The good thing about injury, the thing that nobody tells you about, is its illustrious way of heaving you from a globe of invincibility into a capsule of introversion. I think that’s where I am now…being woven into things most uncertain, visceral, and hurtful. It isn’t the first time in my life I’d have to face the ugliest parts of myself. And as I sit here, curled up onto a canvas of white, I feel comforted knowing I’m not alone.
My apprehension of myself has been learned through the mistrust of others. (Some lineal act.) I have, oftentimes, been referred to as “too nice.” And it is that quality that I’ve come to embrace as my own, even in the face of pain. The thing about kindness that people forget, is that it is not created from the absence of problems, but the ability to look past one’s own issues; to be able provide solace and peace to another. My father always reminded me that smiling was a sign of weakness to others—the predatory kind—the kind of people that waited around for opportunities named Youth.
Years of whispered threats and finger-play begging to be watched underneath the slab of communal seating. I hated her. I hated her for the way she made me feel as though I was to blame. I hated her for the way she took stake in my fears, even as I had slept. Those eyes burned past my innocence. I dreaded our chance encounters. I knew she’d be the culprit of such emotion for many years to come. I knew I’d do anything to rid myself of these memories and lose the ability in becoming a capacitor to such slavery. I wanted an out in any way it could be granted.
Years of discovery were defined by attributions. I wanted my skin to scream out in a man’s regard. I wanted it to smell of jasmine flower and bergamot. Desire followed me in the way crickets longingly pursue nightfall. That became the music of the years after. I defined myself in an expression of my want of a rougher touch. I couldn’t understand a person who had inhibitions about intimacy, for it was the way, in my mind, that I could fend off unwanted suitors. It was difficult for me to accept anyone with tribadistic ideals, or anyone that was not attracted to members of the opposite sex. It was difficult for me to love myself. It was impossible for me to love anyone unlike myself. It was an arbitrary sort of ostracizing. No one was allowed in.
Twelve years ago appears like a mirror doused in steam. I’m far from the place of initial infliction. It’s hard for me to be reminded of events that aren’t from the now. We all sit for a late-night showing. I have a slight feeling of uneasiness that’s masked by my pace of drinking. Even I don’t know it as everyone follows suit. The bride-to-be makes her way over to the other side of the table, proudly donning phallic paraphernalia. “It’s a rite of passage, isn’t it?” She beams as she turns in exhibit. And as he performs, one by one, sequined, bulged, and bright, I forget the formalities we’re taught. I lose myself in the drone of the busied lights and lip-synching. I smile as I approach a performer afterwards doused in sweat and a breathless pant. I tell her how beautiful she is, not for one second seeing her as anything other than a person deserving to be loved. The way I finally love myself.