It seems like many things have piled up in my mind over the past 2 years. The lockdowns and other complications seemed to justify delaying and holding off on addressing some things that I now wish I had sooner. They still loop in my head some days, filling my body with pent-up anxiety and frustration.

Many of these came about as I noticed more and more how much I've been living as a slave to convention and expectations. Doing things I didn't want to do, talking about things I didn't care about, acting in ways that weren't natural to me, wearing clothes I felt uncomfortable in, going to events I didn't want to go to, spending time with people I didn't connect with, even enduring pain and discomfort for others. My heart would always resist, always say to me "I don't want this." And then I would do it anyways, because that's what I was taught to do.

From my earliest memories I can recall trying to understand why people were acting the way they were, questioning why we had to do all these things. But I was trained so thoroughly against my own self and mind, so conditioned to see my own natural rationality, curiosity and preferences as worthless irritations that needed to be continually overriden so I could carry out the expectations and empty rituals laid out for me. But more and more I've been seeing how wrong it all is, how strange it all is, how stupid and sick and insane it all is.

And now, as things continue to unveil themselves as such once more, I've simply been opting out. I don't want to be part of the same old conversations anymore, the same old fights, the same old parties, the same old politics, the same old rituals. All of it is feeling more and more like requirements to stay part of a club that I never wanted to join in the first place, but was convinced I needed to in order to be safe and loved.

I still don't know how to explain that to those who are so deeply part of that world. They don't seem to feel what I feel, don't seem to have the same sensitivities or experience the same discomfort that I do. I've come to expect the same befuddled or exasperated looks upon expressing my unease over yet another perfectly "normal" thing.

Often when I'm feeling frustrated over this there's a temptation to make it personal. "I'm upset at YOU." But the truth is, it isn't them. They're just following along with things the only way they know how and rubbing up against that part of me that wants so badly to be finished with some of these games. So I'm left not knowing quite what to say as my heart silently detaches once more.

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