This Is Us

My Lifelong Battle Against Intrusive Thoughts

Confrontations with God, a tollbooth, and the Devil

Daniel Williams
Human Parts
Published in
11 min readMar 21, 2021

--

Illustrations by the author

I used to pray a strange prayer:

“Dear God, prune the roots.”

I saw my mind as a magical tree, but I feared it wasn’t mighty enough. What if it’s only a bonsai? I wanted God to go underground, down to the roots and trim them, snip off their tapered decisions to stop reaching, encourage them to dig deeper into the earth.

“But bonsais are so beautiful,” you say.

You’re not wrong. And I love you.

God’s pruning would make the root system vast. Imagine oceans of water sent up and up into the bonsai. It would have a choice to make. Either expand like a balloon, becoming a water bomb the size of EPCOT, and explode — or grow to the height of a sequoia, a redwood, and freakishly beyond, a tree so gigantic that the moon nests in its branches.

Why did I pray this? To be noticed, of course. I knew by instinct that it’s difficult to ignore a brain so big it swallows the moon.

--

--

Daniel Williams
Human Parts

A poverty-stricken, soft Batman by night. Illustrator and writing teacher by day. Previously: McSweeney’s, Slackjaw.