Identity crisis

It all comes down to two.

Two branches of a fork in the road. Two extremes of anything. Two people, anywhere, in any time of their lives, wanting to somehow merge.

If I’m being honest, it all comes down to us.

It will always come down to my need for companionship, a need which is neither transient nor unique, but something that will always be there, beneath and surrounding and driving every other creative pursuit. It might not be that glamorous, in the way that a director is glamorous, who has spent his life collecting film and studying it and is married to his work, who dreams only of what he can create, not who he can meet. He is therefor the definition of focused and independent- nay, transcendent- above us mortals who stumble around hoping for copulation and maybe a bit of affection too.

But if I am anything I am mortal. I am fatally dependent on feeling, on feeding off of the world around me- absorbing every breath and hint of other people or the weather or the glint of sun on metal, and internalizing all of it, interpreting it, making it take shape in words or colors so that I can make sense of it. I am much too connected to the world to care too much about the afterlife- and if I were in space I’d still be most excited by the human in the spacesuit next to me, or the million thudding hearts I’d left behind. What do these glistening universes mean to us? What does the promise of a new frontier- the expanse and the exploration- mean as an ideology for people?

So, yes, a simpler way to put it is ‘I am a romantic’ or ‘I am a humanist’ or ‘I am a vessel for channeling everything else. Everyone else.’ Well, when I put it that way it makes me sad. It makes me wonder, in a purely Freudian train of thought, if I don’t love love so much because I’m hoping someone else will be able to tell me who I am. I’m wondering if my void of an identity is because throughout childhood it was easier to become a vacuous mass, a shimmer of smoke, who neither stirred nor thought nor rebelled nor spoke. Yes, Sir Sigmund, it was easier that way. Yes, there was trauma.

And here, at 18, am I only now starting to notice the absence? Starting to feel the smart of something missing, starting to long for that thing which is mine and mine alone, which will be now and at the end of time, like a fingerprint or an iris or the helix of your ear, but, like an unshakeable habit more inveterate, like perhaps, I suppose, a soul? /

Stuck in love

He watched my favorite movie.

He hated it.

How could I blame him, a film student, for hating a rom-com called Stuck In Love for God’s sake?

But what I feel right now is not blame.

I feel small.

I feel like the little girl who sat in her bedroom at night

on her pink and white comforter with the flowers

With a notebook in her lap and a pen in her hand

Who wrote fairytales.

I am that little girl

Who got called out of class

To talk to Child Protective Services in the main office

And answered questions like “what does your dad feed you?”

Who was looked at like she was stupid

By plastered-on concerned adult faces

Who just wanted to do their jobs

And bring in the bad guy.

But the bad guy was never just my dad.

He lived in my brain and slept in my skin since before I was born

He pressed his thick heel on my lungs and never let me forget

The heavy hand of conflict that never ever ceased.

Divorce, for me, wasn’t a word it was a life and my earliest memory

It was my backbone and my breastbone and every single fucking bone in me.

So when I sat on my comforter

And wrote about romance

Or that bright shining willow wisp I imagined it would be

I latched onto the boys like Lou from Stuck In Love. 

I escaped into stories of people finding each other

And I don’t care if it’s not real life

Because it never had to be.

Stuck In Love is a movie about writers,

About family

About a love that I thought was sacred in my room with my pen at 15.

They have the same favorite book.

They kiss in a car in the rain to the sound of an indie song about kissing in cars in the rain.

When Lou’s mother dies of cancer, they cry

And I always cry

Because this cheesy amalgam is real to me.

It is a version of life that I could only hope for myself

It is penned by a little girl on a pink and white comforter

And she is damned proud of it.

And she should be.

Peephole

I like looking through the peephole of my suite’s front door.

That sounds really creepy, I know, but I like the scenes I see, disjointed, bodies moving through the frame, microcosms and still shots like still developing pictures.

I see the boys come and go from my RA’s door, and I think of some illusion that’s been shattered, about how authority is celibate, and then I think how loneliness finds everyone, everyone, doesn’t matter who you are.

I like the peephole that’s a fish-eye lens, the images round and distorted. It reminds me of the periscope on a submarine, like in those old, funny movies, that would pop up and break to the surface exactly where the drama is.

Outside, someone takes out the trash. Outside, someone says goodnight- friends come and go and I can’t make sense between visitors and residents because I haven’t met them all yet. I like that I’m viewing fragments of stories, unfinished stories. I like mystery books.

Some clues I can uncover. Some things, I can infer. My mind fills in the blanks. That door is closing on a night with someone else; there are two people in there, being. I hope they’re being happy. I hope they’re happy together.

Around that corner where I can’t see, that person just pressed the down button. Outside, a person waits for the elevator. Inside, a person waits for someone they hope to see. The faces and the doors and the scenes and the elevator buttons are emotionless; they are brief bits between next stops or at the end of memories or just before they begin. But inside I know the waiting runs deep. The longing is for something specific, someone specific, a current that runs past the present and back to the very first time you wanted. Inside you wait for that thing you always wanted. You can only hope, unlike the elevator, that it’s not empty when it arrives. You can only hope that no one’s watching at their peephole, feeling loneliness too.