Intuition, Premonition, and the Body

This is a story in three parts. It chronicles three times when I had physical symptoms that led to surprising, real-world revelations in my little universe of one.

Is intuition something you’re born with? Can it be trained? Can anyone train up their intuition, or are certain people better attuned to whatever it is that makes intuition possible?

Because it’s true: intuition is entirely possible. I’m not talking about predicting the future with any real specificity, at least for me. I’m referring to something more general. The only real problem is that I don’t have control over much of it.

This article does include discussion of self harm and implied abuse. The self harm came about for a variety of reasons, but a huge factor in the whole thing was my sensitivity to emotions and energy, of myself and others, without a single clue as to how to handle them in a healthy manner. It was just too much, and the self harm became one way I cut through the noise.

I’m not defending it. It’s just my experience. And for whatever it’s worth, I had to do it more and more to get the desired effect as time passed. Plus, the relief didn’t last long at all before I was craving for another hit, so to speak.

Photo by Hanna Postova on Unsplash

Grandmother Dying

I was ten years old. My brother was eight, soon to be nine. A handful of months prior, our grandfather died.

We both went to the same elementary school. There was an area out front, where the buses picked up kids. There was another area where car riders got picked up. I had no reason, consciously, to walk over to the car-rider area. But I knew that was where I needed to be, so I led my brother there. I’ll never forget what my dad said to us: “Grandma has… passed away.”

Apparently, she and my dad were eating Chinese takeout for lunch, and she suffered a massive heart attack. Incidentally, a few days prior, she opened a fortune cookie with no fortune inside. It was a morbid, running joke in our family for a while that this was an omen.

Brother Throwing Me Under Bus

Cold. Cold, from the back of my head, down to the base of my spine. I can’t explain it, but I lived it.

I was in band in school from ages 11 to 15, playing clarinet. And I was good. I made symphonic, the exclusive faction, as a freshman in high school. We went to competition, and I had to wear this god-awful dress: white over the bust area with lacy applique, long black satiny skirt down to my ankles. I wore black pants underneath.

The only other thing I remember of that night, before we got back to our hometown, was the cold feeling I had, from the top of my head to the base of my spine. I didn’t know anything about anatomy or chakras. But this feeling was intractable. It wasn’t any kind of cold I could explain to an external party. It needs to be felt to be understood.

What you have to know is that my brother, younger by around 17 months, was blackmailing me. Blackmail, I’ve always thought, is generally a terrible thing to do to someone, much less a sibling. And what he was blackmailing me about was the fact that I was cutting myself. He did this in order to force me to help him steal from our parents.

But apparently, he had cut himself a few times in order to gain “positive attention,” from our folks. This was stupid in many ways. I had not, myself, received positive attention due to my self-harming activities, in the first place. I genuinely did not understand why on earth he chose to do this, and I probably never will.

All I knew at the time was that the cold feeling stayed on me after the performance, through the bus ride back to our town, as I waited for one of my parents to pick me up after we arrived.

When we got home, it was around 11:40 PM. My bag was dumped out on the table, and my clarinet case was searched as well.

Here’s the deal: cell phones were cost-prohibitive at the time, for most people in the semi-rural area where we lived. It was 2004. What happened next still makes my skin crawl to think about, but it’s not germane to this particular article. The point is, I had no way of knowing and of this was going on, and yet somehow, I picked up on it.

A Missed Exam

Once upon a time, during a particularly brutal finals week, I had been extremely sleep-deprived and decided I would take a nap around six in the morning, so I could be at least a little refreshed for my exam. The time slot ran from 9 AM to 10:30 AM.

So, predictably, I woke up at 10:25. My dorm was only a few minutes away from the professor’s office, on foot, and I rolled out of bed, put my shoes on, grabbed my bag, phone, and cigarettes, and booked it. (I no longer smoke, but in this situation, there’s no way I wouldn’t light up with the front door of the dorm still closing behind me.)

I had no guarantee that he would be in his office that day. But my intuition pulled me in that direction, and I was fueled by such intense panic that I could not think beyond it. Really, it was sheer luck that he happened to be there.

At first, the instructor said no when I asked to take a makeup exam. Crushed, I walked out of his office and sat down in the outdoor stairwell, lighting up another cig as tears rolled down my cheeks. This would have shifted my entire life plan, and I was horrified by that prospect. (Little did I know, my entire life plan would be scrapped anyway.)

Then I thought, “Fuck it. I’m going back in there. Worst he can do is say no again. I have nothing to lose here.”

He was on the phone with the TA for the course and held up his hand to indicate that I should wait. When he got off the phone, he informed me that the TA had talked him into changing his mind.

I wanted to take the exam right then, but he insisted that I go somewhere to get a coffee and some food. I only agreed because he pushed me on it. My study materials were in my bag anyway, so I could use the time wisely.

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London Graves

London Graves

Queer vegan cryptid trying their best to survive late-stage capitalism while helping others do the same.