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.
(Aside: This is a piece I wrote for the Matrix magazine that I am the junior editor of.)
When the cheating starts, the fighting, the lying, the crushing anxiety. When the fear sets in, and the threats start coming in waves and you want to crawl inside yourself and never leave. When you hide yourself, not your face or your body but you, the colorful, nurtured, lively you. The one who dances in fields in their dreams and has flowers in their hair.
No that person is hidden underneath the shame. Underneath the lies.
The biggest lie is that there is only one way to love.
I was told that loving was limited. The prince and princess and their one love.
Heterosexuality. Monogamy. A singular unity between two people.
This is a lie.
I was scared to question my feelings. I was scared to share with my friends my doubts. They’d say: “No, there is no way you could be a lesbian.”
And I say lesbian because, yet again I thought, it can’t be possible for me to like more than one. I must be greedy. Lustful. Out of control. I must be ravenous for some kind of contact.
But I’m not. I just have a capacity to love more than one gender and more than one person. And that was a well too deep for me to look down into, and when I did look I thought it was just an illusion and it was actually shallow. Shallow as if being more capable to love more than one gender and more than one person was crippling to my heart.
Then, knowing that monogamy and heterosexuality was an incapability of mine, I was unable to love at all.
As per request from wonderful friends, I will write my stories and little notes I’ve taken from my experiences.
In highschool, I –for some strange reason– became the Guru of anything pertaining to romance and sex for couples and friends. One of my closest friends, Minecrafter of Aphrodite (we will call him MoA for short) asked me to teach him to kiss since he had just started dating his first girlfriend. It was his sophomore year of highschool and my Junior year, so I took his request. I thought for a while about a way to verbally teach him and came to the conclusion that strawberries would be the best analogy.
See, giving someone step-by-step directions going through how to move their lips, tongue, and cheeks would be a disaster and I’d end up just making a bunch of weird faces at him. I didn’t find this an attractive way to teach or a useful way for him to learn how to handle another person.
I ended up telling him this:
“Imagine you are holding a succulent, juicy, strawberry. You don’t take the strawberry and rip into it with your mouth like an animal, nor do you lick it all over with your tongue and rub its juices all over your face. No, you gingerly press it to your lips and then take it slightly into your mouth between your lips and put pressure down on it. Don’t get complex or you won’t be savoring the taste. Start slow and then if you find out the strawberry isn’t reluctant, move forward. Silent communication.”
Now strawberries are not essentially sexual (like a banana) or romantic (like chocolate), but I think they are perfect for this situation since kissing can be either very emotional or apathic. Kissing is what you make it and what you put into it. It’s a way of communicating your intentions and feelings, or the lack thereof.