For the exiles.
I wrote a bonafide manifesto recently. I poured seven years of hurt into a sixteen-page cathartic screed that laid everything bare; all the salacious details about how it wasn’t my fault, and every suppressed thought that hadn’t been freed to breathe.
Then I put it away, and waited.
I shared it with those I trust.
Why did I write this? Who was it for? What did I expect to happen?
In asking myself those questions I realized it was for the wrong people. Anger fueled my words. I wanted to make them pay, and my cursed mind rationalized that as an act of service. If they wouldn’t hear me, I’d tell it to the world and force them to.
Perhaps I felt it would keep us connected. I was afraid of what happens when I’m exiled from their lives. I’ve been exiled before. There’s a scared little boy in me who is convinced if he can just say words in the right order, he won’t be abandoned for not being good enough. It didn’t work back then. Now I’ve been given another chance.
They say the universe only teaches you one lesson at a time.
It was never about being ‘good enough’. There’s nothing wrong with me. There’s nothing wrong with them, either. I lacked the tools to love them in the way they needed. They lacked the tools to love me in the way I needed. I felt pressured to be small and passive, and I pressured them to be wide open and direct. We weren’t healthy; we made it work becoming miserable for nearly a decade, ignoring the alarms and casting spells that bound two wild energies together despite their fundamental opposition. We sacrificed real joy for brittle stability, and when it broke, it shattered.
I’ve done this all along. People push me out of their lives because I give all of myself, sublimating my dreams into what I want ‘us’ to be and expecting that’ll make them stay. It’s a repulsive habit. It repels. I give them my power and they take their leave. It breaks my heart into pieces and I seal them back in place with spite. That’s why I wrote a manifesto. I wanted to destroy their peace, even if it meant destroying myself. I wanted to show them what courage was. “Nature loves courage.”
When you build up a volcano of vindictive truth, you come to feel you’re peering into the abyss. You stand on a precipice, looking into pure uncertainty and psyching up to jump. You know you can’t ‘unpublish’. When you pull the trigger, force is released. Your actions will have consequences that are orders of magnitude more vast than your mind conceives. If you leap, you’ll meet what lives there. The power is seductive.
But it isn’t what I want.
I want to exist in the embrace of love, but I’m all fucked up and traumatized. I didn’t ask to be this way. I’ve been called “aggressively friendly”, and made the mistake of romanticizing that. This masks my deep fear of being unloved: I cast a wide net, try to befriend everyone, and yield everything I produce. It makes me weak, makes everyone resent me, and creates relationships where my gifts are belittled or taken for granted.
I looked into the abyss. I composed my little reality bomb and spent a month editing it. I refined the emotion and triple checked for “I believe, I think, I feel” statements that spoke truth. I invoked every memory, itemized each abuse, and aired all the dirty laundry I held. I recorded it. I planned a battery of content to ensure it was heard. I set a date. I was going to pull the trigger; my toes dangled in darkness.
Then someone reached out to me in love. Without judgment, shame, or a desire to control me, they looked in my eyes and said, “If you jump, I’ll still be here. But you don’t have to, to be loved.”
...That’s when I realized who this is for.
This is for the exiles. The people who’ve learned the world withholds love if you fail to make the grade. The people who break things. The people who stumble and alienate themselves. The people who are trying and coming short.
You’re my people. You always have been. You’re the only ones I’ve met who seem to understand, who see how inadequate I am and still trust. You’re the ones who aren’t afraid to get hurt. You’re brave, and foolish, and I love you for it.
We get lost in moralities, buy into movements, and set up gambits to solve our trauma. We’re ugly, messy people. We burn bridges and break hearts, and suffer by our own hand.
We don’t have to suffer alone.
We don’t have to feel there’s something especially wrong with us.
There are people who think like you, who know what it’s like to have your best efforts blow up in your face, and understand your willingness to keep trying as bravery. The people who’ve cast you out don’t; I do. I’m here for you.
If you’re about to do something stupid...I love you. I’ll love you even if you do it. You don’t have to do it to be loved, because I love you already. You have an extraordinary power: the courage to jump into the abyss. Most people don’t, and that’s why you feel alone. People may have told you you’re stupid, evil or worthless, and nothing could be further from the truth. You're braver than most. You don’t have to jump to prove it.
If you already jumped, I love you. That takes guts. It doesn’t make you a bad person. If you’re suffering, suffer with me, because I know how wisdom works. If you can make it through this your life will be more meaningful than you can imagine. Let it break you open; let it set you free; let it bring you home; come celebrate with me.
I built Anthromancer from something deep within. Everyone wanted a more digestible commodity, but they weren’t being brave. Their suggestions came from fear and I resisted them. This is a spark of love. It’s a brilliant chartreuse from my heart, authentic to a fault and born of profound appreciation for humanity in all its abusive imperfection. I want to transform the world. I believe we’re the ones to do it.
Cowards are a dime a dozen, and while their lives may be more pleasant, they take for granted the systems to which they submit. It hurts outside the boundaries and safe spaces, so they retreat. Cowards never make the system better because they can’t stand to live beyond it. If that’s their lot in life, so be it.
I’d rather die than fear my power.
I want to know my limits.
I am not a coward.
I’m a Fool.
Daniel James Drake