There was a time, over half my life ago, that I wanted to be machine. Not a machine, necessarily, but Machine. Interacting–or my meager attempts to–with the people around me sent me the undeniable message that I did not belong amongst humans.
Not having known that there were others out there who are similar, I simply felt as though I were standing on the edge of an island, or perhaps the moon, looking out into an eternal abyss. There was Them, and there was Me. I didn’t belong with Them–that much I knew.
Given that the people around me were my only known examples of humanity, and given the fact that I felt alienated from them, I used deductive reasoning to calculate that I would be better off as Non-Human. The antithesis of human was Machine. Therefore, that must be my answer.
Yet, I had many traits of being human. I had all the necessary parts and elements. Except for one thing: that being human was uncomfortable. A human is expected to do human things and interact with other humans. And I was having a surprisingly difficult time doing this.
Of course, I didn’t like my humanness. I didn’t appreciate having biological needs (like eating and sleeping) and emotional vulnerabilities (like being hurt by rejection or teasing or abandonment or criticism). I hated the part of me that craved human connection and got burned when it didn’t materialize.
To be machine, therefore, would be to take the easy way out, but I saw no shame in that. I only saw insurmountable difficulties and personal challenges when I tried to do what came effortlessly to others. With machines, the picture was simpler, the interactions drama-free, the cause and effect perfect. The scripts were clean and predictable.
I wished I didn’t need a hug or validation or praise or recognition or social contact. I hated being sensitive. I hated being different, and I tried on many costumes–external and internal–to hide my spongy insides. I despised my weaknesses, my feelings, my wants, and the risks I was willing to take to get those human needs met.
The world can be vampiric. And I couldn’t stand being drained. I wanted to be a maze of ABS plastic and metal, with electric current that held up as long as I was plugged in.
Now, I have been shown a third way. It’s no longer a question of being human or machine; I can be both, with more emphasis on what I had found so difficult and treacherous before: human. Because now I’m not necessarily alone on an island anymore. I’ve realized that I haven’t been marooned by life, the universe, and everything after all. I’ve been shown an explanation of who I am and for why I am the way I am. Life, it seems, is not entirely binary.
My kind of human is valid. And I think I’m starting to get comfortable with it.
(Image Credit: Awaissoft)