Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Same World

I have a friend, a best friend, who tells me the world is self-preservation. Everyone, taking taking taking, protecting themselves, leaving empy cum-stained sheets and tear-soaked pillows with as little remorse as they were taught to feign in some half-forgotten church service gloomily lurking in their past. She sees the child-fuckers, the nihilistic capitalists, the apathetic self-deluding masses and knows that trust is an invitation to be stabbed in the heart again and again and again.

She writes poetry and fiction, of empty households and barely-teenage girls having sex with too-older-men and there is no rage or trauma or hurt, just parasites that feed upon each other. And I read some of it and think “My God, this is so indelibly bleak.” And I tell her that its only flaw is that it is not realistic. This is not how people are. This is not how the world is. Her vision is well-earned, no doubt, but surely it is coated in a veneer entirely of her own making.

And then she tells me. Months later, for I am so fervent in my belief. She tells me, “Juliet, you are the only person who’s ever read my story and thought it was unrealistic. When I first read it to my class, everyone raved about how very real it was. It reflected life in a way that resonated with each of them. You’re the only one.”

We talked about it. And I am struck by the mutually exclusive validity of our subjectivities. For me, people are mostly good with good intentions. We are ignorant and we are weak and we are flawed, some of us moreso than others, but so many, so very many so often rise above. There is good, there is beauty in everyone. And when I get past the fog of myself, I am startled by how clearly that beauty shines through.

We talked, and my friend agreed that if I rewrote her story, others would find it realistic too. For I pursue and call out my truth as relentlessly as she does hers. We sing different songs, but they are both music all the same.

This is a world where my father was sexually molested as a child and on Saturday night his demons found me in a dream and shattered me to pieces so I sobbed in the dream half-awake and half-asleep and I found no way to put myself back together again.

This is a world where a person I have known for three months would not let me suffer in self-imposed silence and persistently offered herself until I came to her on Monday afternoon and she beat me with love in an unyielding barrage of unrelenting compassion until I melted down and she held me and I was regrown anew.

This is a world where a former coach at an illustrious public university created an organization that was supposed to help young boys and, over the course of decades, used it to rape at least a score of them while so many very powerful people knew and did nothing.

This is a world where some of those boys will turn into tormented men like my father, self-centered vacuums that consume and blame everything around them in a desperately futile attempt to close the gaping hurt another broken man, in a matter of moments, so thoroughly wounded them with.

And this is a world where some of those boys and some of our friends will find themselves almost by chance at a Take Back the Night rally (as I was two weeks ago) and they will say “I have never told anyone this before, but…” and the whole room, already saturated in tears, will burst apart anew in shared suffering and everyone will say and mean “We support you” and a stranger will hold that young man and he will be powerful and beautiful and will, in his life, help scores and more of other little boys and girls turning men and women who will all be so much better for him.

This is a world where my friend calls me crying in the middle of the night because the strange man outside her apartment is salt, is salt, is salt and I can only pray she's ok tonight, for the the weeks of sleepless nights ahead pale in comparison.

 And this is a world where that friend managed to call me, where she trusted me, trusted me enough to call me, bleak world be damned.

And somehow, it’s all the same world. Somehow.

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