On December 30, 2010, just before the birth of the New Year, I joined a club. It is exclusive and mysterious. Few participate. When your name is called to step forward, the light disappears from the room. Everything falls dark and silent.
Once in, you search endlessly for someone who understands the qualifiers for membership – anyone who can help you wrap your mind around how you wound up here. You beg and plead aloud, every moment, to be taken out of the club. But no one can remove you and put you back in the mainstream again.
Your name was placed on a list. It cannot be unwritten.
This is not one of those swanky places where waitresses come around with cocktails. There is no welcome mat at the entrance. No greeters at the door.
The rules of this club are strict, and the consequences of breaking them are severe and painful. You have to learn quickly, because no qualified person is there to explain these rules or how to behave; what to say and what not to say; how to feel, and how to escape feeling.
Even though people are all around you, they are not part of your group. Your very membership now separates you from connecting with almost every person you have known or been close with in your life. They try, but they can no longer reach you.
Once you join, your senses become heightened. People in this club experience a level of emotional pain that most humans cannot fathom prior to membership. There is no way around it. You must feel it.
The door that separates the rest of the world from the club is a heavy, dark curtain – a veil that will not lift. The sun rises there, but its members do not see it as they once did.
For those who search for the sun it is an uphill climb, a constant battle requiring actions that defy the very nature of human emotions. It is a long and painful journey from the club’s entrance back to the light. Some never make it back.
Nonmembers are fearful to even talk about the club, or the event that led a person to membership. Once in, there is no leaving. Your membership card will never expire. You cannot pay your way out. You are stuck there, trying to find others.
There are no others.
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