December 10th, 2003:

different, maybe

I feel different. I’m certainly a different person than I was last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, but that’s not quite what I mean. I feel different than everyone else. Of course, everyone is different. That’s part of being human. That’s part of what genetics, our upbringing, and the events of our lives lead us to be. Maybe, in some small way, before birth, before the beginning, we are all the same. But those similarities fade quickly enough that there is only enough left to allow us to recognize each other as human. But that’s not really what I mean either. I feel so different, at times, that I feel alone.

This isn’t some sobbing rant about how no one could possibly ever understand me, what I feel, or how I think. I’m sure that somewhere on this vast planet there is someone whose life’s circumstances would put them in a position to understand many aspects of me. I just don’t know them, or I don’t think I do. I don’t mean to say that my friends and I don’t connect, or that Jess doesn’t understand who I am and where I come from. On the contrary, my friends are very supportive and seemingly always willing to listen with honesty and compassion should I feel the need to talk. My wife, of course, has never been anything other than supportive. While she may not understand everything about me, she certainly tries and does more for me than I could ever expect of anyone. But that isn’t it.

I feel as though, in some ways, I am so different from those around me that, if I were to attempt to explain who I am, what I believe, how I think, or what is important to me, that my words would be met with misunderstanding. I feel that, even though I’m always given an open door and a caring ear, I’m better off keeping my mouth shut. The idealistic world that exists in my mind where everyone is honest and open seems to only work in theory. Much like socialism, in practice these ideals fall apart. Someone, somewhere along the way decides that he benefits more from being dishonest and, by doing so, tears these ideals right down the middle. I feel like that is exactly what would happen to me, but on a much smaller scale of course. And, by having been burned by my ideals more than once in the past, I’m not willing to take that risk again.

Obviously, I’m being vague. Despite the fact that doing so offers me some protection from what I fear would happen, I think doing so also serves as a probe — a way of trying to find someone who might say the right thing to make me believe that he might just understand. This isn’t the first time I’ve sent such a probe.

However, the cynic in my believes that I’m desperate for understanding and acceptance and this probe merely serves as a incarnation of that desperation. It leads me to believe that I will somehow twist the words of others in my head to make it seem as though they do understand, pushing me to believe that my ideals can be upheld, at least with one person when, in reality, they can’t. And, of course, since I am fully aware of this belief, the moment that happens I’ll convince myself that I’m accepting purely based on that desperation, leading me to force myself to not trust my impressions. That, obviously, leads to a circle of insanity and loneliness which leads me to believe, despite the reality of the situation, that I really am alone, and that I it isn’t possible to be understood.

The worse part is knowing how my mind works, knowing that I know this, and knowing that it is very possible that these feelings of loneliness, unacceptance, and misunderstanding are created within me. It’s the possibility that, if I could just accept and understand myself as a normal human being with normal, acceptable, and understandable thoughts and dreams, I would feel open enough to express these things clearly and without regret. It’s knowing that, if I could do just that, I might find that I’m really not that different after all. That’s the hardest part.