Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
In high school, I was voted biggest spaz and most likely to start a fight. I didn’t go to the senior banquet which distributed these awards. When I was in the mental institution, the ward elected me president of the patients: a patient who coordinates the snack pantry with the orderlies and other small tasks. It’s a tiny little honor, but it moved me. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I belonged. I wasn’t out there for someone’s amusement as I got angry. I became comfortable with living as a joke in high school. In there, like most social situations, I was awkward. I rose above it by making myself into a big, flamboyant character who stood out: black leather gloves I never removed in public, a black leather jacket, a colored shirt, and asymmetrical paisley neckties. I liked my look. I became the role, I liked it so much. Then, unlike now, infamy comforted me. I knew as long as someone was laughing at my expense, or everyone who thought me suitable to insult in absentia at the senior banquet, I had a life away from the caged lion I quickly adopted to the exclusion of the rest of me. I still live with a hole in me. In private, I call it “The Old Wound,” a term I use in public to mean my damaged right ankle. The Old Wound never healed.