They told me a long time ago to cover up, to stop looking at people like that. To avoid as much eye contact as I gave, my eyes made people feel uncomfortable. I never did stop looking, my hands in turn following my eyes and touching everything, feeling everything. The girl who sat in front of me in art class always complained because I would put paint in her braid, mesmerized by how the blues and yellows showed up on a shock of red, I was surprised she couldn’t see it.
When they came to take me to the principals office they asked me why I did it. I didn’t understand why I was in trouble, I thought that I had made something beautiful. Eventually they told my mother that I needed help, a kind of medication for the thing they called attention deficit. The thing they called something wrong.
They were little blue and yellow pills, and at first I thought they were beautiful too. My mother didn’t have anyone else you see, and she didn’t have time for that. After taking them for one week I used to hold them under my tongue and spit them out, crushing the things that took away the colour under my foot. She didn’t understand, there was nothing beautiful in there.
Survival of the grey, survival of the children who sit head down and don’t have anything important to do, they tell you in the middle of the day that looking out the window toward the sun is something to be controlled, that test can only be written in black or blue pen. What if I want the orange pen? I asked my teacher, fearful that someone would find out about my lack of the little blue and yellow pills and tell my mother.
“Blue or black”, she repeated.
I thought it was fitting.
I often thought of poets or writers or anarchists, how many of them had existed before the little blue pills and before all the things that make us different had become decidedly unwanted. They tell you that you can be whatever you want, but they applaud the kid in class who wants to be a lawyer at six years old because it’s a good steady job. Then you grow up and they ask you what you do like the thing you get paid for is ultimately what makes you a person and what makes you someone worth talking to.
I hated talking to people at parties, I hated the disapproval of what I could do, the lack of value attributed to it. And I wonder what happened, what happened to all of the things that were supposed to be revered and made wonderful. Have we become cynical and bored and full of contempt for anything that is not easily digestible?
Am I that hard of a pill to swallow?
To look at the ordinary and see what lies underneath, to be unfazed by not being trendy or funny, to be too much, to be too little. There is beauty there.
I hope to find it.