Have you ever wished a story or movie character was real? Even if they had
unnatural powers and maybe weren’t even…human? Don’t you wish they’d adore you forever?
Well, in my case that came true. At first it was not fun. At all. See, I’m a writer. I started
writing when I was 12 years old. My home life was terrible and I had needed an outlet. There
was no one to talk to, no one left that cared, and I felt pretty much dead inside. This was not a
case of normal teenage angst, either. I had been through awful events and experienced things in
a short period of time that most people had never gone through in their entire lives. It didn’t
help that I exist in this nebulous intersection of minority categorizations. Or rather, I found
myself pretty much rendered invisible because of those categorizations. The wider world had no
inkling that people like me existed. In a lot of ways, the world still has no idea.
There wasn’t anyone like me in media. You didn’t hear stories of people who’d gone
through what I’d been through and responded the same way. There was no map for me when I
realized my brain worked differently, that my desires were on the fringes of society, and that
people like me had no voice. Even now, simple friendly conversations are fraught with potential
landmines. Everyone wants to know your business. Innocent questions about childhood or
dating or work serve as a springboard for awkward conversations and attempts at education. I
learned quickly not to talk about myself or my personal life. It wasn’t that I’d ever done
anything so wrong it couldn’t be shared. I’d merely been the victim in everyone else’s activities,
caught up in a whirlwind of secrets, deception, and manipulations so complicated and
damaging that only the truth became important to me. The truth above all else became my
salvation. I saw the paths that white lies, omissions, and deception led to and I wanted nothing
to do with it.
I learned to stuff my emotions. I had always felt things so incredibly intensely,
whether beautiful, terrifying, or tragic. But the only people who ever turned an eye on me were
empty. For a person so full to be circled by those who yawned open inside there was only one
option. Such people can only ever take away. I found myself constantly drained of energy, of
joy, of life. I descended to the depths in a multitude of ways. I draped myself in knowledge and
a cold demeanor that could explode in anger at the slightest provocation. The me that yearned,
the me that was sensuous and vivacious, the me that fought for every inch was hidden away,
locked inside in the only place that was safe. When I could not escape my circumstances in the
outside world, the inside began to stretch open and new worlds developed. In my inner eye
creations of all kinds sprang up. The cuilverse built itself brick by brick inside my mind,
spanning across universes, lives, and times. It unfurled its threads back into the very beginning
of time and sped recklessly into the future.
My being was split into other faces, other forms. My legionized soul populated the
cuilverse and echoed back to me in possibilities. Mansions of thought sprang up and shone in
wonder-infused splendor. A code was created and applied. The path back to the outside world
revealed itself. Through fiction I could explore. Through fiction I could confront. Through
fiction I could be saved. My intention was never to remain there forever but the more real I
made the cuilverse the less the real world dragged me down into the dredges of depression. Ah,
my depression. That cavernous black hole that was my only company for so long. That lie that
would tell me that there was peace in death and salvation in indifference. But I had another
trick up my sleeve. If I was to save myself, I had to learn to love every part. I had to love every
demon, every shadow, every twisted kink that lay over my soul in order to see through it. If
my soul was that diamond that reflected nothing but light and truth that had been compacted
by the pressures of life and loss, then I had but to find the power to reveal it.
The gun pressed to my temple, I worked feverishly to transform, to transmute the
shit I had been given into spun gold. I turned my depression into something beautiful and
learned to love it. I took my demons and turned them into assistants. Every negative force and
feeling in me was redirected to serve a purpose; to get me to live. I created my characters so
that their voices could drown out the voices of others inside of my head. Let me hear them
speaking to each other about philosophy, metaphysics, history, and sexuality instead of the
screams, the whispers, and the derision of voices belonging to anyone else but me. I succeeded
in making an entirely new world for me to slip into and hide away until it was safe to come
out. My stories were written. They are still being written. And this is one of them that peers
into my method of survival during a particularly difficult period of my life.
Yet there remains one last task. I knew that the cost of building a new universe was
a steep one. It meant that for years I would not be able to verbalize my struggle, my triumph,
or my dreams. It meant that I would come to prefer the company of the people I created
instead of the people in the outside world. It meant that I spent even more time in isolation,
which at times led to more opportunities for others to hurt me. It meant that there was a
physical record of all of the ugliness and pain in my heart and that one day others could see it
and judge me for all the ways I was different. It was proof that for so long I was not okay.
Mostly, it served as a substitution for the scream I never let out. The cuilverse grows larger
every second because instead of inflation, it is a scream that causes rapid expansion. That
scream has been building up nearly from the moment I was born, expanding into every atom
of my being, waiting desperately to be let out. The real world had no room for such a scream.
But once the puzzle is complete, once the Cuil Project is finished, once the last book is
published the scream will finally be heard.
Excerpt from, You Don’t Belong Here…