The unspoken rule of college is claiming seats for the semester. Once somebody consistently sits somewhere, that’s their seat. And the earlier you show up on the first day, the more likely you are to get your preference. I prefer to have a visual sight over most of the classroom because I’m always prepped for threat. I have a easy escape if I can see a threat coming before it can hurt me, and I’m always closest to the exit. Sitting in the second row of my Communications 101 class room, I can’t see everyone as I would usually prefer, but now it’s because of a threat .
I know he is just sitting there directly behind me. Not doing anything at all, just existing, taking notes, talking to our mutual classmates on either side of him, but each time I have to look at his face an icy river flows through my veins and I clench my fists. I feel like I make a pained face and wince away turning my body into itself. It’s just his face. I don’t even know his name.
My therapist gave me this analogy: “You’re seeing something that looks like a grizzly bear, it’s big, furry, and had claws, but it’s not a grizzly bear its a raccoon. Maybe it’ s a grizzly bear but its behind a fence, and it’s not the same one.”
I know this. I know it’s not a real threat. But my body is trying to alert me to something that looks like the threat that hurt me before that I didn’t take notice of. Slowly, I’m unraveling the past that has made others around me notice the same things. They notice I am very capricious and dual-natured, both loving and apathetic, cold and happy. It seems strange, but through deep analysis, I figured out why and how this dual-nature came about.
I did this little survey called the Jo-hari window, it has the user pick 6 characteristics that they think I possess. I picked 6 as well, these fall into one of 4 boxes, the “Known to self and hidden from others” box. If they pick one of the words that I also picked, it goes into the known to others and to self. If they picked words that I didn’t pick, it goes into another box, “Not known to self, but known to others.” If consensus grows on certain words they become highlighted against the others.
Sitting back, I know that the reason I can be both loving and apathetic/cold is because I keep my emotional distance, but I care deeply when I feel allowed or safe to do so. Sometimes I don’t notice I’m totally emotionally detached until I say something so unempathetic in a situation that requires at least a hint of empathy. I lash out without thinking because I have no emotional forethought.
To conclude this daily life post, I also want to address the antithetical ideas that surround my duality. I also am so emotional. It comes in many waves, spurred from things I can’t predict sometimes, and if recognized as a trigger of emotion, swell up and spill over even more; as if they were all the sudden given approval and allowed to overwhelm me. Maybe this recognition just seems at first like a swelling and then crashing wave, and maybe I’ll soon adapt to be the sand, able to withstand the constant crashing, and able to change with the rising tide.
I wont wince away anymore, cringe internally and externally. I won’t avoid it, but face it all.