Ever had a dark thought? A random thought? Ever just think of such horrible things? Do you sometimes wonder if your mind is actually under your control? If this happens more regularly than not, please seek help. Mental illness is no fun. I know, I have one.
However, I’m not here to discuss that. I’m here to talk about sane (or mostly-sane) people finding themselves thinking the wrong thoughts. Or not so much the wrong ones as foreign ones. Every time you of what someone else will think, every time you berate yourself, every time your feel anything less than overwhelming love for yourself, your are taking on foreign thoughts.
I often felt that I had great reason to let the other voices in my head win. In so many ways, I was (and still am) a freak. To this very day I am not sure why I am doing as well as I am. The odds, the statistics, all of the information out there about people like me says that I should be an absolute mess. Admittedly I did struggle some, but not nearly as badly as I could have. Somehow, I managed to tune out those horrid voices telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I was a perversion, that I was too dark, that I was such a minority that I could never be successful, and many other awful thoughts and listen to my own. I let my own echoes build inside my head until only I remained. All the comments on how ugly I was, all the relived memories of my parents’ horrible fights, the pain of feeling lonely because there was literally no one else completely like me; it became background. It lessened to a manageable level. Nowadays, I wonder why I ever let anyone else’s words mean more to me than my own.
Due in part to my social experiment and due in part to Single Dad Laughing’s inspirational and brave post, I am going to open up. I am going to list here for the first time out in the open as many of the things that make me weird as I can. I’m going to list these attributes that the world labelled evil and wrong at different points in time (some of them are even still considered so). This is the scariest thing I have ever done. This is for my own health and my own account. I am responsible for my own life and it is high time I own up to who I am. I have held the more unnoticeable aspects of myself tightly for many, many years. I kept everything to myself because I never felt safe enough to let it go. I’m writing this here, so that one day someone can see it and say to themselves that it is not the end of the world. Because maybe somewhere out there is someone just as weird as I am who just needs to give themselves permission to let it out. It is the same time of person I keep in mind while I write my stories.
Deep breath. This is me owning me. For each of these following attributes I somehow find myself in the middle. For each of these I have known someone to think me wrong because of it. I am the feared other. None of the characteristics listed below are necessarily related to any other. Each one stands alone, with only me in common. They may contribute to my experience of another aspect of myself, but they do not cause each other. Most importantly, these parts do not sum up to the whole of me. I hope you see that.
I am considered black (African, Native, European blood but I’m dark enough to fit the “Black American” category). I am light-skinned (not quite dark enough to even be accepted by “real” black people). I like rock music and wore a mohawk and chains before it was cool for black people in general to do it. I grew up very poor yet have a “proper” attitude. I am both highly intelligent and highly sexual (yet demisexual). I often scare people because I rarely smile and tend to walk like a serial killer and yet I have a raunchy, dry, eccentric wit. I have been on government assistance yet I believe firmly in working for your own. I am athletic (I love to dance especially) and yet I have many physical illnesses that rack my body with pain, sometimes for weeks or months at a time. I am rational and logical and yet my imagination runs away with me. I am very spiritual yet not religious. I have tried to kill myself yet I absolutely love life and my life. I am left-handed, rendering nearly every psychological study useless because my brain literally works differently. I have anxiety with some depression tossed in there for good measure. I am pansexual (I consider the person first, the body is secondary), sapiosexual (turned on by the use of intelligence), polyamorous (loving more than one person at a time openly and honestly), a relationship anarchist, and genderqueer (not male or female, but something in between or neither). The last thing I will tell you is that I am a rape and abuse survivor.
Those last sentences are especially painful for me to let out into the world. They are most likely the most contentious. The general Western attitude toward sexual matters is to hint at it while never actually learning about or discussing it. But there it is. I said it. It’s out there now and I can’t take it back. Nor do I want to. I don’t need to take it back because my voice is my own. It’s not my job to make life more comfortable for those who judge or hate me (especially when it’s based on the misunderstood, poorly understood, or unacknowledged). I’m setting an example for the people that I love. I am putting my money where my mouth is. One of my core values is integrity and that requires honesty. I share this list because everything on it is something that someone told me I should be ashamed of.
Yet if my own voice means nothing, if each of us cannot trust our own voice, then how can we trust any other? If the mind is so fickle and impressionable then how can anyone have any authority or accountability? These two thoughts led me to strengthen my inner voice. I searched, researched, learned, grew. I unlocked that box in my head where I had hidden myself, folded into the layers of the attributes I had also hidden. Over the past few years it has all been pouring out. I finally feel ready to let people know who I actually am. I’ve never been so scared but I’ve never been so free. My own way of letting go, of erasing the power of each of these labels over me, is to speak it, write it, type it.
I have been a writer since I was 12. My first series was my personal journey set in a fantastic world. It was my mind, divided into different people and set onto paper. It was the only place I could open up about myself. It was my first and greatest exercise in exploring my own mind and healing myself. I’m going to be publishing that series next year, making it available for people to read for themselves. I’m doing it for that lost little weirdo out there who cannot find a reflection of themselves in the media or their environment. I am doing this to show that there is yet a beauty to be found. It just starts with the voice in your head. It is your constant home, why not make it comfortable?
I hope this doesn’t sound self-absorbed. That’s not my intention. Exploring the self is something that’s always been important to me and at times my only refuge. I suppose everything is spilling out of me now like word vomit because until recently I kept my mouth shut. Silence is the enemy; it’s just space for other voices to creep in and start shouting over you. Your voice is your tool; it can save you, hurt you, or free you. If this can help even one person, I will be fulfilled. I hope this opens your eyes, I hope this helps you look at the people you know in a new light, I hope that it encourages you to make your voice the loudest inside your head and that it is the voice of love. That’s all.