I was a pretty serious child. My dad used to sing the refrain from the Who’s “Tommy Can You Hear Me?” and jiggle my arms and legs, trying to get me to come out of my own head. He wanted to know what was going on in there, but I knew I went where he couldn’t follow.
I am a vast country inside. Dense with life and experience and mystery. Mostly undiscovered to this day. And the only way I’ve ever known to tie that world to this one is to write.
For a long time, writing documented my trauma. Being born into my family was like being born feral. The lone human in a land of ghouls. The place my father couldn’t go.
I had to anchor myself to my reality. I had to document my existence as fast as it was wiped away by emotionally and physically abusive manipulators who used me as a pawn for their own gain. I was an object, and in that place I felt completely and utterly alone.
So I wrote over and over: This is who I am. Here I am, this is what I am and this is where I am. An automatic distress signal set to repeat. A dead crew on a lost expedition with no hope of rescue, just trying to tell people what happened in the end. That I’d been here, I’d lived here, had dreams and aspirations that were aborted here. Please find this work and know me, remember me and mark me. On this spot in 1985 a vital human infant was mistakenly given to ghouls.
Inside, my vastness was a place to hide as I went over and over my trauma, anchoring myself to the world the only way I knew. Building a bridge with the only materials I had.
I used to love to sit and write big bright road flares around my wounds for everybody to look deeply into as they rolled slowly by, but I’m tired of it now. I don’t feel bad about the work I made before. I feel bored by it.
I keep reading my old writing and my new writing, trying to figure out what I should be doing now. It feels vital to continue documenting my life, and somewhat important to continue to share it. Beyond that, the specifics elude me.
I’ve said it before, but I really didn’t expect to live this long. I never had a plan for what I would do when things worked out. And yet, here I am. Just one point in the miraculous, incredible human universe with human problems and human opportunities.
I still love writing, and I still feel compelled to do it. I’m less interested in big words and fancy sentences than I used to be. I only want to be accurate now. This is who I am. This is what I am. This is where I am. It’s not a distress beacon anymore, not quite a broadcast. More like a breadcrumb.
I am no less vast, but I have more than one road in here now. There’s nuance where there wasn’t before, bridges between this world and that one are being built more organically, more frequently. It’s easier to live in, and harder to write about.
Trauma is so easy to write. It pours out of you anyway, it’s a simple thing to catch and convey. The rest of life is so much more complex. I’m starting to write in color after years of black and white. I feel my voice evolving as I evolve. What was true before is no less true, and I’m changing how I do this so it can continue to be true.
So, if I’m quieter or briefer now, it’s not because there’s less to say. It’s because there’s so much more that I don’t even know how or where to start, except to continue tell you who I am, what I am and where I am.