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Your Friend, Donna

Dear Friend,

I don’t think you know who I am, or what I am for that matter. My name is Donna, but most people call me D for some reason. I’m 21 years old, 5’6”, pronouns she/her. My mother always told me that I was special because I was born at 9:09 in the evening on September 9th, 1999. I don’t think I know what this means, and I don’t think she does either. 

I am from Fort Lauderdale, Florida but recently I’ve been living in a dorm on a college campus, and my room is bigger than most. My roommate moved out because she said that she wanted to have more room to focus. I think the real reason is that she wanted to be alone with her partner when they came to sleep over. That’s okay because now I have more space for things, ones that don’t carry the stench of the living! That was a joke if you couldn’t tell. I use humor sometimes because I know it makes people more comfortable to be around me. Because I am words on a paper, I suppose that doesn’t make any sense really.

I find people to be very interesting, but I have trouble understanding them. Sometimes I don’t really like it when they look at me a certain way, for example. It looks as though they are contorting their faces as if there is an attempt to repress an intense sense of discomfort. Maybe in their minds, they are, but I find it really frustrating because it doesn’t always make sense to me. Often I feel as though a joke has been said in my presence, yet everyone around me understands the humor, except for me. No matter how many times I ask for someone to explain it to me, I still don’t get it. In certain circumstances, I wonder if it is a joke about me, and they are all laughing at my obliviousness. Situations like these often remind me of the difference, how misunderstood and alienated I’ve always felt. It often upsets me, often returning to me to a time in which I was feigned helpless when I could not dictate as those around me did.

Most troubling, yet puzzling as of recent is the consideration is if this is even possible for me. As more time goes by, it begins to appear more and more that these paradigms were of a different place in time, when there was a sense of comfort often attributed to innocence. I believe that there are those who wish to return to this time, as this made up for some of their happiest experiences and those who wish to forget it happened. I am filled with neither, only fatigue and indifference.

Despite the struggles I may encounter, I am very happy to be here, as I have friends who are both similar and different from me. Some are very loud and rowdy, yet very sweet and understanding. Others are quieter, but still their own selves. I don’t really know too many people like this at home, as they are not into the same things that I am, and that can often be very hard. So many lovely individuals, I will miss the next month when I will be bidding them goodbye, especially those who will not be returning in the fall. They have accepted me as one of their own, and this has filled my heart with courage and optimism, a rare feat.

I must ask you: are you aware of the space between the lines? These can be quite tricky at times to deal with, especially in our accepted circumstances. It is hard to know what is what without running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Yet that’s how it is sometimes, all the distortions at play in the mind. Ask yourself, is the way I see things correct? I would certainly hope so. We don’t need anyone getting hurt around these parts. Think of the carnage inflicted upon our benefactors: the spineless, the deceitful, the thieving bastards who skulk in the shadows, waiting to strike. How they encourage me to throw up my insides onto the sidewalk, always assigning blame, requesting compensation for their wicked ways. Snakes in the grass, predators in the night.

Do you accept your life for what it is, or do you choose to change it at all costs? I accept my fate as being part of the latter category, often oblivious to my luck until after the event. I’m perfectly aware that my perception of things differs from everyone else’s, and I don’t really have much of a problem with that anymore. I can’t help but consider what our world would be like if this disconnect was grasped and held onto by more, so many more. Yet, what would it aspire to? Hysteria, confusion, more hysteria and more confusion essentially. Arriving and leaving at spaces we yearn to form bonds with, often beaten, broken animals. We cling to an existence that refuses to tell us what we can aspire to, often reaching a breaking point of insanity. It refuses to faze, as I have taken my time at the edge, gazed at what lies below until I can no longer bear the sight of the horrors I see before. My eyes cook in their sockets like poached eggs, my head catching fire as the wax drips down my face, my mouth babbling conniptions until I can no longer utter words, just screams. 

Not until recently did I begin to realize how truly interesting the cards I’d been dealt were. Because I don’t really understand anything, the argument could be made that I never really understood things in the first place. It is truly up to us to make sense of a place often seen as completely and fundamentally alien. Thus, if thou ever finds yourself struggling with feelings I’m sure the two of us know well, instead of attempting to sympathize, saying that I know what it’s like (which I do), the fact of the matter is that I probably wouldn’t even know what that’s truly like. All that I know is my own, thus there truly is no use in pretending, only what I know from what I’ve been through.

However, that does not mean that I do not want to empathize with you. I care about you friend, whether you like it or not. Instead, I would like to leave you with something to consider if you don’t mind, just a small nugget of people sometimes refer to as insight (or madness, depending on how you look at it): Once you start peeling back the layers, you will see that you are surrounded by it. If you stare at it, it will stare back at you. You will both get used to being in each other’s company, and before long it will know you, and you will know it. Only too well. 

Yours truly,

Donna Wheeler

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