One thing that we never are is alone.
I am a chronically lonely person, so I have to make phrases like this my mantra, or I might just walk off of a cliff.
Why am I so lonely?
I don’t know. I just am. Do I need a fucking reason? Leave me the fuck alone.
Sometimes when I feel alone, I listen to David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust years. One of my favourite songs is Rock and Roll Suicide, and I just love the part where he sings out, give me your hands because you’re wonderful, and I feel like he’s singing it to me, but that’s the way the song is supposed to make you feel. That’s the point. Now I’m saying it to you, whoever you are. Whatever colour your eyes are, I know they’re beautiful, if you speak a different language than me, I know it’s lovely, and complex, and romantic, and filled with words for which mine has no equivalent.
Give me your hands because you’re wonderful.
And when you’re singing along at the top of your lungs to your favourite song set to the maximum as you take your morning shower, or when you’re driving your car home from work, I’m applauding you. Whenever you’re dancing alone in your bedroom with only your shadow for company, and all the shadows of your past, as you work through whatever pain is dragging down your heart, I am applauding you.
I love you. I really fucking love you.
I read this article about chronic loneliness once. I don’t remember the name of it, or where I read it, but I do remember reading, and understanding, that one of the monsters that fuels loneliness is rejection.
Everyone gets rejected, it’s a fact of life, but I think that social outcasts, those deemed unworthy, and who fall outside of what popular culture considers worthy of praise, get rejected the most. I’m not talking about obvious weirdos with obvious issues that are fucking sick, I’m talking about outspoken women who challenge the patriarchy, minorities, the elderly, people who exist outside of the gender binary, lesbians, and gay men, and just anyone who is a true original, anyone who is a kicked down underdog, like me, like you.
I think that sometimes some of us get rejected so much that we begin to reject ourselves, and we do it in the worst ways. I know I have, and I’ve done this by not showing the world what it is that I am truly good at, which is making art, and writing, but I’m changing that right here, right now, by simply sharing myself with everyone, and telling my stories, and I’ve got nearly 40 years of stories about what I’ve seen, and what has happened to me, all swimming around in that galaxy of scars that exists within the inner world of my mind, that place I am trapped in, but can’t bear to leave.
My entire life, I have always felt apart from everyone else, and I think that I first recognized this feeling when I was five or so, when I started going to school, and it must be known that I hate school, even college, I could never finish it, because I hate it so much.
All the kids were playing. It was recess, but no one was playing with me. I stood at the peripheral of all the make believe in a purple jacket, and purple Cabbage Patch Kids earmuffs, my hands in my pockets, wanting to play. All of the other girls seemed to be blonde and wearing pink coats, and then there was me, with my pale face and eternally messy dark brown hair, my lopsided grin, and a scar on the side of my nose that looked like a string of snot.
Will you play with me?
And the little girls would snicker, move on, or outright ignore me. So I followed them.
Will you play with me?
Finally, someone agreed to play with me on the teeter totter. It may have been a boy, or it may have been a girl, I don’t really remember, but it’s not important now. I would have preferred to swing, but these were all taken, and there was this system, you see, of swinging for a bit, and then saving the swing for your friend to go next, and as I had no friends, I had no right, according to playground politics, to a turn on any of the swings.
But one child agreed to the teeter totter, that now extinct piece of playground equipment wherein the momentum of two bodies causes a long plank of wood to go up and down as you push at the ground with your feet.
What a lovely plaything this teeter totter was, but it was also the most dangerous game to play with any child, because snubbing, and ignoring the moon pale brunette with the funny scar is small compared to the way in which it is made publicly known your place in the playground pecking order, and this was always done on the teeter totter, or during that game I don’t think schools allow anymore, Red Rover, Red Rover.
I was so very excited. Finally I had a playmate, but we had to hurry because recess would be over soon.
We took our positions on either side of the apparatus of shame, as children ran about, their sneakers crunching on the playground gravel, spread over the concrete, and all of the laughter, and screeching of tiny voices, and the playground attendants blowing on their whistles. I remember that the air smelled like snow, the trees were barren, and it was cold.
I had a playmate, a playmate, let’s go then, let’s play.
My playmate went up first with laughter and joy, and then I went up, screeching at the top of my lungs like children do sometimes when they get to use their outside voices, and up and down we went like this for a few turns, and I felt happy finally. We kicked our feet harder then, to send the other one up faster, and we called out to each other, faster, higher, faster, higher, and then I was squealing, because teeter totters are so much fun when you are five years old, and the butterflies inside your belly as you fly up, and then drop down, are simply divine when you are a child, and no other kinds of pleasure exist yet.
Higher, faster, I cried.
My companion of the moment was at the bottom, and I was at the top, and then it happened, and in the blink of an eye, all of the laughter become lodged in my throat, as it that wall of oh shit, as my little frienemy hopped off their end of the teeter totter, and ran away, trailing bubbles of mean spirited laughter.
And there I was, suspended in midair for what seemed like ages, then I felt myself plummeting down onto the gravel covered cement, tears pricking at my eyes, making them sting, as the lodged laughter formed a lump in my throat. I tried to jump off, and I thought in my childish mind, you knew Rose, you knew. You saw this coming, you knew. And I should have known, I should have seen it coming, because never in the history of ever were other children nice to me, and still to this day, people, especially other women, have this wicked contempt for me that I cannot, for the life of me, fucking understand.
The impact knocked the wind out of me, and somehow, my fingers got smashed, and then the world stopped. I couldn’t breathe, or hear, and then I realized that this had been planned, as that cruel little child joined a circle of sniggering children, hands cupped over their mouths as they whispered into each other’s ears, while casting sidelong glances at me.
I lay on my back for a moment, looking up at an overcast sky being scratched by the branches of leafless trees. In the distance, I heard a bell ring, and a whistle blow, and all of the children stood in lines, respective of their grade and classroom number. All of this softened, and slipped, and I closed my eyes, and cried, because everything hurt. As my breath returned to me, my whimpers turned to the ragged sobs of a very tired child who has had enough.
I was more humiliated, than physically injured, but everyone knows that emotional abuse takes longer to heal than bruises and scrapes on the skin, and sometimes the damage done to the mind, and soul is permanent.
That day was permanent, and I know that it was, because that was the day I truly felt the walls close in around me, that invisible partition that separates me from feeling included with other people, and makes me feel lonely. It’s here now, it’s all around me, right now, and no matter what I do, I cannot tear it down. It separates me from everything, and everyone else. Seldom have I ever felt as though I really belonged anywhere, or to anyone.
Because of this wall, I have trouble relating to others, there is so little common ground between me and anyone I know because of this space that I am trapped in, and I feel awkward because of it, and yet, I really want to be the center of attention, and I really want people to like, to love me, and yet, I feel so underserving of any love at all. In my mind, I am unlovable, and I feel this so strongly that at times, I will sabotage love, and my own happiness, and success, all because I don’t feel that I deserve it.
And so I sobbed there on the playground, my bright white face now red with snot dripping from my nose. An attendant called my name, only she didn’t say Rose, she said Jenifer, and I don’t go by my first name, I never have, I go by my middle name, and I don’t know why my parents chose to do this, but they did, and at times it has caused confusion. So, not recognizing that I was being called to, I remained where I was, now curled up in a fetal position, savage tears wetting my face, until I was pulled, rather roughly, by my elbow, to a standing position, and led inside.
This has been my life over and over again with my so called friends. The assumed friendship and cooperation is always a ruse, a lie, a prank, with the ass of the joke being me. Where is the justice in any of this? What did I ever fucking do? What did Eris ever do, because she was hated too, and so she started a war, and so I started wars as well.
I became a trouble maker, because I don’t like being hated for no reason, so I created reasons.
Shove me down on the playground, and I will put tacks in your chair.
Call me a country ass white honkey one more time little black boy, and I will smash your face, and bloody your nose with this text book, because all racial slurs are bad, you jerk.
Invite my (so called) friends to a party, but specifically ask that they not bring me? I will show up anyway, give your boyfriend a blow job in your bathroom, and steal your Victoria’s Secret fragrance collection. After that, I will get drunk, and strip naked in your front yard, dance like a stripper, and puke up all that cheap wine you served all over the lawn.
Yes. I became that bitch, but I’m not like that anymore, because trying to be mean back always backfired in the end, because I’m not really a mean person, and because it didn’t change the fact that I’d been rejected by my peers for whatever reason they chose, and I was still lonely. I am still lonely.
I’m an unseen parallel dimension existing alongside this reality, and few people there know that I exist in the way that I do.
It’s dark here too, but I can light it up sometimes with my dreams, and if I do this, I know that others who are like me will find me, and we will love one another completely and as we are.
I love you completely, and as you are, whoever you are, so give me your hands, because you’re wonderful.