Not Human

Most days it makes me feel better to pretend I’m not a human being. I don’t feel like one most of the time. I’m just some strange type of yet-to-be-documented animal. When I think about life through this lens, it makes it a little easier to get through the day. I feel like I don’t have to be so hard on myself for not being what I’m “supposed” to be. In fact, it makes me feel pretty proud of myself that I’m able to blend in so well, given I’m a totally different, alien species.

When I start to feel depressed and inadequate for not having some kind of grand inner direction or drive toward a specific personal goal, I ask myself, what is my dog’s “goal in life”? Does my cat have some secret grand ambitions she works towards tirelessly every day? Well… to be honest she actually might, at least in the summer when she can go outside and try to catch the birds around my neighbor’s feeder. Even so, that’s at best, a short-term goal. She’s not trying to start a bird catcher company or achieve world-wide recognition for her hunting skills.

The human world makes it seem so obvious and natural to have some kind of “mission” in life. For as long as I can remember people have been asking me what I want to do or what my goals are. As if it’s just a given that I have these external desires to aim for. I’ve always felt like there was something wrong with me for not wanting anything like that. I’ve never been a very ambitious person. I just want to be happy and enjoy what I have, like my precious pup as she snoozes most of the day away as usual. I spend most of the energy I could perhaps use to inspire me to do something just trying to blend in with the “normal” people all around me. I don’t have the mental capacity to also be contriving some business or magnum opus.

It feels inherently shameful to be idle as a human. It’s like something is forever being expected of me. But being a random creature, such as myself, I don’t have to be weighed down by societies expectations. However I exist in the world by default is perfectly correct and enough. It doesn’t make me bad to not “achieve” anything in life. In fact, it’s bizarre that was ever the standard set by humans. Human beings have always been the weird, unnatural outliers of the animal kingdom. It’s not that I don’t fit in, I just fit in better with the majority of mammals more than people.

It’s hard work to be part chameleon and pretend to be so different than who I am every day. And it’s perfectly understandable that it takes up all of my excess energy. Sometimes others will say, just don’t pretend then, be yourself! As if this would make life easier. They don’t understand that, unfortunately, for me “being myself” would literally not allow me to survive. “Being myself” would be not pretending to be polite and make small talk with people. It would be not going to work and just vibing all day. It would be my complete and utter demise. I would be broke and completely isolated from everyone else. It’s a lot of work to pretend, but I’ve got to do it. However, as long as I remember that I am just pretending and I don’t have to live up to the world’s idea of a person inside my own inner mind and soul, then it isn’t so bad.

When I think of life in this way, it’s a lot more fun to be me. I get to feel sneaky and silly for how well I’m able to trick the humans into thinking I’m one of them. I get to just exist in my free time without pressuring myself to do more without a looming sense of guilt. I don’t have to feel bad for being incapable of understanding the vast majority of the population and their motivations/interests. I can just marvel at the insanity and take my little notes so I can try to keep assimilating better. It’s quite exciting and enjoyable to be whatever I am in a society of strange things called humans. I highly recommend it for anyone else that feels like they’ll never be able to live up to what they’re “supposed” to be.


Through the Cracks

When it feels unsafe to show myself
I sneak through in sudden slivers
cracks in the glass, window shards
tiny spotlight beams shining out
revealing the very worst parts of me

A charming flame behind a hearth
that cracks and pops quick embers
to be franticly stamped out on the rug
not fit for polite company or the presence
of people who turn away from the dancing heat

I don't know if I've ever seen someone else
who hides like I do, or maybe they're just better
at holding up their painted pleasing mask
no sudden tears out of seemingly no where
to surprise and confuse a perfect evening

Surely people must wonder at the moments
I lose the carefully crafted composure I've clutched
after days of endless, irritating effort with others
they must feel the sudden shift of energy in the room
when I shrivel inward, when I turn cold and quiet

Giving myself a few moments' respite from
the white-knuckled grip on my own struggling soul
a second to catch my breath and be real
retracting my artificial warmth from
an otherwise empty room

Occasionally I'll hear a half-hearted, "What's wrong?"
that is easily assuaged by a hollow, "Nothing, I'm fine."
a confirmation of being utterly unseen
happy to believe me and go back to pretending
as soon as I reapply the artificial smile

Unlike the rare few who know they've now seen
behind the uncanny valley facade of self
they don't let it go when I step back behind the screen
no longer satisfied with what they've realized is fake
brave enough to seek me

There aren't many people who care to uncover
the glimmer that steals between the cracks
most people easily accept the mask
I suit them better that way
I'm used to not being seen