They rattle around in my head like pennies. Loose change no-one wants anymore. Worth less than the price it costs to make them. We should be debasing them. But, we don’t do it because, what a hassle? Right?
They got there in the first place because somebody, as I was growing up, thought I was a piggy bank that they’d drop these in. Little pieces of their prejudices, one by one, stacking higher on top of themselves inside my head until I was a robot spitting out phrases and pieces of conversations I’d never heard, never had, only knew the ends of. Only knew how to pass the judgement I was brimming with.
I just got stuck that way. Years and years on end without ever realizing. Until eventually, someone smashed me, broke apart this outer shell, and ruined me.
I’ve been putting myself back together, bit by bit, careful and methodical as I can, ever since.
Now, I want to be nothing of the shape my parents and teachers and friends or enemies made of me. Still made of the same materials, all the same words and phrases, the same language, same moods and phases. But, I need to arrange them desperately.
At times, it just feels impossible.
Bound, not to beauty, but to fail.
I look at you from across the street and what do I see?
A woman. A man. A transient. A hipster. A lesbian. A transvestite. An old guy. A young girl. A business man. A mother. A cyclist. A runner. A homeless. A drunk. A driver. A waitress.
A label. A category. A snappy term to lock you up with plenty of preconceived notions and set you aside with. To categorize you and throw you away with. Something small and simply defined. Some scrap, some arbitrary — probably most immediately obvious — bit of useless information that might or might not accurately portray even one small cross-section of your utterly complex life.
And yet, this piggy bank of predeteremined definitions rattles every time I look around, across the street, out a window, in the mirror.
I cannot escape what the past and history has done to me. I’m trying, but I’m steeped in it, up to my last breath in it, can’t get by without it.
So what can I do?
Reject the old names and old ways. All of them. Start from scratch, from the bottom, from zero. And build from there toward the sun, toward life, toward peace, toward love.
Oh, and be forgiving of myself when I fail.