I am scared of people. I am scared of humanity.
For as long as I can remember, I have been sizing others up. This motherfucker wants to hurt me. This one’s okay. This one’s too risky. This one seems safe. It feels like I’ve been scared since I came flying out of the womb, and my fear does not seem to be slowing down. If you’ve a beating heart, you can hurt me. You can tear me apart.
Animals — never the enemy. It’s the people. It’s the we.
I’m so scared that sometimes I can’t go to sleep. And sometimes the fear wakes me up. It keeps me in my house when I want to leave. It makes me flee in the car when we were playing at the park. Sometimes — it makes me want to die. It’s too hard to feel this conflicted. To feel this scared all of the time.
I’m so scared I put alarms on our windows. I didn’t put alarms on our windows because jaguars live nearby and can get a windowsill open, in search of a steak. I put alarms on our windows because sometimes, humans use their arms to lift them up, and their legs to crawl inside, and their hands to steal or kill. Sometimes they put their hands on other humans and wrangle the breath out of them. Then they walk into the nearest gas station and get a Mountain Dew.
I know babies exit kind. I know most people would pick up your things if you fell on the street (fashion mags run those little experiments and most people come out shining.) I know that, in general, people have our backs.
But the worst stories I have ever heard have been of human to human contact, hand to hand combat, man versus man.
A baby in a bathtub with water that could boil pasta. A young woman set on fire.
I could list all the real-life nightmares I have catalogued in my head, but there isn’t enough time and I can’t feed my own ire.
I’m scared. Hopeful. Scared. It feels like we’re in trouble.
I hope that’s just my fear talking.