A favorite past-time of mine is exploring possible reasons why I still exist. There are many reasons why I shouldn't -- circumstances similar to those I've experienced have put others in boxes punitive or, more often, sepulchral. What explains the matrix of decisions made by homo sapiens sapiens, unwittingly and otherwise, that has resulted in my drawing breath and being nominally aware of my surroundings at this very moment? This is as masturbatory as any other blog, and let's always bear in mind the comedic possibilities of the blow to my vanity instant death would deliver upon my clicking "Publish." But I digress...
Here's what I have to go on: there is a distinct wash of the feminine to my personal history. Yes, I suffered the typical slings and arrows with which childhood pelts even the debs and jocks, but I was bullied far, far less than you would expect an egghead faggot to be. I was generally well-liked. My school counselor in high school in so many words described me as a bit of social lubrication or the diplomat who kept circumstances from devolving into Lord of the Flies during home room. I was a peer counselor, for fuck's sake. I was zeroed in on by anyone who needed a non-judgmental ear. My peers had no reservations -- whoever said something to me knew they were safe to say anything, no matter how ridiculous, poorly worded, or insane. Losers weren't losers around me, weirdos were cool, and the popular were somewhat self-conscious and sensitive to my opinion. I was physically capable of embarrassing bullies to where I needed to do so only a couple of times early on -- the swirlie and the wedgie were known to me only second hand, and from media depictions. Other boys instinctively refrained from rough-housing with me. Mostly, though, I was spared fighting for myself. When Terence made a homophobic crack that probably didn't even have anything to do with me, loutish brute Kevin kicked his ass as though being chivalrous on my behalf. The only scary enemies I had were the boys who creeped everyone out: Joey, who had all the makings of a serial rapist, and contemptuously misogynistic monster Frank; we had brief, enlightening run-ins that warned me about them and marked me in their eyes as one valued by the people they loathed. My hydrochloric acid-dipped scalpel tongue was a secret weapon reserved for adults who abused their authority...and in any ensuing arbitration, the decision was made in my favor. There's my home life: I was the lightning rod for violence, drawing it away from my mother and brother. Ana and I both ran away around the same time in our adolescence, for the same reasons; I was treated by my father in a way that would make sense to any Latina who had a controlling, somewhat abusive, sheltering dad.
It's not a lot to go on, but I'm getting the sense that I'm a bit of a freak of nature, and that I'd not be wracked with such a crisis of understanding had I been a biological female.
Today I find myself as an either tolerated, an unnoticed, or a valued member of a community I don't actively seek to figure out mainly out of respect for the privacy of the individuals who constitute it. I can be terribly perceptive -- a risky quality in a world ruled mainly by brute stupidity and peppered with elements desirous of power other overs though they are unqualified to wield it. I'm guessing I've ended up as the naive smart-ass whose circumstances as apparent to unbiased, sharp, independent observers let those observers know what to look out for to so they might optimally care for themselves. Best I've got. There's also the possibility that I'm a human shield covering for a lot of people who've earned some punishment or another. Really, it's all so vague...
It's funny. This ruminative rambling post today was inspired by a thought: all across this country there are people who've been laid off and foreclosed upon, and now all of the sudden they're being confronted quite concretely with the demand to justify their very existence. Pink slips and rapacious banks have told them they and the mouths they have to feed are worthless, and the only option open to them is to Occupy [insert location.] I felt terrible: here I am, a formerly homeless mental patient with a debilitatingly high intelligence quotient, severe emotional imbalances, who works part-time as a caregiver and creates art appreciated by some people who are really quite fascinating in their own right. In other words, I'm somewhat less worthwhile than Kim Kardashian. I want so desperately to shout at those who're being left to die by the systems designed to serve them that they are not to blame -- no factotum, no young turk has any fucking right to demand they justify their existence. I think of the t-shirt-and-jeans dude so used to a life in a tract home he lost not long after his job was downsized, and I want to find him and tell him he can crash on my floor as long as he needs. I want to share my food with the mom who has nowhere to go, despite there being hundreds of empty houses for every homeless person in this land of the free and the brave. Boys who never really had a chance to properly grow an adult beard have sacrificed their lives in far away countries so I could do any goddamn fucking thing I wanted with my life, and I want to do more than kick up my heels -- I want to share. I could grandstand under the tenderizing ministrations of a cop's baton at a protest, but that's just another kind of self-indulgence.
I kind of get that I have a place, or at least have been designated as not worth eliminating. But how do I do more than just occupy it? How do I really put it to use in a way that serves more than just me?
Yes, I'm blegging for wisdom. Help?