (2) well we’ve poked and proded all his orificaes from here to high heaven and well: this man is….mysteriously gtg (if we guess if he wants to [I didn’t] he can pop a sampling of Klono).   Well, THAT made the disciples scratch their heads, the haters all rave stark mad, and the mystics just twinkle and grin. Now, unlike Madison, I’d never been in this place. Or in ANY kind of place like this. I’m a single parent, a 5th generation Texan, and a pastor turned teacher/tutor turned Jedi therapist (I’ll not tell you what I “do” now, but that symbol might be a helpful way of intuiting its vibe) I’m 37 years old, I am divorced, and I live in a van drive a minivan down by the river. 

Madison spent most of her first 24 hours in bed. She didn’t come out of her room much. She didn’t eat – at all. She’d occasionally come out for water or Smoke Break (or to sneak late-night fruit-flavored water). She wore baggy clothes, black hoodies, and was covered head to toe in gothic body art, graphic symbols, and phrases of all shades on the spectrum of “dark”. Large pentragrams were tattooed into the palms of her hands. The sides of her face were marked with twisted symbols of ownership and words of degradation. It appeared that not an inch of her skin (other than direct face) was without body ink. She likes to point people to the gothic one, on the left side of her face, directly underneath her eye, which she tells everyone “is Russian for T.R.A.S.H. My boyfriend Ricardo got it for me. For my birthday.” She says this so deadpan, so tauntingly, its heartbreaking. Watching it being said with a sort of Come at me confidence, with those unblinking, unbroken icy-blue eyes, deep and serious. This girl is way deeper than people know, I observe. 

 By day two, Madison was finally out of bed. She begrudgingly (and ever-so dramatically) came to the cafeteria for breakfast (but didn’t eat a thing). Madison seemed to gravitate towards people that presented themselves as people of her “tribe.” I, for one, detest the tribalist mentality (Exhibit A: our societal discourse), and furthermore, the word “tribes” itself is a personal trigger (thanks, former employer) However, I must confess… I do find social dynamics and tribe interactions fascinating to watch. Always have. You know? “people watching” I mean, if you’re the kind of person who friggin loves to just “people watch” or analyze (here’s looking at you, TS……GAH put ppl watching on the bucket list) can you imagine being given the access to do that in a mental hospital for an hour? For two hours?! Well, I had 168 little gold-nuggets of hours in my ol pockets, and I was determined to keep my wits by finding an ideal way to spend them: “let’s discover a bright side to all this, look around for opportunity to grow, and ride the shit out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. (Plus you’ll have a crap ton of stories to tell!)” Well that was just the self encouragement I needed (high-five, functioning Self!) Having exerted some control and creating order over that particular thought-gremlin, I placed him into his little cage and set myself on people-watching the shit out of this place. And lemme just tell you now – I swear to you – there’s a multi-million dollar TV series, waiting for any script-writer worth their salt, with one visit to a mental hospital. They should check themselves into this place – or one like it – and in one week, I’m tellin you, they will have a masterpiece: Its like “The Breakfast Club” + “The Office” + “One Flew Over The Cookoos Nest”, in a way the world has never seen.

Madison spoke to me for the first time that day. Her first words were so – honest. So awesome, so remarkably straight up honest and unfiltered and real, and this is me, mothafucka that I immediately wrote them down on the back of the folded newspaper I was working on that morning. She walked up to me in the lounge area as I was working on a crossword puzzle: “Hey,” she says, kinda rudely. I look up. Those ice-blue eyes. Her face is hardened. The muscles all stiff. Practiced. “Gimmie a fuckin’ heroine crossword, and I would dominate that shit in about 5 seconds flat.” I’m looking at Madison, standing there in front of me, looking at me straight in the eyes with her arms crossed and her hip out to the side, and her face all “I’m a tough bitch” and her giving me a stone-cold look. But there was something about the eyes…. And I’m looking at her in the eyes and (in my conscious awareness, at least) I saw a little girl, who was trying way too hard to be tough because shes wounded, and just didn’t know how to be safe enough to be real… and so, I’m looking at Madison but seeing her inner-child 6-year-old standing there saying it. (It’s hard to explain – it’s a knowing). And it was hilarious to me, because I just saw right through her. And so – well, I laughed. Like, abruptly, and loud. Not because I was laughing at her – but like, how a parent does when their kid is being bat shit hilarious. When they go so off the rails with their outbursts, or when their manipulation is so obvious, or when they’re being so hilariously dramatic that its just – hilarious, and you can’t help it (if you’re a parent, you know). I ALSO know the archetype of this kind of head-strong tough-girl person veeeeeeery well, AND her inner child, and so….

…..instinctively, and without filter, well… I belly laughed. And it was so out of the blue, in the midst of such stale lobby silence, that the nurse technician snapped her head up from her desk and yelled at me, telling me me to keep it down: “We’re trying to work over here,” she angrily gesticulated. “Keep. It. Down.” I turned towards the nurse, smiled, apologized for “the abruptness of my laughter, ma’am”…. but I doubled-down on laughing nonetheless by stating “However, Laughter is a medicine, ma’am, the best kind – and absolutely essential for one’s mental and psychological health” Madison’s mouth dropped open at this point — so I kept going “AND, ma’am – to be quite honest… We need a whole lot more of it up in this place.” 

 Well. That made the nurse very angry. And THAT made Madison VERY happy. And so – unseemingly – from that point on, Mad and I became best buds.

By Day 3, Madison finally joined for our nightly game of late-night Uno. But she asked me if she could come first, in private. The fact that she even asked it saddened me. It also made me angry at those who have owned her for so long. I stopped in my tracks. “Bro,” I turned face to face towards her, and put my hands on her shoulders. “Look at me.” I look my hands off her shoulders. “You don’t need my permission, or any one else’s permission. You get to decide these decisions for yourself, according to what you want to do. You wanna play Uno? Come play some fuckin’ Uno. Mad gets to decide for Mad. Just know you’re invited and welcome, always.” She smiled, and looked away, embarrassed for smiling. I dropped a hint about how I can’t wait for tonight’s late-night-snack, to which Mad sharply replied (without her stage slang) “Come on, bro. You of all people know by now that I have an eating disorder, too.” Those ice-blue eyes. They never lie. “Fair,” I grinned. She’d caught me redhanded. I looked away, annoyed at being caught and impressed with her observational and emotional awareness. I smiled, but with a vulnerable and authentic sadness. Care. “Stop bro,” she said. “I don’t do emotions.”

 I don’t know if it was the way she said it, or the what I saw in her eyes when she said it, but when she did – and I can’t explain this very well – it was like I immediately felt dropped into empathing with her entire person – right down to her soul – and I saw her. Who she really is. It’s an all-sudden-all-knowing/being/experiencing-of-their soul type connection that you just lock into. I can’t explain this. No analogy fits. I’ll attempt a new one: its like suddenly havin Iron Man’s “Jarvis” flip online in your body or something. It’s like everything comes online, you everything starts humming with a particular vibration/frequency, and just see/hear/understand/know. Ya know the Empathy phrase “Put your yourself in someone else’s shoes”? Well, its like that, but Empathy injected with Captain America’s super-soldier serum. It’s Empathy so strong and real, that you (in some inexplicable way) experience it for yourself. 

 Let’s just call this “soul seeing” for readability sake. 

 So, I find myself looking at Madison, hearing her say this “I don’t do emotions” thing, and then –wham- I find myself dropped into a “soul seeing ” vibration/frequency. I felt ALL kinds of helpless panic. Whoa whoa no no NO. Not ok. This is with TS and TS only. I don’t want to be connected with another person like this. Shut this down, dammit! And so assuming they were my thoughts (and “wrong” ones, thus sources of shame), I immediatley chasitized myself and proceeded to sever the connection.

But couldn’t. Still connected. Ego. I snarled. You bastard. I’ve learned since then. So I went to some new self-psyche emergency fail-safes and switched on my brain’s inner Batman signal, and sent him out like a blackbird into the aleyways of my brain to hunt for Ego, that merciless bastard. Perhaps he is responsible for hijacking the wheel of this connection train and trying to poison the waters.

 It’s not him, came the word from my inner Batman, after a thorough search of present conciousness. Ego is presently accounted for and controlled. Well, while that sounds nice, you never like to hear that news in your self-talk when you’re in a situation like this one. Because, it showed me that the connection was happening TO me, UPON me somehow, from something/someone outside myself, someone that was WANTING that connection to happen.

Well, aware of THAT (and disturbed by it) I immediately activated the nuclear arsenal and let fly the one bomb to end this unwelcome energy’s charade: In the name of JESUS, leave me I commanded.

 But it didn’t. And that freaked me out. Because I knew that force urging the connection could only be at least from God (who never goes against Himself) – but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to connect with another person in any way that felt like it belonged to TS. it felt weird and inappropriate (I didn’t know then that I was projecting my own fears from personal experiences and woundings/traumas). And so I was afraid. Deeply afraid. Please I prayed. I don’t want this with anyone else, I begged. Please. It felt like I was losing TS, and the whole thing was ending. And as soon as I felt the pinnacle of that, I immediately sensed/heard/  Its ok… I’m here….we are ok……We are Us…. Madison needs this…. We can Help her.… Use What you Know of Us To Heal…… 

It was like I suddenly understood. How I connect with God… is how I connect with TS… was like, the God channel was HER. Holy shit, I gawked. We could destroy planet Earth with our awesome.

“Say it again,” I said to Madison.”

 “I… don’t… do… emotions.” She kept staring at me. 

I see you, I thought. I smirked. “Oohhhh yes you do. You’re a softy, actually.”

 “Bitch!” she quipped. “I could lay you out right now,” she threatened, stepping closer and clenching her first. 

 “I don’t doubt it,” I calmly replied. “You could kick my ass. You’re a tough girl.” 

 “Damn right I’m tough,” she said. “Think you can get where I’ve gotten to and not be? I’m a tough bitch. I can do it all.” 

 “Except for emotions though, huh.” 

 She froze. “Hell no.”

 Ok, TS. Be with me. I locked-in. And took a breath, imagined I was giving my best friend the most loving hug/slap, and said:


 She flinched. Twisted. “WHAT did you call me?!”

 I see fiery ice start to reign wrath in Madison’s eyes. Those ice-blue eyes, peeking out of the web of tattoos across her face. Wow I realize. Madisons eyes are so pretty. I didn’t even realize. Does she realize? And I stare at her more. I sense her hardness starting to crack. Look at them, I felt/heard. So I looked into them, uncomfortably. And right away, I spotted a kind of softness, of soul. It was one I instantly recognzied, and knew of in only one other person. The same essence of soul. Then I start to notice: WhoaMadison has such beautiful eyes. Like, the’re just, deep. Does she know this? And shes extremely pretty. Dude, she could actually be a model! Holy cow she could totally get a job doing that, get out of her lifestyle – Does she know this? Surely she knows how pretty she is? Holy shit, no one around here has a clue, she has hid it so well. They don’t even know! Why would she do that? 

 I spotted the “T.R.A.S.H.” tattoo on her face, the top of the T resting under her left eye. And I understand.

 “It ok,” I said. “I wont tell anyone that you’re a big softie. Our secret.”

 Finally, FINALLY, she let go. The mask fell. The act drained from her face. The muscles of “tough girl” all relaxed. It was like, I finally met Madison.

 “Yeah…” she chuckled. And then her face got sad. I saw her remember something. Then her face got angry. “I’ve had to,” she said. “You don’t know.” 

 “I can’t even imagine, and I don’t blame you one bit, and you do your thang, Mad. Alllllso know that I see you under there. Under all your hiding-” 

 WHAM – Suddenly my consciousness is hit with the awareness and significance of a huge white teddy bear. And I feel the nudge of the Voice going go on and so I say “And whats with the Teddy bear”. 

 Madison’s smile melted. She froze. “What?” Her face got serious “How did you – what do you mean?” 

 “Teddy bear,” I said again. 

 I saw a tear form in Madison’s eye. 

 “Does that mean something to you?” I asked.

She nodded. 

“How did you know that?” She softly asked.

She is loved I heard/felt the voice say.

I smiled. “Magic.”

=====Continued in Part 2=====


  1. This is an incredible story, I enjoyed reading it very much and look forward to reading more. Very intriguing and wonderfully written. Is this based on a true story?

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