It’s funny that I didn’t stumble upon The Belonging Kind before today, considering what a huge Gibson nerd I was as a kid. It’s hit me hard. So much of my daily life feels like a performance, and unlike seemingly everyone I’ve ever known who’s felt the same way, I don’t hate it. I hate trying to hide it, and not being acknowledged for the work I put into it. I hate people assuming that because I’m actively presenting a face for them to see, that face must be in some way “not real” or a concealment of my true self.
It’s incredibly fucking hard to interact when it feels like every person is looking for the lie in everything I say, trying to prove me disingenuous, trying to categorize me based on my words. The less control I have over my output, the more unpredictable results it gets from the people I’m interacting with, the less I want to interact at all – one of the reasons I’m so bad at the phone. Zero useful input from the phone in terms of body language or expression, but I’m expected to behave coherently in responding to it anyway… yeah, I know. I’m a fucking alien. It just… hurts, being an alien.
That’s the worst part of it. My brain hurts, all the time, like whatever I am can’t breathe in this atmosphere. It’s just a little wrong, all the time. Just a little hard to see, a little hard to understand, a little slow to react, a little foggy on the details. The purest peace I have is when I’m listening to someone I love talk, or watching them do something. I don’t have to respond, I don’t have to have a face… I can just admire their face, bask in their light. It takes the pressure off, for a second.
I don’t mind being an alien. I just hate feeling alone, and forced to pretend I’m not an alien. I hate it that it’s so hard to find people who like the alien, rather than the pretense. I hate it when people look at that pretense and see a lie, instead of a desperate, fumbling attempt to make myself understood.
There is a place where it’s easy to think
the air somehow makes heavy things lighter
the nights are warmer,
the days are brighter,
time doesn’t slip away each time you blink.
There’s somewhere we don’t get headaches all day.
Somewhere words matter, and people listen,
anything other than gold that glistens.
Surely if I find the right words to say…
It hurts to discover my enemy.
It hurts to recognize that face as mine.
It hurts to realize that I’m so unkind;
the creature snapping at my heels is me.
If we could both leave our faces behind
then I could see what you need me to see.