I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why you did the things you did to me – imagining what it must’ve been like to live in your head. How a person could get to a point where they either didn’t notice or didn’t care how much they were hurting another person.
I’m not saying I’m perfect. In fact I know that I’ve hurt plenty of people, too. Many of you included. But let’s not compare scars. I’ve tried to use my experiences of being the bad guy in the story to help me figure out how you did the things you did.
But I’m really… bored of rehashing those thoughts over and over until my brain goes numb. Because I think… while I know some of you genuinely cared about me, a few maybe even loved me so much that you couldn’t control it, a few probably hated me, and a few didn’t think twice about the fact that I had a mind of my own, at all… the one thing you all had in common was that you were so caught up in yourself, you were blinded, or perhaps just willfully blind, to the fact that my internal experience of my reality is every bit as real and vivid and immediate and meaningful as yours. That a reality you can’t experience first-hand can nevertheless be exactly as saturated with the heaviness of being “real” as the reality you can. That I am not merely a character in your story but the hero of my own, that I am not a paper cut-out of a person but a real one, and that you, in treating me otherwise, have not tarnished my reality, but your own.
And now, I’m scarred. I’m sure you are, too. But I choose not to let those scars make me forget that you are also human, that you also feel helpless, and that you deserve compassion, too, no matter how deep the scars you gave me feel. Life is a fucked up fun house and you’re lucky if you get out with only a handful of disasters on your conscience. So this… this is all I have left to say to you. All of you.
I’m sorry that life hurt you so badly that you felt that you had to hurt me. I’m sorry that you can’t see that other people’s pain is as real and important as yours is. And I’m sorry you bought into the false narrative that you and I are separate, because the truth – or at least I believe it is, maybe I just hope it is – is that everything you did to me, you did to yourself, as well.
The fun house mirrors might make your reflection look like a different person, but the eyes that stare back at you are still the same. What do you see, now, when you look at mine? Can I even convince you of the reality of the ocean behind them? Will you ever see the people around you in high resolution, or will you live your whole life creating caricatures to superimpose onto them instead? Will you even read this? Would you understand a word of it if you did, or would this just become another piece of evidence in my file, labeled “crazy girl number 467”?
Do you understand that I pity you, that I show you the mercy you failed to show me, not out of weakness, but strength? Can you see beyond your insecurities and your ego and your relentless self-abuse enough to realize the mountains I had to climb within my own mind to be able to write these words? Is there anything I could say that would make a difference to you at all, or can some people really just never be convinced that the earth rotates around the sun, and not themselves…?
Maybe we’re not as different as I’d like to think. We’re probably not. But I, at least, can see that. Can you?