You know, as a twin, I’ve never understood why everyone is so obsessed with “not feeling alone.” I was literally ripped from my warm comfortable womb three and a half weeks early because my womb-mate just “couldn’t wait” to get into the real world, attend an underfunded arts high school, and work as an unpaid intern in San Francisco after taking out 30,000 dollars worth of loans.
The thing with twins is we’re kind of a package deal. So yeah, my twin didn’t end up drowning in the milky nutrients of my mother’s uterus, but they pulled a full-ass Macduff on me. My twin was known for much cooler things than I was. People knew her as “the cooler twin” or “the girl who set the art room on fire with an industrial sized vacuum.” (That one just rolls off the tongue right?)
Anyway, back to my first point, the one about everyone being obsessed with not being alone. I’ve “not been alone” my entire life, and if this is what artists and painters and poets and emo but totally profound perspicacious Gen Z’s are after, then allow me to be burst your stupid bubble.
I feel like entire universities worth of people use “human connection” and “feeling less alone” as blanket excuses to project purpose onto why other people write or create art. On top of being known in high school for being the GOAT who gets his job done for the rightful king, I was also known as a “writer,” and thus, was routinely asked what drove me to write for fun and not just for assignments. This happened mainly because other kids paid me to write their essays, so I was always writing essays. But then I went off to college, did some more writing for myself, this time for legitimate money and for sources that allowed me to write under my own name, published a book of poetry, and was the editor of some pretty big sh*t. It made me realize that my writing is kind of all for myself. My caustic nature can corrode holes in people’s perceptions of me, and as I burn bridges I’d rather not maintain, I realize I like to do some things for myself. And I like writing to be one of those things.
As you can see, my writing has really gotten me far—by that, I mean far into my self-deprecating spirals. But people would say it’s good that I write during these “low points” because they can read my work and “feel less alone.” But why does my writing have to make someone else feel less alone? Why can’t my writing be for me? My birth wasn’t for me. My birth was for my sister whose been early to everything in her entire life including our birth. My writing in high school wasn’t for me, it was for all the idiots who couldn’t write a two page essay about the most lifeless poems in the world (yeah, Robert Frost, I’m coming for your lukewarm ass. You’re not special for liking a little ice in the bedroom, okay?) So if other people read my writing and see themselves in it, okay, that’s cool, but I don’t write so Sally from Michigan can be like, “Wow, I too have an alcoholic piece of shit father who spent my entire life disappointing me and that’s why I struggle to form meaningful relationships with men because I expect the worst out of them and when they give me even an inkling of positive attention I convince myself to like them back because I am so desperate for men to believe me special enough to warrant their time that I disgust myself with how easily I allow them to woo me.”
Nevertheless, I’m not a total dick. I don’t write for the purpose of people reading it and “feeling less alone” or finding “their struggle within my own.” But if that’s what happens, I guess that’s important to them, and I should thank whatever sub-par literary magazine decided to accept my submission, despite the fact that the pre-written cover letter I included with my five dollar submission on Submittable still had the title of the last lit mag I tried to get published in, ya know?
For example, I wrote this poem about moving to San Francisco for the summer and the process of realizing that you can move to a new city and be invisible to the old one. You can be who you want without the ghost of who you were holding you hostage. For example, if I were the subject of the poem, I would have explored the idea that I wouldn’t have to wear all black because no one would know me as that pretentious bitch who wears all black and doesn’t brush her hair because she thinks those are unique personality traits. And in the poem, I kind of say how it was a good feeling for the narrator to realize they didn’t want to change who they are and how they present themself even though they were living in a new and very different city. Again, if I were the subject, I would realize I like looking like a moody bitch who needs to get clocked. And then as the poem continues the “narrator” sees this girl at a bar and I’m—shit, I mean—the “narrator” wants to go up and talk to her and know if she’s there alone but I didn’t—I mean—the “narrator” doesn’t. Nailed it. Y’all definitely don’t think I’m gay. So that’s it. That’s the poem. Yeah, I know, Ginsburg is fucking howling in his grave.
But I didn’t write that so Sally from Michigan—yeah, she’s back—can go on her blog that probably has those bigass bubble letters at the top of the screen and an icon of some pointillism woman biting the end of her pen, and say, “I read a poem today that made me realize my extreme desire to want men to want me because my father never wanted me is actually a backwards manifestation of my desire for women and I’ve secretly harbored crushes on women for years, telling myself it’s perfectly normal because women are extraordinary and everyone secretly wants to fingerbang the girl with the dark curly hair and eyelashes to match in their feminist theory class, so thank you so much to that author because I’m going to go suck some titties now.” Well first of all, Sally, normal is such a stupid word; buy a dictionary and have an original thought. And, no, I didn’t fingerbang the girl in my feminist theory class. But girl, if you happen to be reading this, hit me up.
I write because I don’t like talking to people. A lot of the time talking to people is disappointing or frustrating, and those are two emotions that I don’t enjoy feeling. Those are also two emotions that I feel quite easily, seeing as patience is the superpower, I’d hope to inherit in a nuclear accident. I write because thoughts in my head don’t work like they do when I put them on paper. In my head, it’s all bumper cars. When I write the thoughts out, it’s like a roller derby rink, and any friction makes for more exciting action, not a stall in forward movement.
Compliments are nice too. I don’t have any particular skills in origami or, coincidentally, roller derby, and writing is the closest claim to fame I have. People sometimes tell me they like my writing, that they’ve read my book and enjoyed the poems within it, and each of these compliments I absorb into my skin. My ego likes these compliments. Though I have to be careful not to let my ego get bigger than my body, which is pretty damn big. This is when you, the reader, gasps and says “noooo” or you shout, “You’re beautiful Sophia,” and I blush and pout slightly and go, “Aww well, bigness does not imply a lack of beauty but thank you for your narrow-minded ideal of attractiveness.”
Okay, now that I’ve reaffirmed that I feel good about myself, I’ll share that I regularly write poetry about my body. I’m tall and lanky—Slenderman’s sidekick, if you will. Which is another thing Sally from Michigan would probably be like, “OMG, wow, I love that I can see myself in her because even though I’m not freakishly tall for a woman, I have like D cup boobs and that can be really difficult to navigate when people look at me with admiration and longing and lust so I can totally understand how it feels to have a man look at my long legs in perfectly appropriate-sized shorts and make a comment about how his dick is longer than the length of my shorts in the middle of a crowded grocery store and not have a single person look me in the eyes afterwards as if they were the ones being accosted by a random man about something that he should not only not be commenting about but not be lying about either. Like girl, I feel you so hard on that one. You are braver than our troops!”
Sally from Bumbfuck Michigan is really getting on my nerves. I’m a little torn that she must reference the length of my shorts, because at any length my shorts shouldn’t warrant a man talking to me like that. But at the same time, the longer the shorts in the story, the funnier it is that a man would say his dick is longer. Seeing as we all know he could use the pinky toe pocket of those Vibram toe shoes as a condom.
Small dicks are kind of a constant when you go to a university full of people with money. The overcompensation, the derogatory language towards women and non-binary people, the complete and utter misogyny that literally clogs every pore on frat guys’ faces…it can be a lot. I go to a university where 19% of the students come from the top 1% of this country’s economy. At least once a day I want to tell someone to shove their Gucci slipper up their bleached and bedazzled asshole because they are walking too slow. But I digress.
Anyway, even these people read. Yes, they do it themselves; their butlers don’t read things for them and spit the information into their mouths like a baby bird. At least not all the time. And even these people say things like, “Reading makes me feel connected to the author. It makes me feel less alone.” Now, if kids who can literally buy an island to populate with people still feel alone sometimes, I guess it’s a good thing people read to feel connected. I certainly don’t feel connected to the girls in line behind me at any campus Starbucks who talk about losing their Cartier rings in a pile of coke at last week’s “date night,” but to each his own, ya know.
I don’t want to feel connected to those people. I’m not looking to feel less alone. I’m sure Sally, Lady of the Lakes would read that and be like, “I can relate so deeply to isolating myself out of the fear of other people hurting me because my entire life people have used my heart as a spare closet for all their baggage and even though I hopelessly want someone to alleviate the constant pressure I feel within, I will never ask for help.”
Maybe some people write with the intention to both feel less alone and make others feel less alone. I think if you want to feel less alone, just watch a scary movie late at night. Then when you accidentally catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror at two am after having gotten out of bed to piss, you’ll think it’s a ghost and piss your pants. I don’t need a horror movie to get scared when I look in a mirror, but that’s just me. And Sally, if you read into that one and say you can relate to my stupid paranoia because my dumbass father pops back into my life at the most inconvenient times to leech me dry like the ghost of a childhood I didn’t really have, then I’ll be forced to take drastic action. Unless you look like the girl from my feminist theory class. Then I’ll take you for a drink.
The whole foggy point of this is that I don’t write as an attempt to reach others. I write as an attempt to focus myself. Life has a way of splitting you into a deck of cards, and everyone knows you can’t play correctly when you’re missing even one of those fifty-two. If people read what I have to say and just enjoy it, then I count myself blessed. If they relate to my daddy issues and self deprecation, then I feel sorry for them.
Most importantly, don’t forget, I wrote a book. If you didn’t get that from the numerous times I mentioned it then I hate you just as much as I hate Sally, and most white men.