Friday, February 20, 2009

The Evolution of Indifference (7)

Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6

Chapter 7: My Holy Hell

College is supposed to be the best years of your life. In retrospect, in that I spent those years sleeping until whatever hour I wanted to, never waking to an alarm clock and staying up to the wee hours of the morning, they sure were. I miss being able to live like that, oblivious to the fact that the piling school loans are going to be a looming cloud ... oblivious to the fact that most people actually have to get up and go to work. They were good years.

But while living them - I didn't think they were. I was forced to contend with the fact that I never dealt with my sexuality. I was never out, no one ever knew and I didn't have anyone to talk to about it. So, I took to writing poetry. I didn't even know I was good at it - never knew I knew so many words. But I found that I needed more and more words to completely and fully describe the vacuous emotional tumor I carried around in my heart. It was heavy and hollow, bitter and sweet, pressured and empty ... all at the same time. And in describing my tears as rain, and my body as a barrier wall between me and everyone else, I penned the following:

This pain is real, "it cuts like a knife,"
But my mind wanders ...
I can feel the rain beat on thse walls.
These walls are thing, yes, far from opaque.
I know you can see.
So, why won't it rain outside of these walls?

A cloud searches o'er land and sea,
It finds rest ominously over me.
I carry it with me where'ev I go.
I know you can see.
So, why won't it rain outside of these walls.

It's beginning to rain,
from this cloud so dark.
These walls will quiver
And crumble to hell ...
I know you can see.
So why won't it rain outside of these walls?

I hate this hell, I need to escape;
Help me climb out.
But ere you do, grant me this: Please, Please
Make it rain ... OUTSIDE of these walls!

My Freshman year started in August of 1993 - I started college having never been drunk, never smoked a cigarette, never done drugs ... I was ripe for college to corrupt me. It started with the drinking. I did a lot of drinking that first semester - I just didn't know how to cope with life and no one empathized with me (or shed rain for me, with me) and drinking became a coping mechanism of all coping mechanisms. I was the only minority on my floor and didn't relate to not one of the guys I lived with. Not one. In that sheltered private college of a place, I met people who had never before seen a black person in the flesh.


So, not only was I dealing with this void within me that made me feel different than my own family, now I was stuck on a college campus where I was different than every other mother fucker there too! Oh, how I loved alcohol.

And poetry. Somber, melancholic poetry darker than I knew I was.

And then conundrum after conundrum revealed itself to me. I was on a college campus with a set of the population I couldn't relate to, with feelings of identity that I couldn't figure out, studying a technically intense engineering curriculum that was shaping me into a professional that was going to that much more much less in common with his own family ... I couldn't talk to anyone about it, even still, and I didn't know how to deal with myself anymore ... I could see myself becoming every one of those childhood excuses I came up with as a reason to cry ... they weren't really all made up ... I wanted to cry now, but I couldn't because I was all alone and no one cared and I wasn't going to be vulnerable, even though I needed to be vulnera ...

By Christmas 1993 I was smoking.

Such a stupid, ridiculous, self-depricating habit that makes about as much sense as taking up kite flying during a lightning storm, or skydiving with mosquito nets for parachutes, or marathon running in the Saraha.

What kind of fear, depression, sadness or lonliness gets better only by targeting your own body for destruction? I can't explain it - I just know that causing sirosis of the liver or cancer of the lung (slowly) seems to be where that type of confusion took me. It's a wonder I didn't take to cutting myself. But the reality is that I'm a little bit vain - so, I'd rather do things to the inside - not the outside. So, Preacher, it may not be all THAT bad that all is vanity ...


At any rate, I found myself trying to sort out my life in my poetry. I had to untangle the intricate web of self-deception to figure out that I really wasn't a crazy, emotional little boy that cried a lot ... that really WASN'T me. I was actually a boy that wanted to love another boy. A man now - that wanted to love another man ... an emotional man that can figure out better ways to deal with shit other than crying, if for no other reason that no one was really listening anymore. Now, it was just me.

Just me, staring at the real world.

And while I felt like I could cry over the fact that I had pretended my entire life to that point and that I really didn't know anyone STILL who I could talk to about my sexuality ... I didn't want to listen to me cry. So, I wrote instead. And tried to explain to myself that I had trapped me deeply inside .. myself.


Trapped in a world where I have no choice,
As in a cave of polished brass,
Where all I hear is my echoing voice,
That brings me grief that no one knows,
That pains my ear and shatters my soul;
It makes me tear and drives me mad.

Trapped in a room where I hate to see,
As I gaze at it and wonder why.
A misshapen figure that can't relate,
That can't understand the pain inside,
That won't reach out to hold my hand;

It makes me tear and drives me mad.

Trapped inside that mysterious man,
The one I see beyond the glass,
Who's trapped himself and can't reach out,
That needs my help as I need his;
His cries of sorrow pierce my heart;
It makes me tear. It's driven me mad.

and so there I stood - old enough to know better but not wise enough to let the inner me meet the world at large. The real me deep inside was growing up, outgrowing the tiny little emotional space I built for him ... pushing, kicking and screaming to be let out. But I held him inside that airtight little space within me and I continued to reinforce the seams of that space over and over and over again, allowing the pressure to build within me to limits no man should ever have to endure.

But I endured it. Year in and year out, I endured it.

I was smoking weed by Junior year.