I never left the house as a child. I do not know if this might be called agoraphobia but I had few friends and a great fear of the unknown that culminated in my only rarely escaping home.
Simply having the fear does not mean it was mine. I held it, kept it dear and safe, I had it, but it wasn’t mine. Not at first. That would come later.
Eventually I could not be made to leave my room except to go to school or to sing… Not that I ever truly went there but worlds away on ceilings and through crosswalks to watch classes and security guards drift by between narratives of kidnapped long-lost brothers thought dead in need of rescuing, wicked and neglectful mothers, deceptive lovers traded in for Sapphic best friends and touring bands. They told me I got straight A’s, read at a post-college level, was supposed to be in the 6th grade at age 8 but couldn’t be because of the social detriment that would cause– despite never attending to a single class during these years I guess I eventually figured out that as long as I turned in work no one would be disappointed in me and I was and ever will be a whore for praise.
Of course when I changed schools at fourteen I could no longer tiptoe the tightrope of dissociation-dissent, balancing worlds blissfully between my palms, atop my crown like so many dozens of books so I kept reading– Dante Orwell Milton Huxley– while my grades plummeted to the center of the three ring circus stories below. Kicking up dust I was too high to choke on. Who needs a safety net when you’re convinced you won’t fall in the first place?
I remember I was constantly bored. Moored in reality. Knee-deep in the muck of it, sanguine silt sticking thick between my toes slowing me down for years making me talk to peers, teachers, people I could not consider my friends because they were all imbeciles.
I had no respect for anyone anywhere outside of choir where I was required to make something— until I began to study the science of murderers and how to hunt them. Blood spatter was the subject that resonated most and to this day I can calculate the angle of it, identify a number of tools from the impressions they leave on a surface covered in it. Spatter, never splatter. No L. These were my two passions: music and death.
I didn’t read a book written by a woman until my senior year. 124 may have been spiteful, full of a baby’s venom but she made me kind. Beloved taught me empathy and rage and how to use my teeth and in retrospect I probably didn’t have a right to any of these things– but desperation was a second skin in those days and these lessons were sorely needed if I was ever going to leave the house.