This Is Why
I move into a new environment, several years pass, and only then do I begin to find comfort with people in my surroundings. In groups and circles that have become old and familiar, I find myself alienated as time passes. Amongst people of kindred philosophies and outlooks on life, I always seem to reach an impasse of fundamental disagreement.
Alienation sets in, an old and familiar friend of years.
Why? Why does this always happen to me?
Is something wrong with me?
I am frequently alone. Social situations commonly spark a sense of unrest or a lack of interest. Time spent with a book, a movie watched alone, or a solitary walk in the woods are often more appealing.
I do not trust people. During parties, I am often found curled up with the host’s dog or cat. I feel a far greater degree of comfort with animals than I do with humans. Animals have simple, straightforward agendas. They are generally honest and do not put on airs. Animals are worthy of trust. Human beings are not.
You aren’t supposed to admit things like this. And yet, I get an odd thrill by doing so.
Is there something wrong with me?
Should I even care?
This way of being has been with me for a long time… but not always. I remember being quite young, perhaps four or five years old, and being outgoing. I remember striking up conversations with strangers with an ease that now seems impossible. The world was a wondrous place. People seemed inviting, exciting, and engaging.
The sweet innocence of a child.
I think, maybe, this was beaten out of me. With words. With fists. With other people’s agendas of who I should be. Children who are not gender-normative go through this, you see. This is normal. It is the way of the world. Beat masculinity into a boy. It will make a man of her. Well, fuck you, humanity. It didn’t work. Instead, what you’ve beaten into me is a hatred of your existence: undying, enduring, plaguing my soul.
Is there something wrong with me?
Yes, there is. And for good reason.
Is this too much? Am I being too honest? Tough. You—the collective you—created me. Now fucking deal with it.
Do you see the anger in the paragraphs above? This is what I keep hidden from view. Be a good girl. Be polite. You are not supposed to admit these things aloud… not even to yourself. Writing them is cathartic, though. I do not like humanity. I am a misanthrope. A small thrill runs through me as I type these words.
As triumphantly hateful as I sound, I don’t actually like being this way. I don’t want to be disappointed by my own species. I do not wish to look upon others with never ending cynicism and mistrust. Seeing one’s fellow mammals as a cesspit of nastiness doesn’t cheer a person as she sips her morning tea.
Why does this happen? From whence does this malaise hail?
This is what I have recently come to understand. There is a kind of mathematics to this. The why starts with a who.
Who am I?
I was born into a white, working class family of unrepentant racists—a group of vile people that I am now estranged from. I am a survivor of childhood abuse. I grew up as a gender variant boy. I grew into a transgender woman. I lost my religion at the onset of adulthood. I became a vegetarian. I became a leftist, a feminist, a bleeding heart liberal. I went to college. I graduated with a degree in both engineering and the humanities. I feel an attraction toward women and to a much lesser extent, men. However, I rarely seek romantic companionship because I am more asexual than anything else. I do not fit the gender expectations of my sex, even though I am comfortable with my female form. I believe in no god, but I find that scientific materialism bores me and leaves me uninspired. I believe I am more than the atoms of my body. I despise the arrogance of ontological certitude. I am drawn to and fulfilled by the unknown.
To summarize, I am a white, feminist, vegetarian, leftist, atheist/agnostic/spiritualist, transgender, lesbian/bisexual/asexual, gender-nonconforming, college educated woman of working class roots who is estranged from her family and is a survivor of abuse.
It would seem that I have taken quite a few steps off the beaten path. How many people on the planet hold this description in common with me? A handful? Perhaps, we could fill a small auditorium? This many, out of the billions people who populate the planet?
No wonder I feel like a fucking space alien, sometimes. The possibility of my being the odd person out in a social gathering is high. The likelihood of accidentally running headfirst into someone’s unwitting prejudice is also exceedingly high. In addition to the emotional damage that I sustained in my childhood, this explains why I feel so ill-at-ease with others.
However, I am unwilling to conform. I am unwilling to change so that I fit into people’s fucked up notion of “normal”. This then, is the reality of my life. I am an outsider and this is will not change. Because of people’s prejudices—and there are many—I will always find a sense of disappointment in humanity.
I will live with this until my last, dying breath.
This is reality. This is why I feel lost. This is why human company inspires ambivalence and distance. My sense of centeredness and connectedness can not be found amongst human beings. This is impossible. Logic dictates that this is so.
That’s one hell of a realization.
Beyond this certainty, lies unknown ground.
This article is one installment of a five part series: