Finding My Wings : I Can’t Be That Way

These are the words I shared
With three people
On the 22nd of October
Of 2010.

They come from a song
By the group Disturbed.
The song is named
“Violence Fetish”.

So tell me what am I supposed to be
Another goddamn drone

Funny thing about that.
I’ve come to understand
That a lot of people
Read those words.
And took them in a way
I didn’t mean them at all.

They were insulted.

It seems some people thought
That I was calling them all
Mindless drones.
All the same.
With no differences at all.
And declaring that I didn’t want
To be like them.

They were afraid.

It seems other people thought
That I was declaring
I would only be allowed
To behave in just one way,
So that everyone would know
How I would react
To every thing that came along.
And I would never do
Anything at all
That would surprise anyone
In any way at all.

They were disturbed.
Their days disrupted.
By those words.

Those words made people think
That I was violent.
That I was angry.
And God alone
Knows what else.

In short,
People interpreted the words
That I’d sent to them
Completely differently
Than what they meant to me.

I’ve been learning
That people will interpret
The things I say,
The things I write,
In their own way.

And I have no control of that
At all.

I’m here to continue
On this strange path I’m on.
Where I’m learning to understand
Both myself.
And the other people
I encounter in this world.

This single incident,
Centered on those words,
Has lead me to ask
One question after another.
In the past 12 months.

I value independence.
The uniqueness
Of each person that I meet.
Each person that I know.

But in those days,
When those very people
I’d worked with
For years and years
Had told me that I couldn’t
Work there any more,
Because my actions
Were disturbing them.

They wounded me
Clean to my core.

I’d trusted them.
I’d worked with them.
I’d cared for them.
I’d even tried to help them
In any way I could.

Even though I knew
That I did not always behave
Like they wanted me to.

I let them all behave
In their own unique ways.
Even if their behavior
Disturbed me.
And I lost count of the times
That the behavior that I saw
In that work place
Left me so frustrated
That I felt as if
I had to go some place
And scream.

After 10 years of time
Spent in that one work place.
I woke up.
And when I did
I started to change.

I started doing things,
And going places,
No one there
Would ever do,
Would ever go.

I went to Dragon*Con
In 2008.
With my family.
And I had a great time there.
Taking pictures.
Writing haiku in workshops.
Looking at the work
Of artists.
Listening to music
I had never heard.
From bands that no one
From that land of work
Would ever listen to.

In my last three years
In that land of work,
I changed.
I grew.
I came back to life.

That there were things I like
Began to show.
I began to write
In my notebook.
More and more.
I stopped using pens
With nothing but black ink.
I started writing
In bold colors.
Red, Blue, Orange, Green.
And others.

I brought in a fairy figuring.
And sat it on the desk
Where I worked each day.

I started sharing all the pictures
That I’d taken
On vacations,
And on trips
To parks,
And mountains,
And the ocean front.

Gradually,
With time.
The fact that I was human,
And had feelings of my own
Came out.

And as I changed,
As I woke up,
I couldn’t help but notice
That every person I worked with
Behaved in the same way.

That every person I worked with
Reacted just the same
When something happened
In the work place.

It was because of this
That to me,
The place became
The land of gray.
A place where everything
Was exactly the same.

Except for the three of them.

Everyone in the workplace
Was a male.
Except of the three of them.
And the three of them
Were not the same
As the males
In the land of gray.

They spoke to me.
Encouraged me
To write more.
To share my pictures
With them.

I started wearing
My fairy t-shirts in
On Fridays every week.
And it seemed to me
That the three of them
Were OK with that.
And I liked my fairy t-shirts
Very much.
I still do.
I wear them all the time.
Every day,
When I’m at home.

I grew my collection
Of fairy figurines.
And fairy t-shirts too.

And as I shared
More of my pictures,
And the words I wrote
With the three of them,
Something perfectly natural
Began to happen on its own.

My emotions,
And my feelings,
Began to show.

I will always remember
When the one I call
The Lenten Rose
Gave me a hug one day.

I didn’t really know
The rules of behavior
In that place.
I never really did.
I just knew that as long
As I did my work each day,
Every thing was OK.

How very wrong I was.

For at the end
Of my time in that work place
I learned the hard way
That I was supposed to behave
Just like all the other males
In that place.
In that land of gray.

And I did not.
I could not.
And I never will behave
Like the people that I knew,
And worked with
In that place.

To me it’s like
There’s more than one
Of each of them.
The one they have at home,
With their families
And friends.
The one they have at work,
With the people that they know
And work with
Every day.
The one they have
When they are alone.
And don’t feel at all
Like they have to hide
Who they really are.

The one they have
When they are eating out
In a restaurant.

Another one of them exists
Within the walls,
And circles,
Of the church that they go to.

And I would learn
That I could not exist that way.
That there was,
And is,
Only one of me.
And I’m the same
In all those places.

I just don’t become someone
That I’m not,
In the place I work.
I remain myself.
And nothing,
And no one,
Else.

So tell me what am I supposed to be
Another goddamn drone

So tell me what am I supposed to be.
Someone that I’m not?
Someone that exists
Only in one place
In the life I lead?
Someone that exists
In the workplace,
And nowhere else?

Someone that I let
The people that I work with see,
So that they can feel safe
And secure
Around me,
Even though that someone
Isn’t really me?

So tell me what am I supposed to be
Another goddamn drone

Behaving just like everyone
In the land of gray.

I can’t be that way.

It would slowly kill me.

And that’s what I meant on the day
That I shared the words
Of that song
By Disturbed
With the people
I once worked with.

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