I learned what kindness really was in front of a microphone in a room with several hundred other people. Kindness is an expressive art as much as music or writing or dance. And I learned to begin practicing kindness. Just like we need to practice music or writing or dance. I felt good – I felt control. I felt like I could choose good even when everyone around me chooses bad. I became better.
But not happier.
I learned what words really meant in a public library. Words are all arbitrary, and there’s no such thing as a denotation. There’s only connotations, and inflections, and perceptions. I think I fell in love. I haven’t been the same. I think I love words the way I’m supposed to love people. I think I’m ruined and doomed. I am so afraid. I’m a character in a stream-of-consciousness story. Some of the pages have been torn out. Some of the sentences have been scrawled over. Some sections are highlighted. I am in a relationship with stories, and stories are breaking up with me.
I learned to own my anger on a charter bus to New York City, blanket-wrapped and pillow-propped against the window seat, listening to anthems for vengeful, abused girls. Songs that taught me how to blame, how to fight, and how to make suffering sexy. You wrote about your trauma and torn innocence so I wouldn’t have to. And so many girls wouldn’t have to. And millions of girls won’t have to.
Girls find you with raw, bleeding arms and tearstained faces and crumpled up, sweat-dampened sheets of paper with bad poetry on them because we didn’t know how to get the words out without dying. Girls live vicariously through song – I can face him, I can reach down his throat and tear my innocence from out of his body and put it back where it belongs. I can kill him.
I’ve spent a lot of time – some odd number of years – wondering what I would say in a suicide note. I’ve written a few. Never could finish any of them. Because I really don’t know what to say. I’m sorry? I love you? My biggest fear has always been hurting people. I’m always so quick to apologize, to ask for permission, to check and double check and triple check boundaries so that I never push anyone into a place they don’t want to be, and I don’t want anyone to live a lifetime of confusion and pain and grief because of me.
I wish I didn’t care, honestly. I didn’t give a fuck about any of you so that I could just off myself already. This is exhausting. It isn’t always bad, but it’s bad often enough that I’m tired all the time. Every second is a constant struggle to see the “bright side.” I’m always making the best of things. Always being thankful that things aren’t worse.
I’m so, so, so tired.
Living like this is like never getting enough sleep and always needing to sit down and I don’t know how to make it stop.
I can’t fix this. Literally no one can fix this. I mean. I’m too fucking spent to even bother trying to make this sound poetic. It isn’t poetic. It’s dry and unspecial and basic.
Someone asked me a few minutes ago to tell them about my dreams for the future.
I want to win an Academy Award for best original screenplay. I want to fall in love and sleep next to somebody and not care that I don’t know how to take care of myself. I want to create art that puts a stamp on a year, on a generation, on a perspective. I want to be warm all the time. I want to be okay. I want to be enough.
But I can’t.
I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.
I won’t get rid of myself tonight but when I do (because I will someday) I just need for you all to not be sad.
I sat next to this one on a bench and watched viral videos. Each I laughed I caught myself moving just a little closer. He has a soft, sturdy shoulder. He didn’t seem to mind the slight weight of my leaning on him.
I let him down once, so he hugged me – long, strong. His arms said, “It’s okay.”
This one is safe to like, and safe to write about.
There’s no danger here.
It’s not forever. Matter is neither created nor destroyed, and maybe the same goes for consciousness. I’ll come back when the world is ready – when humankind achieves star travel, and ignorance is rare, and no one laughs at rape jokes. When enough of the world is ready to love me the way my soul needs to be loved, I’ll hear the earth calling. I’ll collect my particles from all corners of the galaxy and return, and I’ll be happy.
But I’m not happy here, in this time, without star travel, where ignorance is bliss and trauma is a punchline. I’m a glitch in the universe. I’m a premature hatchling. This environment is too hostile.
I just need to leave for a while, back to the nebula I was born in. But “it is too far. I cannot carry this body with me. It is too heavy.”
I will look dead, but I promise I am not.
This here is just a body.
But I am in the sky.
Remember how you refused to tell me to go? How you left puzzle pieces and dead-end mazes and riddles, all leading to a different part of what could have been a sweet, honest, gentle “I don’t want you.”
Remember how you came back? Twice?
Remember how I sent you away each time?
It’s true that I’m always right.
I know that you loved me, just as much as I loved you. I know that you thought yourself “too cool” for love. Too cool for faithfulness, for commitment, for eternity.
I’m so glad that you miss me.
I’m so glad that it doesn’t matter to me.