Socially Unacceptable Post 20: Rules

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else. – Unknown

They were right. My friends didn’t care. I felt like I was floating in emptiness, surrounded by the frigidness of space. I felt like I was floundering at sea. I felt like my heart had been excised of its ability to trust in stability.

The voices were my only constant companions. They whispered in my ears, or shouted, or screamed. I cried every night until the tears would no longer come.

I prayed God, help me. Please help me. Fix me, I’m broken.

The voices said, we will fix you.

I rubbed my eyes and sat up in bed. I listened, exhausted, puffy-eyed, arms crossed protectively.


Listen to us. Follow our rules. You will never be bullied again. You will stop hurting. It will numb your pain.

That day I had called out to God and there was no answer from any deity. But my voices…they answered. And I listened.

The rules were these:

  1. Never be outnumbered again. Stay away from groups of people.
  2. No eye contact.
  3. Say sorry when it’s my fault. Say sorry when it is someone else’s.
  4. Keep my emotions to myself.
  5. Never bring attention to myself.
  6. Nothing I ever do will be good enough. Get used to it and just try to make progress always.
  7. If I stay busy, I will not be lonely.
  8. Do not speak to anyone outside the family unless someone asks a question.
  9. Never invite yourself to sit with anyone else. Never ask.
  10. If it is possible, I have to fix myself.
  11. Not feeling is worse than feeling.
  12. I will not commit suicide.
  13. No one can both understand and love me.
  14. My opinion should not be shared ever. Agree and people will leave me alone.
  15. Always say everything is ok.
  16. I will never be disappointed if I have no expectations.
  17. Trust is a risk not worth taking.
  18. Love is conditional, and meeting the conditions is too hard.
  19. I will never belong anywhere, so trying to fit in is a waste of time.

I followed these rules for years, and they crippled my relationships with other people.

They kept me safe.

They kept me alone.

Post 20 in Socially Unacceptable: The Daily Life of a Queer Schizophrenic Wreck (2022)

This is an autobiographical series about my life, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I intend to add new content daily.

For the whole series, follow this link.

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