Empty: A Letter to Kevin Abstract

Or should I call you Ian? Probably not. We’re not really there yet.

I.

You don’t know me. Like, at all, but that’s alright. Most people who come across this article won’t know who I am, and those who do know me won’t feel like they really knew me by the end of this.

II.

I recall the first time I listened to American Boyfriend. Headphones stuffed into my ears, blocking out the drunken ramblings of my mother down the hall. Around 9:30 is when it starts, only for her to get more wobbly and oblivious to her own addictiveness as the night went on. There is a good side of it all, though, surprisingly. Being under the influence makes her more honest. This honesty also comes with more aggression, but I guess I can’t be too choosy.

I mean, after years of this behavior, at some point you have to realize that when she tells you that you’re the reason she drinks, you have to understand it just isn’t true. I mean, it can’t be… right? On a lighter note, in a few hours she’d be asleep on the couch, and my enabling cycle of responsibility and approval seeking would kick in. She’d be safely tucked in, and everything will better in the morning. This is fine. This won’t last. It can’t.

I wish my mommy would try loving.

Have you ever had that sinking feeling in your gut? Not the kind before opening night, but the kind where it feels as if every bomb and bullet in the world had converged into a mega comet of sorts, and it all ruptured inside you? As if you had just experienced an inner spontaneous combustion, triggered by something you weren’t ever prepared for? Yeah, that was it.

I eventually crumbled from the pressure of the waterworks building behind my eyes. Not too loud though, of course. I wouldn’t want anyone else to think I was upset—another result of growing up with an abusive, alcoholic mother. Ironically enough, I couldn’t blink. Or move, for that matter. I was completely frozen. As if this singular line hacked into my brain, and I was completely exposed for the world to see. It was the fsociety to my Evil Corp.

Where’s your fucking self-esteem at?

Strike two. This time didn’t hit quite as hard, but I still felt the pain within my being growing. It was like a black hole of doubt and uncomfort that was sucking up my threads of confidence that were sewn in again and again, only to be taken out by the guest in my chest.

The hardest part of my day is wishing I was fucking straight.

Recall that honesty (with about five tablespoons of aggressiveness) I was talking about earlier? Yeah, this was a big part. To be fair, I had it coming. I mean, what a fool I was to confide in my own mother and expect her to accept me for who I was. What did I think this was, an ABC sitcom? Please, I should’ve just saved myself the embarrassment.

Staring at the sky ain’t gonna fix my problems.

As I child, I had a habit of watching my ceiling fan. My eyes would fixate on a singular blade, and I would try to follow it for hours. I’d increase the speed to challenge myself, spending hours just trying to keep up. As I grew older, the need for a fan wasn’t present anymore; I was spending time staring at my popcorn ceiling, counting the specks of glitter that made it slightly enchanting.

They were fighting again. I knew they were. It wasn’t new to me. My dad only argued back because he kept her away from my brother and me. My mother is notorious for bringing up the fact that she stayed home with us for nine years. Somehow she always forgets the part about the abuse that would grant us the gift of mental torment later in life. Does she really believe that both of us being suicidal and insecure was just an unlucky coincidence? Or does she choose to not tell herself, because she would rather live in a world without the guilt of ruining the both of us?

I could understand that. I wish I could have a normal life, too. I wish I didn’t talk to people who aren’t actually there. I wish I didn’t hate myself. I wish I didn’t have the feeling as if every friend in my life saw me as weight they had to carry along, and they were just waiting to drop me off and leave me to rot whenever the chance presented itself. I’m afraid I ain’t gonna have no friends. Trust me, I would adore normality. But then again, anyone who’s normal doesn’t spend hours every day staring at their fucking ceiling.

III.

I don’t care no more.

So, where do I begin? I suppose with a thank you. A thank you for all that you have brought into the world. From your social media activity—something many celebrities have yet to grasp—to your music. Music that has resonated with me in ways that I won’t be ever to repay you for.

Hearing you take these thoughts of yours and transforming them into songs as helped me in a lot of ways. As a person with a mother who doesn’t accept your sexuality, your songs have vocalized issues that many queer people have to deal with. I’ve yet to tell the rest of my family about my sexuality due to fear of being scolded or disowned, and unfortunately, I am unable to move out. But seeing you shine all of your struggles as the young glowing artist that you are, it helps to know that others have made it through.

I apologize for not being able to come to the upcoming BROCKHAMPTON tour (Floridian, here) but I no doubt would’ve loved to be there and will continue to support you guys in all your endeavors.

IV.

My tale is in no way here to show the redemption of a queer 18 year-old girl receiving her reward of self-esteem and confidence after facing the trials of a wretched home. I’m not here to display a message of “If I can, then so will you!” to automatically change your life, because that’s not how it works. (And if that is how it works, then my reward packages must have gotten lost in the mail.) There is no fairytale ending where I can ride away on a white horse to my gilded fortress under a sunset. This is a new beginning; a beginning where I help myself to overcome what has done me wrong in the past and to pitch my roots in soil that serves to benefit me. Of course, this won’t be easy. Hell, publishing this article wasn’t even easy. I spent weeks going back and forth on whether I wanted this or not.
This all started as a simple note I created and sent to Kevin on Twitter. He liked it. I cried. You know, in a smooth and collected way. This, then, prompted me to create a bigger version of it. One that broadens and more specifically indicates the ways that American Boyfriend affected me. Not really to make a spectacle of my emotions and experiences, but to showcase them in a manner that might make a reader say, “Wow, I get this.” The healing process can be strange and slow—some might even publish an article about it—but if it strengthens my branches and nourishes my leaves, then it can’t be that strange.

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