I’m defective. I can’t figure out if I was born this way or if it was a conscious decision. At five years old, I remember noticing other kids getting super dupes grossed out by spinach and deciding that I would love spinach. Around the time that I reached puberty, I remember deciding that I, absolutely and without a doubt, should not and would not get married (ever) or have children. I remember thinking that I could actually fly before I hit puberty. At 16, I remember astral projecting across my tiny town. I’ve never worked in an office. I’m a female line cook, in a sea of really really male line cooks. I willfully ignore grammar in favor of rhythm. I try to find the “hard way” and I call it the “scenic route.” I don’t know how I got here. I’m 43 and my mind still works this way.
I’m afraid of this defective nature. I don’t understand why I am “other.” My point of view, my poetry, my ideas, my stand up, my art, my love letters are all defective.
I’ve tried. When we moved to this tiny town from danger city (San Francisco), I saw the church on every corner. I watched people stream in and out of the church that owned the little old house, where we lived, every Sunday. I watched them walk in, furtive expressions on their sleepy heads. And, every Sunday, I watched them walk out with hugs and smiles and comfort.
Over the next year, I read every religious book I could get my hands on.
Bible (old and new)
Tao Te Ching
The Satanic Bible
Einstein’s theory of relativity
I even called that number and ordered the “Bounce Back” cassette tape from the Latter Day Saints.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
I wanted to believe. I craved the comfort and community that these “working” humans had. It didn’t work for me. Like, at all.
My mother asked me, her 12 year old weirdo daughter, “what did you learn?”
“Mom, I learned that humans have written manuals to control their basic human nature and to explain away their fucked up actions.”
I’ve fallen in love. I’ve been, what they call, a serial monogamist. I almost had an accidental kid that I caught from sex. I didn’t. I was too young. My brain took over and I had her removed. I just knew she was a girl. She has always been a girl in the countless dreams featuring her. Featuring “us.” I’m an auntie to the hordes of children that my working friends have had and actual auntie to the two that my little big brother has with his wife. My brother and I share DNA and inside jokes, but he “works” and I’m “defective.”
I applied to college. I got in. I didn’t get to go (long story). I’ve gone to city college, years later, and worked to get all A’s and was only able to achieve an AA. In seven years. I learned. I gained knowledge. I never understood the value of a degree. The value in being “educated.” I understand the value of knowledge. The learning process makes sense to me, but I couldn’t care less about a degree. In physics, I willfully remembered just enough to get an A because I do not want the world to be explained. I want the world to be magic. Because, I’m defective.
I’m wildly popular. I’ve made myself that way. On purpose. People love me. My extremely well paid and successful cousin, Josh, tells me that it’s my most “marketable” thing. Not my skills, not my mind, not even my beautiful ass, but, my “it ness.”
Here’s the thing, the very first thought that flits through my mind when someone tells me that they like me, admire me, love me or even that I’m funny or beautiful is, “you’re wrong. I’m defective. You are attracted to my “otherness” and if you only knew how broken and fucked up that I actually am, you would run away right now and banish me from your thoughts. I’m a novelty. Run away. Now.”
My little big brother sez “oh poor me! Everybody loooooooves me,” in a high pitched and mocking voice. I laugh.
Writing is truth. Writing is poetry and beauty. Writing is pain. Writing is laughing out loud alone. Writing is every stupid thing that I must type in order to be honest. Writing is harder than acting. Writing is harder than singing. Writing is creating an understanding between the writer and the reader. I don’t even understand it myself. I don’t understand the human condition. I don’t understand humans and the choices that they make. I don’t understand the drive to live, to survive, to pair up and populate the earth. I don’t understand owning land and saving money. I don’t understand war or greed or envy. I don’t understand concepts like “real” and “fake.” I’m afraid of this. I’m afraid of being “other” in my writing and in my art, I’m afraid of “masturbating” my “art” all over the reader, and I know that I have very little choice in the matter because, as I stated before,
I’m going to be weird. I’m going to be an oddity. AGAIN. People are going to call me “crazy.” AGAIN. What really worries me is success, not failure. Not because I think that I’m brilliant but because I think that people are usually wrong about me. And, they will probably want to read my bowlllllllllsheeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
Maybe. If they don’t. That’s just fine. I’ll just write for me, I guess.
It’s never been a choice for me.
It hurts when I don’t do it.