There are the people with the Pain. These are those dealt the shitty hand, being children of divorced parents, learning about death before they should have to, being poor or homeless or raped or robbed or hungry or bullied or cold. I am none of these, and my pains are few. I have made and created almost all the pain that I have had to experience, skating around subjects of distance, “heartbreak”, a brief affair that I’ve managed to all but forget about, and the fear of being trapped in the town that I was born and raised in. These are Growing Pains. Average Pains. Common Paynes.

Average. The word slaps me in the face, gets shampoo in my eyes. With ferocity I have tried to wash it away, for years upon years. It is my biggest downfall, the thing I Hate Most about myself, my own catching disease. There is no escaping it. I joined the Army Reserves Band, a thing that no one knows exists, playing an instrument that even less people recognize. I moved almost 3 hours from my hometown to study English at a community college, with the intention of finishing a degree and ultimately burying myself in bookshelves Forever. It wasn’t until my fifth semester that I finally made a friend there. In what would have been the sixth, I packed up my dog and my alphabetized boxes of books and drove 700 miles to move into an apartment on the east coast with my best friend. /

At least this place has made me a more frequent customer of happiness. I’m here. In all these actions, I’ve hoped that I could trick myself out of being Average, common, stuck, out of being lost or forgotten. These things don’t count. They are not the exits I had in mind. The pains that I have I still make for myself.