When I was a boy of about 5 years old I already knew that I was different. I also knew that difference was punishable and that punishment could be meted out by anyone, at any time, for any reason. Punishment could come suddenly, it could come in any form, it could come from any one. Trust no moment of joy for the next moment could just as easily be one of pain. Trust no sunny day for the next day could harbour storms. Trust no one who pretends friendship, because pain lay waiting in the shadow of their smile.
I remember once being at the small park in the small town where I grew up. It was the typical sort of park with swings, slides and the teeter/totter. I was swinging away on the swings. I loved the swings, I loved the sensation of flying and I loved the sheer solitary nature of the pleasure. Other kids were playing in the park. Only 5 I knew to be careful of other kids. I was already 'fatty fatty two by four can't get through the kitchen door'. Avoid. Disengage. Invisiblize.
One of the boys came over and offered to push me on the swing. I needed no such help and said so. To my surprise he didn't do anything. Instead he got on the swing beside me and joined my activity. My heart burst with hope. He was doing something with me, not to me, surely, maybe, a friend.
Then done with the swings he suggested the teeter/totter. He got on one end and I the other. We got it going, even with our weight differential, he managed to go high and land low. He was smiling and laughing. So was I. Until... clouds came. Suddenly he stopped. I was suspended in the air, he was firmly on the ground. He called his friends over. Why i hadn't asked myself about where they'd gone, I don't know. I was 5, I guess I hadn't learned all the ways of cruelty yet.
They stood and laughed at me up high. They joked about how much it would hurt if the other boy just jumped of and left me to plummet to the ground. I imagined it before I felt it. It hurt more in my imagining, it hurt more in my heart, it hurt more in my soul, than it did in my body. It hurt me deeply. So deeply that it's a memory that I've never forgotten.
As such I've grown into adulthood wherein I don't trust much. Last night I woke to a panick attack. Sense of worthlessness flew round me. Sense of despair overtook me. Sense of hopelessness filled me. And the day before, I had such a wonderful day, I had an audiences firm applause, I had people with disabilities and their families thanking me. I had moments that I treasure. But they didn't matter. I had risen high and was simply waiting to be brought low.
It's like a playground lesson has run amok. It's like I need to get on a teeter/totter with someone I trust and ride it through till we both get off, equally, no pain, no fall. But I'm too old for that.
All I know is that sometimes I'd like to ride on the teeter without bother of the totter. If that makes any sense at all.