It’s about the 7th grade quest program, standing in front of the sheet getting my picture taken in a full classroom, answering that question they wanted you to answer, with “I want to be a writer,” and hearing about a dozen assholes start laughing and saying “what, you want to write stuff down like, a, b, c and stuff?” and me not even being able to understand how they could not know what a writer was.
It’s about the fact that they didn’t feel stupid about this, but that I did.
It’s about the history teacher/football coach who made no correction and just laughed.
It’s about being told that there weren’t any answers to my questions, that I just needed to have faith and trust God when the things I was told were true made no intellectual sense to me.
It’s about being told that I just needed to pray and I would feel better about myself. And maybe I needed to read the bible instead of all those stupid alien books I carried around with me.
It’s about me not saying “but I’ve read the bible five times. The whole thing. Have you?”
It’s about watching my daughter curled up in fetal position on the kitchen floor, crying and whispering “I hate the way I am.”
It’s about me remembering doing that myself in my room.
It’s about realizing that it was my anger and criticism that made her collapse that way.
It’s about me being told I felt like this because I wasn’t right with God, and that I needed to pray and confess and he would heal me.
It’s about, even after all these years, me still believing that might be true.
It’s about thinking it made sense when people would say “Well, of course my child is afraid of black people. Every time you see a crime report on the news, it’s a black person who did it.”
It’s about thinking it was funny when one of my uncles, when asked to do something, responded with “I ain’t your nigger, woman!”
It’s about wanting to throw up when I think about that now.
It’s about me saying to my best friend “I think prejudice is wrong, but if there’s one that’s ok, it’s the one against gay people because that’s just gross and that’s what the bible says, anyway.”
It’s about a secret that best friend knew he could never tell me.
It’s about looking at my wife when I come out of the fog, and realizing that I’ve put her through it again, and I don’t know how to heal any of it.
It’s about realizing exactly how my son learned it was ok to throw things at people and curse when he’s mad.
It’s about always knowing what I wanted, but never thinking I could be good enough, so deciding to live the back-up plan and pretending it’s the real one.
It’s about doing that until I couldn’t anymore, and then life imploding.
It’s about looking in the mirror and knowing, on some level, how it’s all going to end.
It’s about coming up for air and realizing the world is still here, and some of it even still wants me in it.
It’s about taking the meds just so I can feel normal and behave.
It’s about wanting to go off the meds because I find out I hate being normal and behaving.
It’s about sticking with it because it’s for me, for me to accomplish what I want to accomplish, not to make other people feel comfortable.
It’s about getting frustrated with people you love because they don’t see what you see, and continue dividing people between the damned and the blessed, and use politics to deny rights to the people they feel uncomfortable accepting.
It’s about realizing if you want people to meet you where you are, you have to do the same thing. Even if you feel like a lot of the people in your past didn’t give you the same courtesy.
It’s about knowing you’re building walls and feeling sad about that, but needing to build them anyway.
It’s about realizing some fights are just not worth it.
It’s about realizing some fights are.
It’s about realizing I’m the one who gets to make that decision.
It’s about being sick of statements that begin with “Can’t you just …”, “I don’t know why you have to…”, and “Is that really necessary?”
It’s about thinking it’s funny that some who read this will just roll their eyes. Because yes, there I DO go again.
It’s about me staking out territory for me and people like me.
It’s about taking a big sigh of relief and wondering if, now that it’s out, if I’ll be brave enough to post it. Or If I won’t because I know people won’t understand, and will start ending my wife emails asking if I am ok. (answer: yes. If you can read this, I am very much ok).
So, if you can read this, you know what I decided.