As a child, I lived mostly in my head. I was lonely and had no voice in my own home so, as a result, I made a world for myself in my mind. When that world got too tiresome or boring, I would spice it up with the people and places that I read of in books. I wanted to be extroverted, to be gregarious, to be liked by everyone. This didn’t always happen. My peers often thought that I was too weird, too smart, too quiet. Sometimes, they mistook my near-debilitating shyness for aloofness and snobbery. But when it did happen, when I was part of a clique of those shiny, happy people, even when I was the center of attention, I would inevitably feel like a fraud. I’d spend hours, sometimes days, wondering if my friends would like me so much if and when they discovered that I wasn’t as smart, as funny, and interesting as they’d initially thought me to be. I wondered what they’d think if learned that my brains were a byproduct of painful childhood repression and isolation, that my wit was what I resorted to in order to connect with others without ever having to make myself too vulnerable, that my charm was a hodgepodge of personalities I’d collected from my beloved books.
I’ve gone through most of my life feeling as if I were drifting, floating by, going through the motions. I often view others, and myself, from the outside, a third party. I feel strong, long periods of wanting to connect with others followed by shorter periods of apathy and numbness. I feel like a foreigner in my own life. Void. A ghost. I often feel so much, so intensely, that the emotions threaten to strangle me. Other times, I want so badly to connect with someone, to feel something, that I’ll even accept pain, actively seeking it, if only to valid my existence.
But when I write, I can flesh out all of the emotions I have, feelings and thoughts that I don’t think that others can relate to, things that even I can’t always comprehend. I am able to compartmentalize myself in such a way that other people can finally understand me, know me, see me, even if I still feel detached or unwanted by them. Even if I am still the outsider. I write in order to fill myself. I write so that I may no longer be a shell of a person. I write in order to feel whole.