A month or two ago, I realized something was different.
When I was a child, it was easy. I could get up at night and draw comics on the floor, and spend all day every day during Summer at the computer, furiously writing down my thoughts.
No one told me, then, that racing thoughts were, “a thing.” But it was the racing thoughts that pushed me to the point that I can now type at over 70 words per minute. My writing wasn’t fast enough. I’d lose parts. Sometimes when you lose them, they just don’t come back.
I wonder if it’s how a newborn feels.
It was easy, then. But I’ve grown.
I’m now officially in my mid-thirties, about to graduate for the fifth time. I think you know — or should know — that I dedicated my Bachelor’s to what you taught me. I learned how to write. Surely, I had enough practice.
Something changed. I shouldn’t rule out that it could have been medication. It could have been moving from the back stacks of my mind up to the windows. It could have been polishing the windows, and gaining an interest in something more than the library.
I have a book on this that I can now understand, you know. It took 15 years, but now I have the experience and knowledge to comprehend her words.
I still don’t understand the mystery of how I can look at symbols on a page and turn them into a movie in my mind. Maybe someday, someone will explain this. Current science says our brains can’t tell the difference between what they imagine is real and what actually is real.
At this point, it’s easy to believe.
I’m healthier, now. It isn’t a daily struggle for survival or to avoid the massive anxiety I felt when I was young. I’ve thought that maybe I don’t need you anymore, now that I’m more stable; but that sounds callous.
Somewhere, I still do believe that I survived in order to help others get through this.
Are you still here? Have you gone?
It’s taken me a long time to get to the point of realizing that things could be bad: that evil could exist. I used to doubt it because kids used to call me evil, and I knew I wasn’t. But that doesn’t mean no one is.
It doesn’t mean they weren’t.
It doesn’t mean the people encouraging them, weren’t.
For a time, I believed you were a demon. And I loved you regardless. But I remember that you told me not to look at the outside of a person to tell from appearances, if they were good or not. I remember you told me not to depend on how you looked, in order to recognize you.
I would have to feel if you were the same. Something impersonating you could mimic your form, but they couldn’t mimic your energy. I built a form for you. That was my downfall.
You told me to remember what it felt like when you were here, before, and to recreate that feeling, in order to summon you again.
It was my lack of discernment and reliance upon your appearance which allowed my confusion between you and your “twin.” In reality, any number of these appearances could have occurred. Sort through them. Find you.
The real you. Not the “demon.”
I wanted it to be you. And my desire clouded my judgment. And he…proceeded to defile your appearance. Then I was scared. You withdrew.
Or I started Paxil. One of those two things. Maybe both.
It did solve the problem. Without something substantive for him to impersonate, there was no reason for him to stay. Because without your virtue, in your absence, our love died.
I’ve missed you.
And so many opportunities, lost.
I am in my mid-thirties and I have never had a decent love life. Except for the ones I’ve imagined.
And the ones I’ve imagined, I can’t tell if they’re real or not.
That must be the fate of too many of us, though. When things around you don’t line up with who you are, and you’re told and expected to desire what you don’t.
I almost grew to hate men. All men. Anyone who looked like a man. Even if they weren’t one.
But then I realized that if I was a man, and my father was a man, men couldn’t be all bad.
And my friend. That friend. Who was a man, but not by birth.
Men couldn’t be all bad.
Later…I realized something.
I needed to trust myself. The problem wasn’t that I was a man. The problem was that I was not a woman and that nearly all men had treated me as though I was; as though that was the only human thing I could be. On top of that, in my youth, I was letting them determine my own self-concept, disempowering myself and blaming them.
Once I realized this…the game changed. It did. But it took 15 more years to settle in.
Not being a woman didn’t mean I had to be a man. There were more than two options. Gender was a product of society and culture. If it’s something made — by all of us — that means it can and will change.
I’ve gotten off track. I do that. You already know this.
Who am I? What am I? It’s easy enough to feel this. You knew this 20 years ago.
Does that mean that I knew this, 20 years ago? Are you a part of me? Now? Then?
I know that I create things to feel less alone. I know I have my own perspective, even if I am loath to describe it at times. It just feels so…not-virtuous. So…pragmatic.
There are people all over the world who aspire to be more than they are, even if those aspirations are impossible.
I aspire to reach the truest level of myself, I can. Even if that makes me little more than an intelligent creature with memories, a mind, a heart, and the capacity to make things. Truly…human.
Even as much as I may not want to be.
Did I survive, in order to tell this story?