Puddle

I’m not a puddle of a person. I’m not a pool of water waiting to evaporate, waiting to be soaked up, waiting to be repurposed into something else.

I am a lake, an ocean, a vast semi-permanent body of water with a defined perimeter and depth and I’m subject to the wind and the sun and the animals that hang out around me, sure, but I’ve got this pretty solid base from which to float.

I keep meeting these people that want to soak me up. They think by osmosis, they can soak me up. Like I’m their puddle and they’re my sponge and they’ll just soak me up and carry me around with them always. I feel them hovering, waiting for a moment of weakness when they can pounce. Their heavy breath on my neck. It’s not as frightening or as tense as being a gazelle, but I imagine it’s a similar feeling to being prey.

I don’t want that.

This weekend I was compared to an animal that’s in danger of becoming extinct. I said, “you think I’m almost extinct?” And they replied, “Well, no, but I think you’re rare.”

And it wasn’t just the fact that they called me “rare.” It was the tone of voice that they used…like an inflection I can’t quite pinpoint. It seemed to relay, not only that I was rare, but also that I was a rare item to possess. That I could be…saved and contained and rejuvenated.

No? Isn’t that what we do with endangered animals? We try to save them in hopes of re-establishing their presence. To prolong their existence. To keep them. No one is rare. I’m trying to show you all these sides of me in order to help you see that people are complex. No one is one thing or not one thing. Everyone has these aspects, these sides, they just choose to show you certain parts. I’m not going to do that. And I’m not going to do that because I want you to see that you can’t contain me, you can’t define me, you can’t have me. Besides, you don’t want me. You want yourself. Someone has tricked you into thinking that I will bring you closer to yourself. And it’s just not possible. I won’t be simplified in any way, especially not in the name of possession. I’m not a rare bit of treasure you can show off…Something you found at a garage sale that others overlooked.

I’m purposely messy so that you don’t think I’m anything special, so that you don’t hold me up, place me on your pedestal, whatever spot it is you’re hoping to fill. I kept trying to show you me, but it was too late. You were already reacting to the person you made up in your mind. To the way you think you’re supposed to react to a rare specimen.

Maybe I’m asking too much. It’s too advanced. It’s impossible in this world of images and walls and your feeds. You’ve expected me since before you met me, and I can’t be that.

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