My Darkest Mask
Inspired by a conversation this week, a part of me has awoken. Call it the full moon if it eases you, but that evening I opened myself up to vulnerability almost unintentionally. I don’t know the purpose of this note, whether I’m asking for acceptance or merely seeking clarity and finding my place in this universe.
Among the topics discussed were my two fantasies growing up; one to be a nun, and the other, a prostitute. Having given this some thought in the past, it appears that what ties the two together is a level of detachment from basic human emotion.
I've noticed that I often find it impossible to feel anger. Not so much because it's a useless reaction, but because punishing oneself over the fault of another doesn't seem to me a natural flow of energy. But I digress.
Returning to human experience, it didn't come naturally to me. I remember very well the last episode of the British show, Sherlock Holmes. In the episode, Sherlock's sister, Eurus, shares that she had always felt as though she lived in the clouds. She paints this picture beautifully by setting a girl on an airplane in the sky where everyone else is asleep. The young girl is the only one awake in a plane of unconscious passengers, with no direction and a crashing plane full of lives in her hands.
Now Eurus’ incandescence far exceeds my capacity, but my sentiment and apprehension very much mirrors her's. Growing up, there were patterns. People learn. People think. People understand. & Well...I see, absorb, and become.
There's always lived a detachment from mankind in me. As a young girl, I remember watching man as if from the clouds, unable to grasp their essence. I remember watching children fight over toys, and I, unable to tear my eyes off of the little red object. Was it the color, the movement of the wheels, or man's unwavering desire to sacrifice their attention riddled in exchange for a moment's enchantment?
Most of man’s concepts and actions I found to be foolish, but I was simultaneously simply and completely mesmerized by the power of the superfluous. The child in me made a pact to find man's secret, and I began by adopting all that was man. I started feeling man’s emotion, I started calculating transactions. And my maturity was nurtured with every emotion I felt, every character I played—as was my manhood.
Then I started falling in love with things and with people. But that wasn't enough. I wanted to live, and I wanted to write the story of life—not just chapters within a novel, but also short stories, poems, epics. Oh, how enticing it all felt. And gradually, an experiment transformed into something unstoppable. I became obsessed. And on my lighter days, I crave and starve for the human experience.
I wanted to hold the light and darkness. I wanted to know. I wanted to feel. I wanted to be. I wanted to die. I wanted to live. The heightened euphoria of intimacy, the dysfunctional depth of emotional dehydration. And oh boy did I love, and love, and love. I lost myself, I re-envisioned myself, I consistently compromised the limitations of my capacity. I watched as characters redeveloped around me, almost sadistically, as I starved myself with enchantment.
Perhaps I've fully assimilated and have become one with man. Perhaps all the silly products of man are rather nice. And perhaps money and time, human emotion and love, all the little red objects on wheels that I play with now—well, they could be common miracles. Perhaps this is all imagined and I am just man. How beautifully terrifying would that be? If I am man, must these thoughts color me despicable?
Growing up, all the adults recognized my intelligence. Cousins my age were warned to stay away from me to avoid any visible line of comparison. The cousin who I was closest in age with growing up, he bullied me. And still to this day, he tries to dissociate himself from me. Am I so grotesque? I learned to keep my mouth shut and keep my observations to myself. So now I ask questions and stop there.
And the people that I respected most, they recognized something too. And they wanted to nurture whatever it was that they saw. It was my new weapon. Or rather, a shield. Whatever it was that people saw. It was always different. I didn’t care, it gave me power and momentum. And sometimes, momentum shadows clarity.
I've been asking Who am I for as long as I can remember. When shall I muster the courage to ask What am I? Or must I surrender under the illusion of personality disorder? Oh dear, please somebody wake up, please. After all, I am just a little girl in the sky with little direction and a fear of crashing the plane full of sleeping souls.
And this concludes the most vulnerable, darkest mask I wear. My hands tremble, my eyes water, my breath hesitates.