If someone sat down with me one day and said, “hey, yo, what’s your passion” I’d probably numb out and bullshit. Lie would follow lie, and I’d hide behind a deftly but hastily crafted exposition of a life I’ve never lived. I have no answer now. It’s funny enough because I can be so placated by my life in a way that starts to breed self-discouragement on a level I’m not even aware of. It’s like it’s breaking my spirit in the most dastardly underhanded way. It’s like I support it. I can sit here for ridiculous amounts of time, and if I track what it is that I’m doing and what it is that I’ve done, I’d be sick to my stomach. Yes, I’d get physically sick. What breaks me out of these trances, however, are just things I come across while browsing…we gets me all excited yet washed in uncertainty, dissatisfaction, and anxiety is people’s sense of purpose. Like, they trudge through so much shit and learn so much about life because they know what they want and they’re working to get it.
I think somewhere in my mind I have an inkling of what it is that I truly want. If I were to die right now and in the moments of my death I had to explain my life and my actions to a shocked and increasingly hysterical yet lightly depressed version of me, I think after just talking it out, I may reach some conclusion that I’d be okay with (though let it be noted that the Living-Explaining version of me would be okay with that, not the Actively-Dying version of me). I’m pretty sure I’m scared to figure out what it is. I fear failure, I fear losing that. So maybe in an attempt to hold on to that, posing this inkling as a “vain” hope instead of a real thing, I can make it last as long as possible–if that even makes any sense. It’s like I try to believe that it’s not really real so that I don’t have to deal with it; it sits at point between existing and not-existing merely devised of insensible unacknowledgements. If I do this, however somberly, maybe I can keep it around long because I’m so tired and have let myself shrink into a scared and defensive curl because the idea of letting it come to light once more after having being beaten within in an inch of its life on too many occasions scares the living shit out of me. It’s either to die slowly pretending like I shouldn’t exist, trying to rationalize that, and eventually justifying that lifestyle through self-sabotage or to face a reality that I’m creating for myself and the responsibilities and potential pitfalls of. That reality, however, is becoming an anechoic chamber.
There amounts of extreme courage and I get bull-headed. I definitely face a life that has taken years to create and that will take a significant amount of time to change. But aye, I do not blink nor do I bat an eyelash. I merely laugh scornfully. A fool is what I become in these moments of slight aggrandizing glory. As if by merely hearing the tale of another I can just figure it all out and finally embark on the journey that is my life. Yes! I can hear it now! The same songs and the same tales! To join others to achieve some goal, to bring a dream to life. To see beautiful sights and go to new places, better places. To meet beautiful people and foster beautiful relationships that are zany and quirky and real and exceptional at the same time. To be wanted, needed for something. To do good, to do right. To create something. Oh what a world, what a life…
But for all these moments where I spend a disgusting amount of time scratching the nickel coating of my shackles in hopes of uncovering a fleck of gold, I am left a bitter fool who can only escape the agony of a slowly encroaching madness. Mad must I be–must I LOOK to someone who catches me dreaming. Upsetting must I look for an onlooker who catches me when I am most weak as I dream about a better life where I am better and do better things. This thought comes to me time and time again as I go about desensitizing myself to the sound a life scraping by like nails relentlessly being dragged across a chalky surface until it is merely acceptable and comfortable background noise. I catch myself like this in public, deserving of a child’s ridicule: “mommy, mommy! Look at the man’s silly face! It’s so WEIRD!” Weird, yes. What weird and queer circumstances must have arisen to create me? A monster maybe? Or just a misshapen human being? Does it matter?
I am afraid of passion because it’s like little boy and a little girl who prance and dance and sing and tell each other stories outside my cell window. Every evening I come to grasp those bars, now permanently stained with my palm skin’s excretions. My grip marks are irrevocably painted in sweat upon those bars. Ha, every evening I grasp those bars hoping to slip through and join them but I immediately pull back feeling ashamed. Why the hell would they let me do that? “Weirdo!” Aye. But I still quietly smile at you, as you play and sing away the sunset. How I envy you. How much you could teach me. But I am a fool. A fool who will eventually and stubbornly resign to not stacking my “furniture” up so I could peek out between the bars because it hurts to much to see such beauty and innocence and freedom (only to go back to doing just that). How I must be a complete weirdo, worthy of shaming, avoidance, ostracization for having spent so long watching children play. After all, such a “forlorning” look must mean I harbor lustful feelings. Oh but of course! It’s not that it hurts me to think about childhood. That it was both broken yet redeemably happy for me, all at the same time. That innocence was a foreign concept from the get-go and I struggle to fully grasp the concept today. Oh no, it’s not that I try to see myself in these children, hoping that I can figure out where the fuck I missed out in life. No. I am just a fool who’s weird. To the extremists I can be a waste and even a monster.
But fuck me. Those children scare me. They constantly look out to the sun setting as if they have a plan for the world. Ominous feelings sink into ever pore of my body and I become sickeningly hypnotized. My nerves scream for me to move but I can not. I am rooted; I am frightened. Everytime, I take time to think about if only I could harness this weird steeling effect in my muscles…no, I stand there, leaning on the tips of my toes upon my piled furniture grasping the bars with sweating palms. The look in their eyes does not suggest malice or sinister intent; it doesn’t suggest peace or happiness either. It’s merely a promise, a promising look at the sunset. The potential is all there. For the worst mankind has to offer to the absolute best. And they swish it around in their mouth. They palm it and run it over like an old marble absentmindedly. Who knows where the sunset takes them…I only know where it takes me and it’s a very dark place. The look in their eyes is haunting. It’s not vacant, it’s occupied…from the first time I was enthralled as I got caught up looking in on this unsettling ritual, all the way to this very day, I’ve started to notice it more and more.
It’s only a fraction there whenever you can see their eyes as they dance around the fire or track the butterflies glide wistfully through the air. It’s a fire that is so alien to me yet so familiar, that can occasionally be seen burning on the edges of their irises. It makes me uncomfortable to just think about, to remember seeing. As if any moment their heads will snap to my direction and they will engulf me into their bodies, into their souls because they finally decided to acknowledge my trespassing on their playful moments in time. I’d like to say that their pupils suggest a villainous, kindless and sinister void but I can’t. No, I fear the fire that flickers slightly at the back of their eye balls, within the blind spot of their cornea. I fear that if they were to look me in the eye, I’d see myself reflected back. I’d see the same damn fire flicker.
I disengage the bars. Fall back into my cell. I am scared. I am shocked. I want to it all to stop. I want the seemingly alien stares to stop. I want to believe that they are blank, that they are demonic and otherworldly. But I cry a stifled sob as silently as possible as I stare in disbelief. I had turned over to see myself gathering in an image that is growing in a puddle as its edges start to slip out across the cell floor. The water drips down from the ceiling. I hear every individual cascade with stark clarity. My heart beat slows as sloppy tears crawl down my dirty face in streaks. Gathering, a reflection squints back at me. Yes, there it is. The flicker.