This is Quite the Performance

There is something about being a trauma survivor that makes the world around me feel like a massive performance. As though every day the world awakens to an eternal, mutually-agreed-upon, 24-hour flash mob of fraud.

It seems as though the people around me expect too much civility, too much quietness, and too many niceties. The politics of systems and institutions seem, some days, to strangle the breath out of me. Navigating relationships becomes exhausting and even, at times, hilariously ineffectual.

I pretend to like you, you pretend to like me, we earn our wages and buy our wares and go to sleep, only to do it all over again tomorrow. Some of us drink or take drugs to make ourselves feel a little bit better about the lies we tell others and ourselves. We might pair up, we might even procreate - or not. All the while never acknowledging how deeply we hurt. And then, we die.

Does that sound too nihilistic?

I don’t intend to turn to the truth of violence here as the underlying honesty which we are all avoiding. Some days, that is the truth. But not always. Some days, the truth is the kind of love that stings because it is so pure.

Look. It’s not that we cover up the darkness with our lives to make life palatable.

It’s that we cover up the extremes of life to make our world more numb.

The performance that we put on isn’t that all is well. If that were the performance, this worldwide play would be even more of a failure than it already is.

The performance is that the middle is where life is lived. That’s the great lie.

I could be wrong here. I admit that now and completely.

But as a trauma survivor, one whose first twenty years were all violence and rage and pain, and who swung so far to the other side that there will never be enough glitter in the world to reflect all the light I have to shine, it feels like the truth.

The middle is grey. The middle is dim. The middle is dusk without the sun and without the stars.

This is not where life is lived. In the moments where nothing is happening and we are simply shuffling along to get to the next moment. Life is not lived in the shrugs and the meaningless sighs and the tapping on the keyboard only to hit “delete all” thirty seconds later.

Life is in the rage, and the joy. The meeting of strangers and the breakups. It’s in the shining mundanity of laying on the couch with your head in your beloved’s lap when you think to yourself, “Could anything be more right than this?” It’s in squealing at a puppy you see being walked on the sidewalk in town, tripping over its own feet in its excitement to be alive. And the owner looks at you and smiles, because you acknowledged the adorable absurdity of this tiny little life just beginning. Life is lived in the moment where you say the thing to a friend that, you will learn soon, changes the relationship forever.

Life is lived in the glitter. In the loud and the unkempt and the unsuitable.

The flash mob of fraud is the boring dream you don’t remember when you wake up. It isn’t life well-lived.

Again, just my opinion. I could be wrong.