sorchawench: (Mouse)
[personal profile] sorchawench
The "Copernican principle"—when you get past the solar system aspect, essentially says we are not the center of the universe, but a part of a larger whole. As far as each of us is concerned, each individual is positioned at the center of his or her own universe.

I was the center of my universe and favored by the Gods, until 11:50AM on November 3rd, 2014. That was when they placed the shiny metal handcuffs around my wrists and put me in the backseat of the police cruiser. Arresting me for having some unpaid tickets that had gone to warrant.

It was then that the realization hit me that I was far smaller than the rest of the cosmos.

It was here, at that moment in time, that I realized that my self-centered universe was false and crumbling fast.

The police cruiser took me to the center of town, to the county lockup. I was assisted from the backseat and placed in a chair. A woman in scrubs, armed with a clipboard, began to ask me questions.

Do you take any medications?

Do you have any health issues?

Have you been depressed in the past year?

I think I answered them satisfactorily....but I couldn't tell you what I said. The roar of a thousand oceans filled my ears and my vision had narrowed to pinpoints. Over and over, like a twisted mantra in my head, was a long drawn out scream. I was afraid to voice it, for fear it would begin and last forever.

They took my watch, my necklace, my shoes, and my hair tie. I was patted down, just like they show in the movies. My movements felt stiff and robotic. I responded to commands, but could only give one word answers to questions. The scream threatening to escape from behind my locked jaws.

My universe was a creation of my own mind. I'm not saying I was self-centered in the sense that I was preoccupied with myself or was self absorbed, but my view of the totality of existence was composed of my own thoughts and feelings. The outside world was just that. Something outside myself and perceived as something separate.

I was placed in a windowless room, behind a thick steel door. I believe the normal term is the holding tank. I stood against one wall, stiff and inflexible. The other two ladies in the cell offered to make room for me on the single bench seat, but I declined, afraid that if I bent, even enough to sit, I might snap in half and fall apart.

I stood there for two hours. Shifting my stance slightly, but never relaxing. Outside, in another cell, we could hear a man screaming and banging on the door. Most likely he was high on something illegal, but I could feel close to that insanity that I felt I might join him.

After about an hour and a half, a Deputy came and took me out. He took me to the fingerprinting room, took my picture and my prints, and explained that I would shortly be released, as my Father was there to pay my fine. My level of relief and gratitude at that point could not be measured.

After about two hours in the holding tank, I was processed and released. But I knew that the woman who left for college that morning was fundamentally changed forever, and that the woman who walked out of the county lockup facility was somewhat more wounded and scarred by loss of her world view.

And if that wasn't enough of a message from the Fates, God, or the Universe at large, 2 days later, I lost my job.

My universe has been ripped from me, leaving jagged gouges where once were smooth plains. I feel as though I've been strip mined by Fate. My forests slashed and burned, my seas littered with the garbage I refused to acknowledge floated around me.

The scream still threatens to escape me. Even though that most terrifying part of my life is now behind me. The scream is the physical manifestation of the awareness that I can no longer walk in surety of my own God-like status.

And yet, despite this, I do not have cause for despair. We humans are, as far as we know, the only species that can actually recognize its place in the universe. The bigger universe that surrounds us. And make changes within ourselves that affect that universe.

The paradox of the Copernican Principle is that, by properly understanding our place, even when that knowledge comes at such high costs, we can only then truly understand our surroundings.

And by being able to do that, we.....rather I.....can make changes to my world.

Date: 2014-11-19 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you.

Date: 2014-11-19 09:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My level of relief and gratitude at that point could not be measured.

When my dad came to rescue me from jail, I literally asked the officers to let me stay the night.

You really captured the fear and resignation that comes from such an experience so, so well. I almost had flashbacks.

Date: 2014-11-19 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you. I'm sorry for almost flashbacks.

Date: 2014-11-19 03:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I remember how lost, alone and utterly terrified I was back in June 2000 when I got arrested. I was innocent, but it was a drug charge on Canadian soil - for a stupid perfume oil I picked up at a hippie shop. Couldn't eat or drink the vial - it was poison! But it turned the baggie purple in the quick lab test, and that meant it had hemp oil in it. I was arrested and spent the longest six hours of my life in solitary confinement until my partner managed to pull enough money from relatives to pay my bail. I had to go into court the next day, which was terrifying.

I got lucky. I had a good judge, and when the court system saw what I had been arrested for, they promptly dropped the charges and let me go with an apology. Canada, you know? But still - mid-Western Canada, very conservative, very redneck, and not as friendly as you might imagine. Especially when you dress in black and wear a pentacle. I think if I had been dressed in bright pink, they wouldn't have scrutinized my bag so strongly. No one else that day got the treatment myself and my partner did when they checked us at customs. White, openly Christian families went through customs without a blink. They searched every inch and pocket of D and I, looking for anything. And they found it in something so completely insignificant. That bitch was so happy. I had never seen so much dark glee outside of a schoolyard or a movie before that.

I had PTSD for years afterward. I'm mostly over it now, but only because I haven't been arrested since. Truth is, I don't know how people do it. How do repeat offenders just accept arrest and imprisonment as if it is just another day? As if it's no big deal?

For me, it was like my lungs collapsed. I was terrified. I was so desolately alone that if they had come to rape or torture me, I would have nearly almost welcomed it. They would check on me every once in a while, like looking at a monkey in a zoo or a lab rat in a cage. If I could have taken my life in there, I would have. And that was only six hours!

I've faced degrees of as bad and worse, over the intervening fourteen and a half years. I grew up in poverty, eaten alive by fleas and crawled on by roaches. Yet, that stupid six hour stint still ranks as six of the worst hours in my entire life. And while it didn't destroy my pagan faith at the time, it began the decline in beliefs that has now fully manifested into my current anti-theism - the first grains of sand or snow that precipitates the avalanche.

(And you know? I have to wonder, had I gone to Winnipeg after 9/11, would they have bothered with us? Probably not. Instead, in our place I reckon there would have been some poor brown skinned person who also just wanted to go home on a Sunday afternoon.)

Date: 2014-11-19 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lost, alone, and utterly terrified is a good way of describing it. I'm sorry that you had to experience that.

terrWhat a

Date: 2014-11-19 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What a terrible experience! I hope things turn around for you soon.

Re: terrWhat a

Date: 2014-11-20 12:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So do I. Thank you.

Date: 2014-11-19 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hugs* Prison seems awful to me, and I don't know why humans do it to each other. I panic every time I'm close to a police officer or a police car.

Date: 2014-11-20 01:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I felt like that when I was a gutter rat, pretty much always. Just constantly vulnerable and exposed, like my freedom and safety were always in questions. I'd get especially nervous in nicer areas, like everybody could just smell that somebody like me wasn't supposed to be there (not literally, fortunately, it was easy to get into the local college's dormitories for a shower).

Date: 2014-11-20 07:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMG..*Hugs*..hope you are better now..take care. God bless. <3

Date: 2014-11-20 12:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Things are getting better slowly. Thank you.

Date: 2014-11-20 10:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think even the Copernican Principle has a hard time communicating the orbital variation made when one encounters events such as these. It's been one hell of a November though, eh? So sorry that miseries have come in lumps, but I believe you'll make it through.

Date: 2014-11-20 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh wow. This is...I don't even know what to say.

I'm sorry you went through that.

Date: 2014-11-21 12:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm sorry you have gone through so much recently (?). I went to jail once when I was in college, too (shhh, don't tell).
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