Who am I?
Am I the convicted murderer? The comic book geek? The weight pit junkie? Am I the college graduate?
I admit it!
I am not the person I portray. I am not that person I want to be. Not exactly. I am not as strong, or fearless, or as selfless as I would like. Sure I try, but I am prone to profound despairs. I so very often want to surrender.
I never do. I always conceive some new ploy or stratagem. Some false hope. First I convince myself I am backed into a corner, bloodied beyond saving, then I come roaring out ready to fight. I hate myself for that sometimes.
Can any prison sentence rehabilitate that?
Am I my desires?
I would like to laugh more. I want to regret less. I want to live up to more of my ideals. I would like to impose less on the people I love. I want to be just as difficult to deal with as I’ve always been, Maybe in different ways. A little more inspired, a little less foolish. But only a little. I wish I weren’t so crazy. I wish, for just once in my life, someone would love me enough to not leave. No matter the obstacles.
Think I can fantasize that away?
Am I my own creation?
I have worn the skins of so many hastily scribbled characters. I have peeled each off, scrubbed and scraped each away. From each I kept something, clung to some aspect I could not simply cast aside. The faint lines left after erasure. Am I the sum of these collected pieces?
Am I that small core which decides these parts are worth preserving?
The distinction sounds academic, but to me it seems deeply important. Though I cannot articulate how. Or why. Does considering these questions determine who I am? Am I no more than the questions I ask? Am I the answers I come to?
Am I strong enough to lift that off my shoulders?
Am I a work in progress?
I learn. It takes awhile. I am learning that as I strive and sacrifice, I am, in fact, surviving through insanity. I have found that sometimes, with perseverance, I am, in fact, the hero I hope to be are not all that far apart. Sometimes. I have discovered the path to wisdom is paved with perpetually broken hearts. I am learning that the only fate worse that death is a perpetually broken heart. I am learning that my past and my loneliness are as inescapable as this cage.
Does a degree open these doors?
So, who am I?
An untethered island forever floating around the edge of the archipelago. Some flightless creature leaping from cliffs. A poet, writing with razors across wrists. Just some faceless specter passing through your life. The mixed metaphor which explains nothing and means everything.
A character study carefully wrought from chaos.
About “Character Study”
At some point when I first decided I wanted to write, I figured out that I would have to be willing to reveal painful and embarrassing truths if I was ever going to write anything worth reading. Character Study is a kind of self-portrait, intended as a way for me to understand how I saw those truths.
Character Study can be found in my collection Oubliette and in the graduate issue of Writers bloc.
I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on this piece in the past and I decided to post it here to see what you all think and because it’s how I’ve been feeling this week.
If you would like to purchase a copy of my book Oubliette please contact me.