The version of me that is Ben and not Kylo Ren sits on the other side of the picket fence that raised her. She is Batman and I am the Joker. I spit rhymes and I sing songs and none of it is any good, nothing I ever do will ever be as good as the thing she did by being born to rich parents who love her.
Rich parents generally love their children. Rich parents invest so much in their children. Parents who have a lot to invest, invest quite a lot. Still sometimes there is one child who gets left behind. The darker-skinned child, the fatter child, the one who celebrates less honestly the feat of her existence. The one who stares in front of her at bars no one else can see on a cage no one else can admit is a cage.
I have spent a lifetime staring at my lap and twisting my hands back and forth, waiting for somebody to care about the rest of us. The ones who get left behind so our whiter, richer, more-invested-in peers can have their fun. Oftentimes that fun comes at our expense. When it does, we are expected to laugh and laugh. Or else to die sweetly, prettily, in our youth. Before we get old, or bitter, or ugly with pain.
Pain is always, always ugly. Pain is not very much fun. Pain has to be hidden from view so everyone else can enjoy themselves.
In the movies the battles always look like so much fun. Don’t they? The heroes are beautiful and well-equipped to handle the challenges before them. The enemies wear masks and spit cruelties and murder pitilessly so you always know who they are. You always know who to root for.
In real life being a hero looks more like standing up for myself and standing up for myself and standing up for myself, and. Identifying triggers and apologizing and helping people who have a hard time trusting me and insisting on my value to people who would prefer I sit down and shut up so they can go on talking. The decisions about who is going to have the power have mostly already been made. I mostly don’t have any power. My friends are mostly dead for want of power.
Sometimes I wish I had never known them. I wish I could have loved him, instead of them. Because they’re gone. Loving them is like carrying a cross around on my back, like that girl who carried the mattress she was raped on everywhere she went for months at college. I wish I could love somebody more like wings. But he was the first person I tried to love that way and he took that from me, or. He made me see how foolish I was for trying to love anybody that way. I learned. I saw myself through his eyes, how childish I was. How silly. I learned.
How to not be silly. I learned.
Unfortunately for him, people like me, when we stop being silly, we start being girlbombs. Levied at boys like him, boys who became Kylo Ren and not Ben. Boys who took one too many hits of acid at one too many parties. Boys who maybe did things to that girl or that other one, but who cares, right? It was all a game. It was all in fun. Why was she crying afterwards, what did she have to cry about?
Boys like him become Kylo Ren because they started out that way. Because somebody told them they were the center of the universe, and they believed. Boys like him, who want to be loved, or maybe they want to be fucked, or maybe they want one really good blow job before they do whatever stupid thing they’re about to do next to try to convince the even whiter, even richer boys to like them. Boys like him, who would slit the throats of girls like me, just to fit in.
In another life, I was that girl who grew up behind that picket fence, in which case the conditions were correct for him to be able to love me. In another, other life, our mutual friend raped me while I was passed out drunk and he was one of many boys watching it happen and he did not stop it. In this life, he thinks my job is to cheer him on and make it easier for him to live his life, and in return, I get all the power that comes with being the girl he casts in this role. In this life, I did not walk away from that. I ran.
I’m not really a writer. To be a writer, you have to expect people to listen to you. You have to know how to make people listen. I don’t know how to make people listen. But I know that there are lines I will not cross, to be loved.
I could have forgiven him, maybe. For all those things he did when he was Kylo Ren. Only, he thought Kylo Ren was the thing to be. He thought Kylo Ren was just another name for hero.
Where he looked in the mirror and saw a hero, conquering the world in the name of patriarchy and colonialism and Western principles of law and order, all I saw was a monster. The monster who looked an awful lot like the boy I could have loved. In another life.
I’m not silly any more. Thanks to him. And so, what am I?