A Non-Comprehensive List of Things You Never Understood About Me

Self-hatred doesn’t have an outward sign. I am thin, white, female, neither too butch or too femme, and my illness can be hidden away under strategic cuts and closed-toe shoes. Privilege wrapping around me like the skin of an onion, perfect for social camouflage. I am simultaneously too healthy for normal people and too easy to blend in for the rest of us.

“I hear you,” I say, but I can tell nobody believes me. How could I understand when I look so well?

* * *

While I’m young, my dislike of conventional things can be written off as a rather tame rebellion or the understandable effects of bullying. Either way, I’m quiet, withdrawn, self-contained, easy to handle. Everyone seems to think I’ll grow out of it, that eventually I’ll want what everyone else wants. A gold band on my fourth finger. A chubby little hand grasping my own. Many chances to put into practice all these tips in women’s magazines that promise ecstasy.

Years flow by, and I remain self-contained. What’s wrong with me? I look so well!

* * *

The bullying did hurt. You told me to let it slide off my back, to imagine a shield between me and others, to laugh at my tormentors rather than fight them. I know you meant well. I know you were doing your best, too. But still, it hurt.

You wonder how I forgave you. You wonder how I can look so well. The truth is, I learned to be blind from you.

* * *

It won’t hurt. Okay, it’ll be just a pinch. A bit of soreness, that is all. You might experience some side effects. Don’t worry if you think you wet your pants, that’s how it’s supposed to feel. Try to relax. Try not to think about it. Project happy wellness thoughts. You’re very brave.

No, I don’t believe you. Why do you ask?

* * *

Secretly, I keep on hoping that you are right. That once the right one comes along, I will be made whole. They won’t care about my deformities, the grossness of my body, the utter strangeness of it all. I’ll be as everyone else is, finally growing into my privilege. That I will be happy. That I will be well.

I cry every time I’m confronted with the truth — I’m wrong. I’ve always been wrong.

* * *

Nice people fill me with rage. “I hear you,” they say. “I understand what you’re going through. You’re so brave. You’re so strong. I really admire you.”

Fuck you all. You’re never there when you’re needed. Bystanders offering congratulations to the victim for not screaming. “Well done. You’re less of a handful. Don’t worry. You’ll grow out of the sadness.”

* * *

You don’t believe me when I say I practice sports or do my makeup or buy beautiful clothes for my own pleasure.

What else is new?

* * *

Still, I believe in people. I believe in love. I believe in everyone’s better nature prevailing And I am thus disappointed, again and again. How have I not become bitter yet? How am I still so well.

It’s odd. It’s alien.

It’s me.

Reality, as always, being stranger than fiction. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

“Oh no, what have I done” is the story of my life.