My name is Jan Helge Lillevik and I am a white, if you only look at my name and skin color, heterosexual male who has had the privilege of growing up in Norway. I could go on to list up all my kinks and so on, but that would probably just be boring. Isn’t this who we are all to introduce one another from now on? Or is just for certain type of people?

I have seen this type of introduction both in the fiction world, one example was a scene from some tv show I cannot name, and the real world, many videos of colleges and organizations having this kind of introduction. But my question is if that is enough? Do you really get to know me by only having this kind of introduction to go by?

I was born in a southern Norwegian town called Arendal, you may know it as the inspiration to the village in Frozen. At the age of 1 and a half I was in an accident that left my hand with 3rd degree burns. This was again made worse by some malpractice where a doctor bandaged up the burns resulting in me needing transplanting skin grafts to my hand to save it. A few operations later, I ended up with a right hand with some reduced function and a lot of trauma, both from the accident and the following treatment.

This, and a few other medical issues, led to me being bullied quite a bit as a kid and I could not participate in things kids usually do, like sleepovers and such. I would not attach myself to a lot of people, but when I did, I was fiercely loyal to them. A good example that I still take with me to this day is that I do not talk about people behind their backs if they are a friend of mine and I do not like it around me.

It took me a while to really get that someone might be interested in me. Because the bullying, my various traumas and lack of social interaction as a child, I would as an adolescent not really get when someone was flirting with me, and I still have real problems with that. I often compare my self-editing, or self-critiquing, to an inner critic or that of a choir, constantly questioning everything I do, every phrase I say and every paragraph I write (this was deleted three times). I will always run through things in my head before doing something and if there is no chance of success, I will not do it.

That is why I consider what happened to me at age 21 as a miracle. I found someone. I will not name, most people who know me, know her name, and she knows who she is. For once without drugs or intoxicants, I could quiet those voices. I could just look at her and I thought everything would be okay. It was the most peaceful part of my life, and I often long for it.

Losing her, not in a sense that she is no longer alive, but just her leaving me, was probably the hardest thing, apart from losing my best friend, this time he died in an accident, I have ever experienced. It was as if I lost my anchor, and I say this in the most positive fashion, in the middle of a storm. Being set adrift for the rest of my existence, no compass, no lifeline, no safe harbor.

It isn’t like I haven’t tried, but the manner of the break up, my past and other factors made it hard for me to connect with anyone again and I bear those scars alongside those caused by the bullying.

I would eventually manage to get some work in my chosen field, but lost that because of office politics, a game I am ill suited for being a bit of an introvert.

I could go into a myriad of other things where I have felt overlooked, bullied, unfairly treated and just been severely unlucky, but you cannot see that by merely looking at me. Well, I say that. A female friend of mine, quite a few actually, claim to see an aura of sadness around me. Maybe that is why she chose someone else.

All of this forms me, but you cannot see that if you just look at me, and if I introduce myself in that way to people some might look upon me in horror or just pure shock that I went into such detail. And this is why I just say “Hi, my name is Jan Helge.”

JH Lillevik is a writer of sci-fi and fantasy. He writes screenplays, novels and short stories. He also works as a writing consultant for upcoming writers. His specialty is mythology, world building and psychology.

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