Hi, I'm only pretending to be a human

My breath is not real, it is a shallow approximation of the essential mechanic necessary to all "living" things. Bugs do it. Fish do it. Plants do it. I don't. I take air into my lungs and I push it out, but I'm not breathing, just going through the motions.

My insides are not muscles and bones and guts. Instead, I'm a human shaped bag filled with that green Styrofoam you buy at hobby stores to put in the bottom of a pot to hold your fake flowers in place. You know it, the blocks that are for whatever reason sealed in cellophane and have several pockmarks where kids have jammed their fingers in just because we can't keep our hands to ourselves. I'm filled with it. Malformed and poked out of recognition.

Whatever I have that passes for blood or lubricant is hot, but spicy-hot, not temperature-hot. The feeling you get before you realize what you've eaten is entirely too spicy, that ragged paper tearing feeling in the back of your throat...it courses through me. Every inch of my being is that uncomfortable sensation of burgeoning on bursting into flames. Every movement—locomotive, bowel, mental—is an exercise in containing an explosion.

The hive of microscopic bees that drives this not-meat bag are in constant revolt and no one works together. Yet, somehow the seams are strong enough to imprison the nonsense broiling just below the sickly facade I've crafted for the uncaring public. But why do I admit this to you now? Has this always been the case or was I replaced? Who was I? Who put a bunch of murderous bugs and hobby store bullshit into a skin suit, sent it out into the public to work and perambulate among the living, and expected to fool anyone?

I did. I'm the mad scientist at the center of my own charade and demise. A long time ago I decided breathing was a waste of time, all this in and out, in and out, all this sound and these smells...such an illogical waste of time. I will take one deep breath and slowly let it out and not take another breath until I feel like I need to. What constitutes feeling like a need? Who knows, but that was the logic of 13 year old kid in middle school who didn't want to be noticed...at all...by anyone. When that worked, and I felt like I needed to connect to another human being and I inevitably failed at it because I was a fucking teenager who didn't know how to talk at all, I shrank in on myself, further making myself invisible. I started slouching, burying my chin in my chest, and cinching my shoulders up around my ears.

Of course, this informed the creature I crafted to present when I had to socialize. Better to scare people off at the outset than suffer embarrassment and indignation later on. If they stuck around, then maybe we could be friends. Though trust me, I would continue well on into adulthood to be inappropriate at inopportune moments as some subconscious effort to push people very far away.

Watching Transparent this weekend, the ALT asked why all these people are so messed up. And I said it was because life is so fucking hard. Where Transparent may be looking in on a relatively well-to-do family going through their drama barely informed by anything we might recognize as relatable, it is still shining a light on the awkwardness of life and its many challenges. In specific, Josh might be falling for a trans woman and totally beefs it, on multiple levels and more than once. He's obviously emotionally stunted, but I've been there. I've stepped in shit that I totally set myself up to step in and then cried about it. I realized that this "look at what you've done" mentality of the show extends to so much more of the subversive entertainment I enjoy. I find myself emotionally engaged and invested in drag queens on RuPaul's Drag Race. I identify with the psychotic protagonists of American Psycho and Fight Club. All of them are projecting a reality of themselves to fight against reality, sometimes even while reality fights back, sometimes violently, against them.

There's a bravery in being something you're not, especially if it gives you the ability to function, the freedom to function. My caricature doesn't give me that. I have failed at crafting a mask anyone wants to look at and looking back on the process, that's exactly what I aimed for. I'm no drag queen nor do I intend to maim and murder or beat myself up for others entertainment...even though that's kind of what I'm doing right here. No, the character I want people to accept and love is the author I am—not want to be, am. Except, the self-pitying zombie marionette I have been for so many years doesn't know how to, well, how to human right.

So that's where I'm at. I'm bursting with ideas that can't come out because the seams are too tight in the costume I've crafted. But it's October, the month of Halloween, the month of costumes. So...maybe this harlequin filled with buzzing little nasties can let slip an idea or two.

That's it. I'm not real. But I'm trying real hard to be.

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