I remember this one time when my cousin came to visit me and we hadn’t seen each other in what seemed like ages, yet somehow we picked up from where we had left off as if no time or space had ever separated us.
I was writing a lot back then, much more than I have time or purpose to do now. I used to carry this blue book around with me, it had a hard cover which was smooth and cool to the touch and I used to love just to pick it up and feel its weight in my hands knowing that it held something like 90% of the person I was inside of it. No one ever bothered about it and I liked it that way. I’ve never been too keen on letting people read what I write, that’s just a recent development.
Except this one time. I was writing, or you could say, mindlessly chewing on my pen while I tried to put something unfathomable on paper and she straight up just asked me if she could read it. I’m not a trusting person in general but her I trust. Not unconditionally but it’s a trust I have learned to allow on most occasions. She has worked pretty hard to earn it. So, I let her read it.
A long discussion ensued about the contents of that book, a lot of which was personal and will not be repeated to any living soul, but the part of the conversation that blew me away was when I explained to her the feeling behind a lot of the poetry I wrote: The frustration of being stuck in the same place, the sense of never connecting with other people, the feeling of being constantly judged. I described it as being stuck inside of one of those little plastic tunnels people buy for hamsters to run around in.
I told her this whole town (my home town) feels like everyone is stuck in their own little hamster tunnel and most of them don’t even seem to mind it. Never getting through, running from one place to the next, being observed and judged and doing the same to others.
It was during this conversation that I first tasted the feeling of being at least marginally understood. Because she asked to borrow my book and wrote in it something like a one-page text, which I will not repeat all of but I will quote my favorite line: “It takes strength to break the wall” in the context of her text I remember she was talking about the glass wall in my little tunnel. It made perfect sense to me, there has to be a way to get through. There has to be some method of breaking that glass wall.