I have, in my nearly half a century alive, amassed a shortlist of heroes and heroines. Obvious ones like one’s parents notwithstanding, duly acknowledged—mine consists simply of my second ex-boyfriend, my shrink (or as I joke, my PILF), my bestie in Australia, my gay social worker, and my youngest cousin. What makes them heroic? The measures they take to take care of me. They have personally touched a deep part of me that I never thought could be gotten to. It’s not the political figures or YouTube stars or random people rescuing ducks from a drain who touch me. The Internet has made all visuals fleeting and the feelings for them even more brutally so. Sometimes, there is a kind of fantasy I fall into that makes a handsome and charismatic stranger bigger than life, or bigger than my computer screen. But, the people who are in your life whom you’ve welcomed into your inner circle, and who don’t give up on you just because you process life differently—these are keepers. Hold them close. Don’t let go. That smile in your eyes that lights up at the mere thought of them speaks for itself.
There is a wall of loneliness in my life that is slowly eroding because of my hero-people. I had gone through unspeakable loneliness that only fantasies and pretentiousness substituted for real connection for most of my developmental years. I stare at the screen, my heart wrought and frozen at once, and I cannot begin, do not know where to begin. It is so utterly boring but so vital to me as a clue to why I am the way I am. No, I am not writing about it, I am sure, much to your relief.
What I want to know is what is it to this life that makes us want to get up and go in the morning? It’s different for everyone, so the cliché goes. Hedonism? God? Family? Friends? A Significant Other? I live for the glimpses of beauty I find in daily life. It could be emotional, it could be the pleasure of my first sip of tea; but, it is ultimately beauty for beauty’s sake that made me first want to learn music, finger-paint, read for hours at a time. That eternal strain of music or a shrewd turn of phrase in a piece of writing that opens a whole new world, that keeps me wanting to return to safety. I have had moments when I was so distressed that I would tie a yoga strap as a noose around my balcony railing and walking away because I didn’t have the courage to end it all. Suddenly, a strain of piano music, my first introduction to Her—She, who is called “Beauty”, plays from another apartment. And, then, I know I don’t want to die.
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