It’s been 21 years of excruciating pain. I describe what it feels like to doctors and therapists. Brain pain. Like there’s a knife stuck in my mind. They say it’s psychosomatic. It’s not. It never goes away except with certain illegal drugs. Everyone thinks you’re supposed to act a certain way, think a certain way. I have my own thoughts, my own motivations. But the pain doesn’t go away. And I lose people, all the time. People are constantly projecting. They think less of me. But they don’t know. They don’t know what I’m thinking and they don’t know what the pain is like. It’s hard to concentrate. It’s hard to connect and it hurts to love. The only way you can really understand is if you feel it too. It’s not fair. But people don’t wait, and they never think to be patient, or compassionate. Everyone always leaves and they think I’m a bad person. I’m not bad. I’m hurt. My mind hurts and it hurts to be alive. I lost my family. My first memory is pain. I had to hurt myself on purpose to call attention to a situation I couldn’t put into words. It was constant fear and a constant battle to protect myself. And falling in love always came with fear. Women don’t wait. They don’t have to. And they don’t have to work for it either. It’s something I’m supposed to do, but I never learned that. I was afraid. I got so close too and it always slipped away. Every person…who thought about what may have been wrong when I didn’t even know? 21 years. Lost. Everyone I ever loved has someone. Nobody I loved even tried. I don’t think you know what it’s like to be a man. And I don’t think you really understand equality. And people hurt me on purpose when I was just starting out like I was a joke, like I was stupid. You’re the one who’s stupid – look what you did to my life! People who KNEW better. Rationalizing the abuse, like I deserved it. You’re SO WRONG. I hate you…you know that? I hate you. Look at what I did with the knife in my mind. Who could I have been without it? What do you do, men, when it’s been years without touch? Take baths. That’s what I do. It gets you close to feeling contact. This is loneliness. And this has been a lifetime of loneliness.