Sometimes I legitimately feel sorry for the people who genuinely love me, if there are any. Just because I have become an emotionless automaton, unfortunately, doesn't mean I lack for empathy. I've done some real soul-searching and come to the conclusion I can't love. Past all the vested self-interest, the intolerance for the foibles of others, and the quick temper, there is really only an emptiness, long tempered by years of isolation. Sometimes I feel like explaining this shortcoming to the ones who matter, but it seems like it would only be a waste of time; I think it might be part of the reason why they stubbornly persist in loving me. Anyway, they would just insist that I'm only going through some things and that nobody can remove this part. If only.

Perhaps this is only an emotional crisis, a cry for help from a dark lonely place. Or maybe I really have killed that part of myself, just culling that capability from my heart and soul the way my more tangible self fights infections. Either way, I'm so far removed from this feeling, which I now see as a weakness through the way it has brought me only pain and rejection, that it's spooky.

Happy Halloween, boos and ghouls.

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,–
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

Paul Laurence Dunbar


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