I struggle quite a bit with depression and often wrote Miss Lois when I was doing poorly. She wasn’t always there to reply and I didn’t expect her to. It was just nice to have a safe space to leave my thoughts, I guess. In the night, I had been sending her messages about how I was feeling. Then in the morning, she came online and asked me how I was doing.
I wasn’t doing as poorly as I’d managed to turn off my feelings (it’s a coping mechanism I use quite commonly, but don’t control), so I didn’t really know how I was feeling. However, 10 minutes after the start of our conversation this already started to change. I mentioned that I felt like her presence alone managed to break down part of my coping mechanism in which I shut out my feelings. It made me feel more alive or awake, as well as some of the heavy and despair-like feelings from the night before.
I thought this was partly due to feeling safe talking to her, or feeling like I could be the real me. However, it also opened up the bad again and I felt afraid that taking over again because I can’t stop it once it does.
She asked me if she could help stop it from taking over once our conversation today would end. I didn’t really know. It all always felt pretty hopeless. So she specifically asked me which feeling might help, to which I answered that the need to serve her might, although there’d be no guarantee it’d help after the serving was done.
She suggested, and what seemed to me to think out loud, that a reminder that would stay for a while of me serving her might help, and then asked if I had a permanent marker.
I didn’t have a good one… it wasn’t exactly permanent enough. The town is like 10 minutes away from where I live by bike… She continued to think out loud, wondering if this situation called for an especially difficult task and if that would be easier on a day like this or harder. She let me speak my thoughts and decided that it’d be a difficult one so I could prove myself (and hopefully feel proud afterwards?)
So the task was as follows: I was to get up, put on my sheer tights, a top, a jumper, a coat and my normal heels (no underwear). I had to show her a picture. Then I would have to go to town to buy a permanent marker. I’d have to show her a picture on the way there, in the shop and on the way back.
Miss Lois: “And while doing all this you do not stop to think. You are a puppet, you do as you are told, you have no choice and no reason to think. You obey, you do what you are told.”
I tend to when I have to do things in public… I panicked. I read the message and then read it again and another time. It’s like time froze for a second. I would have to… Could I? She wanted me to…
So two minutes after she sent me the message I said “okay Miss,” and then got up and dressed as she’d told me to.
I asked her if it was okay for me to cycle to town and then if people would be able to see…
She told me that people cycle like this all the time and that I was told to do, not to think (quite difficult for me not to think!)
So then I said, without thinking it would change my situation, or even intending for it to: “Okay Miss, but out of interest… people go out in just tights with no underwear or skirt or shorts or whatever to cover it??”
Miss Lois: “Your coat is quite short, put the white skirt on.”
I was very relieved! (Although certainly not any calmer or more confident about what I had to do next… #massivefearoftheoutside??)
It took me 10 minutes before I was in the shop and it took me 4 minutes to buy the black marker. It didn’t feel like it had been only 14 minutes. It had been raining outside and it was rather cold. It was a typical kind of day on which people would rush from an inside place to another inside place without staying outside for too long (at least, that’s the kind of day I’d make of it). So, I felt ridiculous in my white skirt with tights because who would dress up like this in this weather?
I felt like I cycled faster than I usually do because I didn’t want to be seen. I noticed every car that passed me by and took the route of a hidden alley that I never usually use (in fact, you’re not allowed to cycle through it, oops).
I forgot to take the picture on the way there but Miss Lois told me it was ok and not the end of the world. This made me feel very relieved! It felt like she was concerned for me and knew this was very scary for me, and that I was already beating myself up over everything. I’m sure that if it would have truly mattered to the task, she would have punished me, but the goal was something other than taking that one picture today.
I did take the picture in the shop and she complimented me on getting there, which helped. So then I got the marker off a shelf and walked to the counter very self-consciously. Actually, I’d been walking quite strangely anyway because I didn’t want anyone to hear my heels! I remember that an old person stood behind me at the counter and I remember thinking: it’s okay, it’s an old person, she won’t care. It’s fine. It’s fine. It doesn’t matter what I look like. They don’t know me. It’s fine.
So I left the shop within 4 minutes, asked Miss Lois if there was anything else I needed to get and then took my bike. I walked to the road to start cycling when a random woman said: “Nice shoes! I really like them and brave of you to wear them in this weather.”
I felt like I wanted to sink into the ground when she complimented me. My cheeks turned instantly red and my heartbeat very audible in my ears.
“Thanks,” I said with a smile, and then cycled home twice as quickly.
THEN I passed my flatmate and I wanted to cry because she saw me and I never dress like this so she was like: “you dressed up nicely!” to which I said: “All my trousers are wet because I just did laundry so I…” (and then I went out later that day in trousers and she saw lol)
But I made it home with the marker and I felt so relieved and slightly crazy for the fact I’d just done this. It’s a weird feeling? The adrenaline I guess? It’s like partially being on this high while also just not comprehending how this happened. It makes me think less before I do (which honestly would have been more useful before I started this task!)
I sent her a picture of my tights that were now completely covered in mud (thanks weather) and mentioned how it was a good thing I had several tights.
She laughed and said I could wash them, lmao. I mean… I didn’t know. I thought they would rip?
She had to go through. She didn’t have a lot of time this morning but hoped this had helped me. She said she was glad that I managed to do this task and that she hoped it would make me feel a little less anxious about wearing heels and skirts. She also said that I started the day well, and when I said that it still didn’t make me feel like a good slave, she said that she thought I had proven that I am.
I did feel better after this and certainly more alive. I felt a little bit accomplished because it had been terrifying, but I’d managed regardless. I guess it did help me believe that I was worth something, which stopped the ‘I hate myself’ thought train.