What do I know?
I know what it is like to be thrown against a wall. I know what it is like when the darkness eclipses your field of vision as your mind scatters in different directions and your limp body bounces off the wall back into his hands to be thrown again, and again, and once again.
I know family is supposed to build you up, hold you up, and keep you up on your feet when the pain of existence threatens to knock you down – well, at least that’s what I know that I have heard. I know what it is like when “family” kicks your legs out from underneath you, spouting epithets of trust and love, then mocks you, berates you, and ignores you as you lay on the floor, curled up in on yourself, crying.
I know how childhood traumas create self-perpetuating cycles, repeating the traumas over and over, in different forms, throughout one’s life, and I know of the relentless insomnia and nightmares that follow each rendition closely. I know that such traumas change the way the world looks and how you see your place in it – it is to feel small and threatened, all of the time, by everything and everyone.
I know that I replace the pronoun “I” with “you” in an attempt to transform the abstract signifiers on this page into some sort of meaningful understanding between us, because I know how chronic loneliness fractures a heart.
I know the physical and psychological pain of isolation, like a garrison wall designed for war and fortified with socially paralyzing anxiety and distrust, constructed upon the paradox of self-preservation. I know of a loneliness that peers through the fissures in that wall into a world of acceptance, belonging, and love that it knows it can never be a part of, but yet obstinately clings to a hope of someday residing there.
I know of a hope that slips through your fingers, accumulates at your feet, and buries you deeper with each year. It is a hope that threatens to stick to the inside of your lungs like wet sand and suffocate you in self-delusion. I know what it is like to cling to that self-destructive hope because that hope is the only thing that gets you out of bed every day.
I know of the vultures who circle around the corps(e) de l’amour et l’espoir, agitated, aroused, and eager to pick the flesh off of the vulnerable in order to satiate their own appetites. I know the insignificance of being nothing but a body, to be used until broken or outdated, then discarded and forgotten.
I know the fear of being precariously and perilously teetering on the edge of falling but having no safety net, no net constructed of family and friends, to catch you if you fall. I know what it feels like to know that if you fell and disappeared into the void, the world would be as if you never existed.
I know of a sadness that reverberates throughout every nerve with each heartbeat, locking your entire body in a pain that ruptures poorly glued together pieces of your heart. I know the cruelty of having that pain mocked and disregarded as being selfish, childish, imaginary, attention-getting, weak or insignificant. I know cruelty, no matter how unintentional or ignorant, is no less cruel.
I know what objectifying and patronizing pity is – when you become nothing but a thing to be fixed, when your voice is lost to a despotic, bleeding heart, do-gooder who presumes to know exactly what is wrong with you and what you need but who refuses to hear who you are. I know the cruelty of callous indifference to the voice that screams out and begs to be recognized and acknowledged for all of its pain, complexity, and longing but instead is met only with rejection and dismissal.
I know rejection. I know the longing for belonging, for a smile from a friendly face. How your hand reaches into the world seeking a friend to pull you out of the void, to be met with a hand mockingly extended then pulled back leaving you grasping at the nothingness of empty space. I know how your rejected psyche internalizes the anger and shame, turning the violence against itself. I know how your body seeks to comfort itself in its own embrace, rocking back and forth repeating over and over again the same thought: “there is something intrinsically wrong with me that makes me entirely unlikable, I am a mistake, a freak of nature, and there is nothing I can do about it, it will never get better.”
I know that they do not know you because they never wanted to know you. They projected their privileged life experiences and prejudices about who you ought to be unto you, all conveniently wrapped up in the “mentally ill” labels they have affixed to you, to categorize you neatly into their psycho-social pre-packaged for the masses worldview.
Above all, I know that people are nothing but consistent in harming you. I know how year after year the walls close in. What I don’t know is what happens when hope finally buries you.