I get sad. Granted: like most adults, I have a lot to be sad about. But I get a different kind of sad. it’s engulfing. It’s semi-paralysing. It kills my appetite. Saps my energy.
Sometimes I get so sad my brain feels like it’s been struck by lightning, and I leave my body.
I call it “setting sail”.
The first time I set sail, my brain – the boat – was let loose from its moorings and went off without anyone noticing. Adrift: it took me places. I saw things: amazing things. Swimming beneath me, flying above.
And then someone noticed, and I was brought back. Vessel tied securely to the dock. Child thrown into a house and “set right”.
I was a thief the second time I left the dock. This second boat was a bit more advanced than the first. Slightly bigger: with sails. I saw more things: terrifying things, which decided they wouldn’t do me harm as I was just passing through.
But the second boat had no motor: those who caught it did. And it happened again: tied to the dock, and “set right”. And this time, when I was ashore, a physical part of me was missing. And there would be pills to take until I was weak enough to satisfy the butchers.
I went at that second boat with a hatchet. Spent all my strength in violent grief. Hacked at it for years until I’d gathered enough splinters to make matches...which I used to set the husk on fire.
The third boat could have been a ship. No motor: I don’t think I’m fated to have one of those. But lots of wind. Mighty gusts of wind. Carrying me past all that was amazing, terrifying, terrifyingly amazing. Never a dull moment.
“You have to go back now.” Being ‘set right’ too often has given me this curse. A voice. I hate that voice.
“You can’t live out here forever, you know.”
That stupid, fucking voice.
“You have to go back.”
I hate it cos it’s always right.
I call it “coming ashore”, when I have to...engage...with those who want to kill everyone who leaves the land.
* * *
Life’s a journey, but how dare you find another way to travel?
How dare you dream of a different destination?
How dare you do that and disprove all our myths about those who do?
How dare you make us think differently?
And how dare you not base your life around our opinions of you?
Conform or die.
* * *
The shore is where they’ll keep the medicines I’ll eventually need to stay alive.
The shore is what I used to long for when the sea became stormy.
Then I realize: a storm could shatter your ship and drown you, but that’s merciful compared to what human beings do to one another.
But the shore...is where I get the wood to repair this ship. Is where the carpenters live, who’ll teach me how. The shore is where I’ll trade the fish I catch, and the stories I write. The shore is where the music is, and my radio’s broken.
* * *
The shore is where unwelcome hands will grab,
Unwelcome voices will jeer,
Unjust laws will be passed,
To harm those who’re queer.
The shore approaches: the shore, is near.
Now I stand at the shore, and do not like it here.
* * *
“You can’t live out here...period.” There’s a second voice now. I like this one: it makes sense.
Whereas the first wants me back on land: this one wants me to set sail to another place.
“Make sure you don’t get there alone,” this voice wants me to pick up others who may be adrift at sea. This voice wants me to give up my fantasy of burning the shore – and everyone in it – to ash.
This one understands hate. This one doesn’t preach forgiveness, but acknowledges I can’t dehumanize anyone enough to become enough of a villain to live among those who won’t let me leave.
I could listen to this second voice. Destroy the third ship: build a fourth. Go out in something that didn’t cause misery... and never return.
This voice is what pushed me to make this site.
If I have to come ashore: I won’t stay for long, and I will neither leave, nor arrive, empty-handed.
So stick around: who knows? I might write something you liked to read. I might let you come aboard: show you how to work a wheel, or tie a rope. I might scare you. Might make you laugh.
And thank you for reading this, even if it doesn’t make that much sense right now.