dear kaltia

epistolary care for the neurodivergent enby

dear kaltia,

you have learned so much in the past month. you printed certificates, reached out to therapists, you cooked and kept your place tidy. you meditated for long hours, offered food to your ancestors and nurtured even more the precious connection you have with your partner.

why do you still feel as if you didn't accomplish enough? where is this counterweight that you are always placing on the other side of the scale? do you even know how heavy it is?

i have read your words and they are wonderful, although a bit too harsh. i don't mind it and think all the enemies you attack are truly deserving of the challenge you make, but i can't help thinking that you must carry a heavy burden yourself for trying to become something like a missile and explode against the walls that were built by your foes.

remember, kaltia, that some people will never care. they won't ever consider what it's like. they have their own suffering, and they are right to focus on that. it's not something you should hold against them — and i know you don't.

but you shouldn't expect them to change either, or to be able to persuade them yourself. by looking at their suffering alone, they will always see most others as either above or below. they will be either paternalistic or dismissing.

but that's not how you see it, is it? and i know it, because you saw me, i remember how you had no trouble acknowledging me when we met.

it didn't matter to you because you knew that in sameness you weren't dignified any more than in difference. you knew that sometimes we don't want to think in terms of above and below, and yet are in very different situations. so although we aren't the same, our difference is not simply vertical but spatial in many axis. even if in lots of situations we access something we otherwise wouldn't, the next moment it can be overwhelmed by the limitations we always carry no matter where we go.

i applaud you for that, because that alone is golden, kaltia.

it's so frustrating to feel your most elementary perspective is ever seen as already over the top when it was barely getting started.

please, never forget that. i know you have numerous reasons to feel shame — and that's something else i think you don't value the way you should — but this is not something to be shameful about. you can't tell when others mean you harm, you have a hard time doing away with their feelings because you learned you had to consciously weight every emotion with your intellect since your intuition was utterly oblivious to what out there is supposed to be “natural, common sense”.

i find it arbitrary too.

but you must learn to sometimes dismiss others, and recenter yourself. i know to you that sounds like a bad thing, but it's not. you must trust me on this. you must trust me because i had to consciously learn it too, and i saw as some around me did it without even blinking. they never felt it was a problem. protecting themselves and not fretting over other people's feelings was second nature.

you have a powerful memory, but you won't ever be able to remember all you read, all the reasoning that makes sense when you are connected to the word-spitting tubes we exchange letters through. but i'm so glad you do! i'm so glad we can hook ourselves up to the matrix and reach each other because otherwise i would be deeply alone, with no reason to think there was another soul out there that knew what it was like to feel alien in the planet we were born.

i'm confused too. and i never know when something is my own fault. i try to work it with my brain but it's a mystery. i don't think that's how you do it. when you don't know what happened in an exchange, it's gone. you will never know. you have to give up completely the possibility of knowing anything else — the only way is to interact further, ask questions, but for us that might trigger numerous other questions, they just don't process it that way. when you ask too many basic ones something goes off, they don't register that very well. it's too awkward for some.

i never got that.

don't try it, because they won't let you to temporarily make them into this other. that space is already reserved for us.

there's no escaping that, and we probably wouldn't want it, rest assured. if we were magically transformed, and suddenly were able to access the same sociability they do, all of the topics we hold so dear would become boring. all the imaginative, creative possibilities would be a waste. everything we want to destroy would have to be defended.

there's just one thing i have to ask you before i sign off. please try to unlearn this tendency to analyze yourself the same way you would analyze such situations.

you are not a situation. you are not an object to be analyzed and judged.

if you unlearn that, you will be less anxious, and you will take better care of yourself. it might even make you more relaxed around others.

others aren't objects to be analyzed either. they are unique universes. you can't understand anyone fully — and can't explain yourself fully either.

when you feel like being kind, be kind. save the analyzing for math operations, weather predictions and the geometry of gardening you are so fond of. you can analyze politically, but since what you despise is productivism, then sometimes not analyzing is probably a good way to oppose that too.

kaltia, don't stop writing. i need your words, they are like a fuel without which i could never move away from this desert. don't read too much, you have already read enough, it's telling. so don't apply effort to it, it's so ingrained in you that you will involuntarily read anyways.

find more time to listen to the sound of fire. soon your eyes will be able to see the life and the color you miss so much seeing when you look at the plants. they are not dead or dying. they are still beaming with life, but your eyes have been numbed by so many concepts. you have enough ammo now, kaltia. it's time to learn how to assemble the guns.

i'll make sure this letter finds you and that it's also shared with the others. i am sure they will rejoice with your writings as they always do, and i know they wish you all the happiness you can possibly feel.

send my regards to luri. their poems are still hitting me deep and i glued a few on the walls, so i always look at them before i leave the house. i feel courage again during the day when their voice starts coming out of the speakers to tell me how much power we have in our hands.

it's a great fortune to have met you both.

waiting to hear from you again,

y. n. ganatem

dear kaltia,

when will we have time to sit down and write again? i keep asking myself this: what ever happened to time? it's like all the writing i've ever done has become like a sketch, an outline, and there will never be opportunity again to draw its harder lines, to work on its forms, to color it. i should give up the essays, and just turn all the unconnected dots into fiction for now.

when was it last that i had the chance to notice the people around me? it all seems like they are winning this war when my spirit is absent and there is nothing to be done about the machinery of delegation and representation that possessing me, taking me over, making me do instead of breath, making me accomplish instead of remember.

i miss your company deeply. i miss your ability to listen. i miss how you would always turn things upside down, and show me — not try to convince me, just show me — that it's possible to live uncompromisingly and also happy about being alive. you had this totally different flavor of rebellion, as if they just couldn't get into your head.

yesterday someone told me i had an “us versus them” mentality. they called me psychotic and said i have to come back to reality and just try to strike the middle-ground.

i couldn't stop thinking about you ever since that exchange, it's like you forever imprinted in my mind how misguided this common sense is. i wonder what made you break from it, but from what you told me, there's no going back. it gets deeply ingrained in you. you become forever questioning, and that bothers some people who can't appreciate thinking, but what they accomplish in their acquiescence is just to uphold whatever is already set up: production, consumerism, miserable relationships. in truth, they step on the shoulders and the heads of lots of people who will never get to sit across a shrink and listen to their pathologist, self-righteous gaslighting.

family, church, psychs — all gaslighters of the state, you told me. i asked you “where do you learn this stuff?” and you replied “in self defense”.

you see, this is why i miss you. you never felt my words as “rebellious”. you never felt them as “too radical”, or worse, you never felt embarrassed and never shamed me when you listened to them. you either celebrated it or took it even farther. living in rebellion was natural to you, and your absence makes my daily life empty of that.

why do they see affection, care, feelings, always as demonstrations of sexual intent? always as demonstrations of a possessive, hungry-ghost-like feeling? it confuses me deeply, as if i had to contain my feelings. then they proceed to call you cold, distant, removed. the result of this double denial is anger. i feel anger that no measure of my feelings is ever valid.

this anger is pointless, even if acknowledged and validated, it just eats me up. it's all about who is around me, and how able they are to truly listen and give weight to my words without saying i'm trying to be special for it. those days when we could sit and talk were deeply nurturing to me, and to build such a possibility again requires me to transmute this anger.

kaltia, this is how they try to break us. by abandoning us in doubt. convincing us that you can't think against the machine and get it to spill food and coins at the same time.

i was told i'm crazy, but what do they know about that word? aren't all artists talking to themselves in some way? talking to a canvas, a block of wood, a page, to nothingness, to the sacred, to the wilderness... kaltia, my heart goes to you, wherever you are. i hope you are still coming back to check these at the old shed.

wishing you were here, wishing you are somewhere nice,

y. n. g.