And I Wait

What am I doing, you might ask? I’m just waiting.

Waiting for something to change. Waiting for something good to happen. Waiting for something bad to happen. Whichever comes first, I suppose.

Waiting for my life to begin, like I thought it did four years ago. Like I thought it did three years ago. Like I thought it did one year ago. But no, I’m still waiting. Sitting here all patient-like, twiddling my thumbs, humming a tune, trying to keep my chin up and my head high and my smile on. Trying to keep from losing hope. Trying to remember that my waiting will stop eventually, that it will all pay off in the end, that something is going to change. All I need to do is wait.

And so I do. I wait. Like a good little girl with my legs crossed at the ankles and my nice, white dress so free of stains, I wait.

I wait for the clouds to slide on by and leave the sun shining down on me. I wait for someone to answer my questions, to take me by the hand and lead me forward. I wait to be heard, wait to receive my voice. I wait for someone to see me, really see me, and I wait for someone to care about what they see. I wait to care back. I wait and I wait and I tell myself that it’s good to wait, it doesn’t mean anything that I’m sitting here waiting. It’s not a waste of life, it is life. Life is waiting. And that’s what I’m doing.

And waiting is better than sleeping in the dirt.

Isn’t it?

I wait to lose my patience. I wait to scream, to cry, to break. I wait to reach a point where I can no longer wait at all, and I wait to see what I will do when that point comes. I wait to become a disappointment. I wait to make mommy cry, to make daddy refuse to so much as awknowledge my name. I wait to make everyone hate me at last, the way I know they should.

I wait for the scars that I put on my arms to heal. I wait for the blood to dry and crack and peel away. I wait for my smile to feel natural. I wait to be comfortable in this spotless white dress that they put me in. I wait to know what I would feel comfortable in. I wait to know my name, to speak it aloud and feel how good it will taste on my lips. I wait to find out if any of that will ever happen. I wait for the courage to believe it will.

And so I sit here, and I wait.

And I wait.

And I wait.

Who Am I?

Who am I?

I think a lot of people around my age start to go through this phase, this question of who am I. We want to know. We want to define ourselves. And it’s never enough to merely say I am me. I am a person with blood in my veins and a universe in my soul. I am a series of endless possibilities, a limitless creation. I can do anything and be anything. I am who I am. As much as all of that is true, we still feel the need to set these definitions up for ourselves. We still need a solid ground to stand on, a place to build off from.

So who am I?

Am I a lover? Am I a friend? Am I a daughter, a sister, a mother? Do I need to attach myself to people? Can I exist alone?

Am I a woman? Am I a man? Do I exist in between? Do I exist in neither space?

Am I kind? Am I cruel? Am I a slippery serpent hidden beneath a kind word and a smile?

Am I ambitious? Cutthroat? Willing to do anything and everything to get what I want? What do I want?

Am I a scholar? A worker? A layabout? Am I someone who can be satisfied with all this? Am I someone who craves more, who needs more? Am I someone who can ever be fully satisfied?

And what does all of this mean? Man, woman, child, good, evil, intelligent, hard-working, what do all these words mean in relation to me? Am I any of them? Am I none of them? Can any of them ever fully apply to me? Can I ever receive answers? Or is that all that life is – questions? Just an endless series of questions, a continuous attempt to fill in the blanks until it’s all over and there’s no more you left to be defined?

Or maybe the problem is that we keep asking these questions because we cannot define ourselves. Maybe it doesn’t work that way. Maybe others can define us – they can look at us and make decisions about who we are based on the way that we act, but we can never be fully satisfied with the definitions that we place upon ourselves because we are constantly changing. We are not simply one thing, we are ever evolving, always growing, always becoming different from the definitions that we place upon ourselves. One day we are kind and nurturing, and the next we are angry and all-consuming, a destructive force, our own villains that must be overcome by the hero within us. By the goodness and the contemplation that we are equally as capable of.

So who am I? I am all and everything. I am what I want to be. That’s who I am.

Becoming the Contradiction

Ever since I started to let people get to know me, I’ve been expending far too much time and energy on trying to find out who, exactly, I am. It’s strange – as a writer, I’ve created countless characters, and I’ve sent them on the path of more stories than I can probably name. I’ve fleshed them out, given them strengths and weaknesses, quirks and thoughts and feelings, but the one character who has been the most difficult to build thus far has been me – the character of Ciara. She’s been a bitch, really – unrelenting, unsatisfied. I tell her to be one thing, and she says no. I really hate her sometimes, but I want to build her for some reason.

And as of this morning, I think I’ve stumbled upon an identity that satisfies both me and her: that of the contradiction.

I exist in the space between gender and sexual orientation. I am both man and woman. Both the stereotype of the suburban, heterosexual housewife who delights in baking and caring for dependents, and the stereotype of the radical feminist lesbian, screaming until my voice is hoarse to kill all men. Kill all men and put me in their place, because as much as I might say I don’t, I want to rule. I want them all to bow down before me, to love me, to write my name with special care in their history books. But I know that they won’t do it if I order them to, so I don’t. Instead, I suggest it to them sweetly, with a smile on my face and a waiting embrace held in my arms.

I believe firmly in love and compassion in a world that so rarely accepts it. I want to help the people around me, to do whatever I can to give them a leg up, because I know how hard it is to get what you want out of life. But at the same time, I promised myself long ago that I would never let anyone, man, woman, or child, stand in the way of my dreams, and if I have to, I am prepared to cut your throat to achieve them. I might cry over it afterward, but I will do it. I have given myself no other choice.

I am known to one by the name of Daughter, and I am known to another by the name of Burden, and both titles suit me just fine. I am the bigot and the activist, the bleeding heart and the cold fist. I cry at Disney movies and laugh at horror movies. I have difficulties getting close to people, but I feel like I understand them well, and as much as I cannot connect, I still love them all dearly – even the broken ones. Even the poisoned ones. Even the ones like me.

As a writer, I am every character that I have ever created. I honestly don’t know which came first – them or me. Did they create me, or did I create them? (Which came first – the chicken or the egg?) I am the soul-sucking vampire, the forest-dwelling trickster, the bold hero and the cruel villain. I don’t fit into boundaries, because they don’t fit into boundaries. My characters are never just one thing, they are everything – male, female, gay, straight, wise, foolish, young, old – and because of that, I am everything, and I am nothing. I am only what they are.

There is only one label that I can place on myself that I feel comfortable bearing – the label of ‘writer’. Everything else feels wrong. It feels like a role, one that I am expected to play whether I want to or not. It feels like a narrow definition that I must shave off pieces of myself in order to fit into.

And maybe the problem isn’t that I can’t fit into these boxes. Maybe the problem is that I’m trying to fit into them at all. Maybe I was made to transcend boxes. Maybe I’m more than that.