As usual, I am writing this and storing it for safekeeping on my own tiny square corner of the internet. As usual, this is not for external criticism, but for those who feel similarly to realize that they are not alone. As usual, this post is going to contain a good amount of dark topics, and as usual, I will be damned if anyone expects me to apologize.
I have been diagnosed with a variety of different things over the span of my life. When it was delinquent, they diagnosed me with genius. When it wasn’t student, they diagnosed me with teacher. When it wasn’t child, they diagnosed me with parent; and when it wasn’t child, they diagnosed me with depression.
When I was a kid, I called the cops on my parents and had the cops called on me (I dare you to guess who did that). I was the kid that got our 6th grade teacher fired, or at least that is what they insinuated. I wasn’t the kid that cared about other kids to a fault, who would take care of her family to the point of her own self-destruction, or the kid that would get straight a’s without being in school most of the year and learn new skills and talents for self-entertainment alone. No. I was the kid that had the broken brain, that went to Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, that “couldn’t” (false) sit still, that would always “question authority” (also false), that would fight back when other stupid shits tried to fight; I was that kid. And I am proud of that, finally.
I was the kid that fought to get into the gifted program in junior high of her own damn free will. I was the kid that showed up to Jazz choir at 7am every Wednesday morning in 5th and 6th grade, and other choirs at the same time until my senior year of high school. I was the kid who was in to everything, who would make inventions and draw things and make up bizarre games that were nothing like playing “house” like the other kids. I was the kid who Teachers were worried about. I was the kid who Teacher’s bullied. I was the kid who Teachers trusted, and I was the kid who would destroy your class work ethic in five minutes if you thought it was cool to do something everyone knew wasn’t okay. I was the kid that would chew out the sonofabitch eighth grade boys for putting bananas on our Teacher’s desk and ruining her self-confidence indefinitely. I was the kid that didn’t shut up. And like the words of the ghosts of family members past: you will be my best friend or my worst enemy.
But that was never true. I was never that kid. I was always me, and fuck all of the labels that seem to come with that. I’m going to be real honest for a second a say a couple of choice things that even my most beloved friends do that still trigger some really annoying self-blame for me.
Firstly, if anyone calls me a “deep thinker” in the near future again, I may literally vomit. I can only take that one once or twice a month. It is meant to be a compliment. It triggers a lot of anger and resentment that comes from feeling perpetually alone when my brain won’t slow the hell down. I have to work hard to not think honestly, and that is not gloating, that is occasionally a curse. I was so happy today as I was driving back from Target, because I was almost in my driveway before I had a solid, conscious thought about something other than the run of the mill daily nothings that come and pass on, drifting down an imaginary mental river.
Please never call me “wise”. I will lose it, I swear. There is a lot of paying attention and seeing things I wish I didn’t that goes into my collective 20 years of knowledge, and I have so much shit to still figure out, it’s daunting. If you call me wise, you forget that I am 20 years old, and I panic about that with a healthy degree of frequency. I don’t want to be anything but 20, because I have to work to stay in the moment and out of my head. I have to focus my empathy on what it looks like to be 20, and it drifts through the corridors of empathizing with myself as a kid, as a parent, as a 80 year old pretty frequently. It’s not something I can explain, but it is part of me. And the empathy is so huge. I don’t want to control it, so I don’t. It kept me alive when I was suicidal, because I knew there was something better. I moved forward, I moved backward, I didn’t stay still, I wrote. And it was always that way.
Please don’t ask for my advice unless you want more why than you want, and less why than I have readily available.
Please don’t push my boundaries. They are there for a reason, especially the one where you ask if you can touch me unless I feel reasonably comfortable with you. I am a hugger, but don’t push it. It could be dangerous to me, and if you seriously enjoy my company, to you as well.
Please don’t ask me if I’ve gotten a diagnosis to account for ____. Fuck no. I’ve gotten them, sure. I haven’t ever taken an IQ or anything like that, and I never will. I am Haley. Enough. Stop. My brain is my brain, like your brain is your brain. The stupid tests don’t mean anything, given how easy they can be manipulated. The medications don’t do anything; THERE IS NO PROBLEM BUT YOUR IGNORANCE AND ROUTINELY OBLIVIOUS CRUELTY. My brain was never the problem for ______. I didn’t want to break your class average. I don’t want to get a special medical sticker on my binder, I don’t want an extra hour taking a test, I could take it in 20 minutes and would probably even do better if you timed me and I had to race with a small group of my classmates. You want my worst? Okay, I hate that it will still be an A, but so be it. I hate that it comes so easy when other people suffer to break even. But it was always mine, and it was never my fucking choice. And just because it is mine, doesn’t mean I really understand it. But guess what? Neither do you.
I will never seek another diagnosis. I will seek medical help when necessary, and if my body is seriously ill or in need of medical treatment or support, I will accept that and pay for it mostly alone like any other person living in the United States of America. I will ignore your stupid questions, and I will do what I love. I may be very happy right this moment (it’s more like a simmering pissed and a dash of sass), but I promise in 5 minutes I could be somewhere completely different. Have you ever seen someone laugh with tears on their face? Get ready.
This is not a game. This is not a curse. This is not irregular; please let me believe that for a little while longer. Your “regular” is code for “good”, and your “good” is code for “enough”. I don’t believe in enough. I don’t believe in limits. I don’t believe in my own personal goodness or badness, because it’s all a matter of generalizing what never really mattered and then using it to cast lots and divisions between you and the people who are potentially even sitting next to you as you read this. I am not ____, I am Haley. And the best part about being any one of us is that none of it ever mattered to God, who made us exactly as we are for no “good” reason. And that is enough.