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A People Zoo

The trouble, I have decided, is memory.  I remember things and people, and I can't seem to let them go. 

I have written something personal, just as a way to organize my thoughts on the subject, to see if I can process events.  I had something that just needed out, understand?  I was thinking of it and thinking of it and it just wanted written, so one night I sat down and wrote it.  And that was good, I had it out, it was safely trapped on paper and that was great.

I am a believer in art for therapy, for changing perspectives, for the organization and processing of events.  When we catch things on paper, it makes them real, and therefore somehow smaller, more manageable.  If we write as hard as we can, as honest as we can, as real and raw as we can though, the problem becomes one of exposure.  In order to reach people in a real visceral way, we have to first expose our own soft bellies, we have to shed our own chitinous exoskeletons, reveal our weaknesses and our failures, we have to open ourselves to attack.  And for someone like me, who has divided himself into in and out, into what I will share and what I keep for myself, this presents a problem.  I want to speak aloud, I want to touch and move people, I want the output, but I don't want the input.  I like my exoskeleton right where it is, thank you very much.

The trouble is, I write for people to read, and somehow just writing isn't enough anymore.  Somehow I need for my words to be read, I need it to be out there in the wind and the weather, out there to be judged, to be liked or hated.  it isn't enough to capture it anymore, I need to display it.

Is there an end to this?  Is there an upper limit to my exhibitionism, or will it eventually be that I invite people into my house, make my safe private life a people zoo, allowing strangers to tour and observe me in my natural habitat, watch as I eat and shit, as I cry, as I fail and lose everything, as everything I have worked so hard for crumbles into dust in my hands?  Am I to expose myself completely, gut myself on the kitchen floor, pull out my bloody heart, lift it in offering, stand pounding on the glass, screaming at the visitors to watch me, look at me, love me?  Can you see?  Now do you get it?  Now can you understand?   

I live a good life now.  I make good safe decisions, I do my very best to not hurt people's feelings when I interact with them, I work hard at being honest and at not harming others either with my words or actions.  I am, honestly, a bit boring.

But it wasn't always this way.  I was a shithead, a selfish asshole, a bully, a walking hammer.  And I think of it, the people I hurt, the things I said, the way relationships ended, the thoughtless and painful things I did.

And maybe one day there will be a reckoning, when I face all of my sins.  Maybe one day I will have to pay.

Maybe I will face judgement, and will be found wanting.

I'm sorry you should know, I really am.  I like to think I'm different but really I'm not.  I try to make good decisions, to be better than I was, but mostly I'm not sure if its an ideal that I am attempting to live up to, if I'm trying to force my square into a round, forcing ten pounds of shit into a five pound bag.

The trouble is memory.  I remember.  I remember.

I'm a wolf, and though I have wrapped myself in the wool, I say baa, baa, and allow myself to be shepherded and fed, I've still got the teeth, the claws, I remember the hunt, the fear, the hot wet metal taste of blood.

I'm still a walking hammer.

My fists are clenched, my teeth grind to dust, my bones are ice and shattered glass.  I smile and say good morning, I hold the door, I drive my children places.  But sometimes I look in the mirror, and all I see are fangs, all I see is a predator, all I see is a smiling killer.

I hate it.

This is the curse of honest self discovery, the realization that the monster is inside, that you haven't been able to find what you have been hunting and hating all this time because it is you.  This is the curse of memory.

Still writing,

RP

A special thanks goes to Amber Geislinger for interviewing me on her channel Southern Belle Humanism.  I had a lot of fun. Check out my dumb face talking, and her other conversations with interesting people (including my writer buddy Lev Butts talking Lovecraft/Cthulhu stuff) on her channel on YouTube. As usual, I am on Twitter @RDPullins; Antiartists, my novel has its own Facebook page, go and like it; check out my publishers website here: pennamepublishing.com; email me if you like at dissent . within at gmail. com.  Cheers.




Comments

  1. Just for the record..Iam not inviting anyone into my private cage and seeing you live with me .. I think your secret is still safe;)) I love you Ralph and you are an incredible writer... It's great fun living in the zoo with you... Still here, still loving you. Sheri

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