There is always a man eager to explain my mental illness to me. They all do it so confidently, motioning to their Hemingway and Bukowski bookshelf as they compare my depression to their late-night loneliness. There is always someone that rejected them that they equate their sadness to and a bottle of gin (or a song playing, or a movie) close by that they refer to as their cure. Somehow, every soft confession of my Crazy that I hand to them turns into them pulling out pieces of themselves to prove how it really is in my head.So many dudes I’ve dated have faces like doctors ready to institutionalize and love my crazy (but only on Friday nights.)They tell their friends about my impulsive decision making and how I get them more than anyone they’ve ever met but leave out my staring off in silence for hours and the self-inflicted bruises on my cheeks.None of them want to acknowledge a crazy they can’t cure.They want a crazy that fits well into a trope and gives them a chance to play Hero. And they always love a Crazy that provides them material to write about.Truth is they love me best as a cigarette cloud of impossibility, with my lipstick applied perfectly and my Crazy only being pulled out when their life needs a little spice.They don’t want me dirty, having not left my bed for days. Not diseased. Not real.So they invite me over when they’re going through writer’s block but don’t answer my calls during breakdowns. They tell me I look beautiful when I’m crying then stick their hands in-between my thighs. They mistake my silence for listening to them attentively and say my quiet mouth understands them like no one else has.These men love my good dead hollowness. Because it means less of a fighting personality for them to force out. And is so much easier to fill someone who has already given up with themselves.
Lora Mathis