She was just one of an endless string of people in my life who never understood why I did what I did. Another in an endless string of people I wounded, disturbed, and left in confusion, tears and pain. That’s who I am. I’m no good.
She asked me on that Sunday in November, “Why? Why did you un-friend everyone from the church?” I’d expected her to ask. And I knew she’d never understand, never figure it out. Just like I knew I could explain what I’d done a million times, and she still wouldn’t understand.
But I tried to explain anyway. I’m stupid that way. Or, perhaps, I’m optimistic that way. Yeah. I’m a stupid optimist. That works.
“I didn’t leave because I don’t like them.”
“Then why did you leave?”
“To protect them.”
“To protect them? Protect them from what?”
I knew what was coming. I knew what would happen. The same thing that always happened. I’d learn to live a lie, behaving as expected in the group, so no one would be disturbed, or upset, by me. That’s how I cope with people. I figure out what they want me to become, how they want me to behave, and I become that. Because that makes them happy. That shuts them up. That gets them to leave me alone, and not say to me, endlessly, “But, you can’t be that way!” I would rip my heart and soul to ribbons to blend in, and keep them safe.
And if I decided to not blend in, behaved as me, who I really am, to say what I believe, live like I believe, well. That would leave everyone in her church asking, “What’s wrong with him?” and “Doesn’t he know he can’t be like that?” and “Doesn’t he know that’s wrong?”
They’d have never accepted my writing, especially when I wrote anything explicit. Men and women having sex is something church people don’t write about. Especially when they’re exploring different aspects of sex, trying things out. That’s disturbing and disruptive to them. Besides, that’s something church people just don’t do, and don’t condone, or accept in others. So, just by exploring things to write, I’d have wound up at odds with every person in her church.
I’d shut down my writing before. I gave my word to God, to life, I wouldn’t shut it down again.
Then there were the people I talked to, associated with, on the Internet. Gay rights supporters. Openly homosexual people, bisexual people, transsexual people. People of different races, colors, creeds, religions. Even self-proclaimed witches, pagans, and atheists. I could certainly talk to such people and not hear about it in church, not be criticized in church, not be told, “We’ll pray for you.”
I tried. I did. I tried to explain everything. Why I left. Why I put myself out of the reach of the people of her church. But she never understood. All she said was what I knew she would say.
“You can’t be that way.”
She never understood I am that way, and can’t be any other way. She never understood I’m broken, and no good. And now, she’s one of the endless list of people I’ve hurt, and left wounded, in my life. A list that grows, endlessly. Because no matter how I try, I can’t explain to anyone why I do what I do, why I am how I am. No one ever understands.
And I can’t live that lie of blending in any more. I can’t tear my heart to ribbons, or crucify my soul. I tried that for three decades. That blending in, and being safe, nearly killed me. Oh, I know. People tell me, “There was nothing wrong with you. You just had your through processes screwed up, that’s all.” They literally can’t understand, my thought processes aren’t screwed up. They’re different.
And in their world, I’m broken. And no good.
My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 24 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.