No matter how many words I share with the world everyday, my words are not the point.
Sure, I try to craft my text with grace and wit, capturing a bit of poetry, making it as beautiful and engaging as possible.
The goal, though, isn’t words, but trying to take what is inside me, the contents of my mind and my heart, and have them seen, understood, valued and cared for in the world.
It is easy for others to see the sheer quantity of words that come out of me and think that those words are the point. We are not a culture that takes the time to look for meaning, rather we live in the rattle and hum of a consumer culture where words just become noise.
My words, though, aren’t who I am. They are tools to try and help me make connections with people, tools to appear socialized, tools to share my ideas, but most of all, tools I use to keep my heartbreak from leaking out willy nilly.
Just the webbing a facile mind created to sustain a shattered hope, the structures my words create surround a big negative space, the hole where my heart should be. From an early, early age, I knew my feelings were identified as corrupt and sick, knew that only by packing around the void with words did I stand any chance of getting through another day.
Those webs turned hard, becoming plaster casts to enclose what once was living tissue but is now desiccated possibilities, the chances of a life swallowed in the mud of stigma, shame, oppression and rejection.
For women, their lives are their communities, networks of connections which spark with vitality. My life is a decayed vessel, turned inside out and used up in the struggle to try and just maintain a shape which didn’t totally erase me. With words like stone, I calcified on the spot, the shell of that protective literary armour defining the boundaries of where I used to be.
The ripples of me exist only in the words I left. Is it ironic that those very words, the words I created to try and scrape up connection, were, in the end, one of the biggest barriers to people connecting with me? As I was revealed by my words I was also set apart by my words, isolated by the very literalness of their presence.
I am good with words, but I am not my words. I am not my quick brain, not the cerebral constructions I have made in a vain attempt to chase down a world where my life had a meaning that revealed me rather than erased me.
So many bangs, so many hurts, so many blah, blah, blah, blah, spouting a fountain of words like smoke to reveal my presence, but acting like smoke to conceal my presence. Who could have looked through to see the actual spirit inside, the one beyond assumptions of separation, of surfaces, of projections?
How much did my life cost me in sensitive stress? It’s great that I squeezed lots of words out of that pain, but every morsel of that hurt came at a cost, of loss, of scarcity, of isolation, of busted hope, of scraped together intellect.
I am not my words. My words are the mud tunnel which marks where my life was played out, struggling under a surface of stuff to keep going in the lack of sunlight and warmth. My words are my offering to my creator, my desperate attempt to leave value from what she gave me, transforming the gift of life into the dry ripples of unheeded text.
If you can’t make love, make art. It’s not as satisfying, but it lasts longer, though you are not really there if it ever gets hot. It might touch someone sometime, but it won’t touch you back, won’t create a connection. Still, it’s art and it helps you symbolize what lies inside, even as whatever that used to be slips right away.
My words may fill the space, but they are not me. Me is somewhere inside of them, using hard worn skills and desperate energy to say what cannot be said, to show what cannot be shown, to express what cannot be expressed. As well as I describe that place beyond words, only the hearts of others can go beyond the verbiage to connect openly with my experience, my spirit, my depletion.
A child, throwing up words to attract and distract parents who still have their own inner child locked up with what we now call Aspergers, I need the simple things like touch, mirroring, understanding and encouragement they cannot find for me or for themselves. Instead, I become the target, a scapegoat whose needs overwhelm the resources, a kid at school who is so smart they can’t possibly have a deficit, something squeezing the life out of them.
Moments where I reached out, struggling with words to express, and was thrown back by people who found me whatever, demanding I use more words, more discipline, more structure, more concealment, more compartmentalization, more denial, more isolation just to play normie.
All those words, those millions of words, up down, right left, side to side, layers upon layers of words, words, words and none of them actually me, only the best I could make of my broken crockery heart.
I am not my words, as plentiful and hard wrought as those words are. They are bricks I toss out from inside of me, mortared together to make messages, to try and connect with other people who can see and smell what is deep within.
Silent and made invisible, I am wracked for myself, not simple, far from simple, but simply human.
I learned to use my words. They aren’t, though, who I am. I am the gurgling behind, the bombed out zones of pockmarked with the price of tight lacing my heart, a person bereft of basic connection from a very early age.
Is it just that no one can hear over my words? Or is it that others are left in their own struggles?
I am not my words.