You sit there, reading, minding your own business. To everyone else you look normal. They all think you’re a normal person having a coffee reading a book. Most of them don’t notice you. You blend into the crowd. You hide in plain sight. None of them could know what you think and feel, and you dare not tell anyone. You’re afraid it will scare them because it does scare you.
You sit, invisible to everyone; with your chest pounding, your thoughts racing, your hands shaking. You’re reacting to something. Something triggered you. Sometimes you know exactly why you were triggered. This is not one of those times. You don’t understand. You can’t explain it. You pick at your fingernails and cuticles. You twirl a pen or pencil in your fingers. You refill your coffee. Was it the coffee? Should you stop drinking coffee? The coffee didn’t bother you yesterday.
You survey the coffee shop. No one knows what’s happening to you. Even if they knew, they wouldn’t understand or care. Why should they care about you? They have their own problems. They’d think you were just some jackass craving attention. You know that’s what they’d think because that’s what you would think. But no one cares what you think just like no one cares what you’re feeling or what you’re doing. You’re the most insignificant person in existence.
You’ve pulled one of your cuticles too much and now you bleed. This distraction only works for a minute. Your thoughts stop racing, but your chest never stops pounding. You want to runaway but don’t know where. What you run from will follow you. How do you get away? Your thoughts are racing back, and your bloody finger doesn’t hurt anymore. You can’t even hurt yourself properly. There are never enough distractions.
You leave. You walk. You burn energy. It distracts you some and makes you tired. You need to feel tired. Keep running away until you’re tired; until your thoughts are tired.
I am unemployed. I search for work almost every day. Now and then I get lucky and get an interview, but they always find someone else who’s more qualified for the job. I feel I’m not qualified enough for any job. But still I search and apply. I have an internal battle every day. I want to push everyone in my life away and become a hermit who hides from everyone and everything. This hiding isn’t so much out of fear but because I can’t learn to function around other people. No matter how long I’ve known them, I find myself feeling out of place and lost everywhere. But still I try to connect with others and force myself into social settings.
I have several things I want to do; several ambitions. Being unemployed and barely having money for food or utilities has put many of those things on hold. It’s an issue of priority. Basic needs must come first, followed by security, and then pursuing the many ambitions I have. It’s never easy foregoing one’s dreams to deal with basic necessities. But still I pursue those dreams. Though at a slower pace than I would prefer. The dreams always feel too far away to reach. But still I reach. The negativity in my mind holds and pulls me down deeper and deeper into a black pit of darkness. But still I fight to break free.
I’m beginning to feel that my only options are to move to another city and another state to find work, reenlist in the military which means I’ll be sent who knows where for at least 3 years, or do something that will send me to prison just, so I can have food and a place to sleep. Each of these scenarios means moving farther away from my dreams and ambitions and giving up everything I’ve built thus far. I grew up being told by everyone to follow my dreams. All that has brought me is more struggle and pain. But still I dream. If I had given up on my dreams, I would be even more depressed and miserable than I am now.
I don’t know what the future holds. I feel stuck and trapped and it feels like my situation keeps getting worse. I know things will get better, but my concern is how long that will take. How long will I fight and struggle and lose everything before I can move forward? Will I keep fighting to the bitter end or will it all finally get to me, break me down, and cause me to give in and give up? I can’t give up because I have nothing else. I feel I’m stuck in a room full of people, but no one is allowed to speak to me or help me. I’m an outcast; a pariah. Even when I ask for help, I still have to fight it alone. But still I persevere. I never give up and never surrender. I never let the darkness keep me.
This world has become so complex and abundant with noise and nonsense. The only way people can survive is with distractions. These distractions; binge watching television or movies, listening to hours of music, reading, going out to bars, pub quizzes, doing anything and everything to forget about everything. Forgetting is the human super power. It is when you cannot forget something that it eats away at you; it destroys you. Forgetting is necessary for survival. Humans live long, happy lives by forgetting all the pain and misery. By forgetting; however, we are doomed to repeat that pain and misery.
People have said there are some experiences you never forget. This is true, but over time these memories are not at the front of your mind. One can recall almost anything they have experienced. It is like a kind of time travel. You go back in time and relive something from the past. You remember a lesson you forgot you learned. You remember an emotion you felt but have not felt for a long time. Emotions are fluid. They come and go, and if you know how, you can control how long they stay. You have the power to forget them or remember them as you see fit.
Artists have the most difficult job. It is their duty to remember. Some of them make the choice not to forget. Others have the inability to forget. They relive the pain and misery and happiness and pleasure to help others remember what has been forgotten. The job of the artist is to make people feel something; anything. It is the emotions we have to remember. Emotions are what makes us human. But we have a super power. Sometimes we forget what it means to be human. We forget our emotions. We forget so we can survive.
I have never understood how everyone else could survive and look happy with their repetitive, mundane life experience. It looks like people only do anything to continue distracting themselves. Someone may not actually care about their support group or volunteering at the animal shelter, but it helps distract them and avoid thinking about their life. It helps them forget. It helps them survive. I have never been able to survive this way. It always feels like these distractions prevent me from doing what I am supposed to be doing. These distractions prevent me from expressing myself because they make me forget myself.
I have tried expressing myself in many different ways. I have tried drawing, photography, music, film; but the only thing that ever lasted was writing. I am a writer. It is how I remember who I am. It is how I survive. When I do not write, I feel lost and broken. My purpose in this world is to make people remember; to make people feel. I am an artist. Maybe I can help distract others while still making them remember and feel something. I do not fit in or blend with the crowd. I never have. Maybe that is my super power.