Masks After Halloween

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Last night I could have used someone to talk to.

I would have wanted someone to discuss something relevant with or maybe dive into a world of fantasy with. No small talk. No “how was your day”.

My day was the same as all my other days. How do I even answer that? It’s a weird question to me.

One thing about having anxiety is that there are nights where your heart flutters in your chest and your brain throbs like an infected silicon fluid sack stuffed in the already over-sized breast of a celebrity suffering body dysmorphic disorder. If you’re like me, to compensate for all the pent up energy, you might constantly move your limbs or twiddle your thumbs or watch a video on your computer while simultaneously watching a video on your phone, anything to block out the barking of your heart and the screeching of your mind.

I have a bad tendency to google search random diseases and tricking myself into thinking I have them. It’s an extremely bad habit.

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Anything to do with my heart gets me extra paranoid. One night I woke up in the middle of a panic attack at my boyfriend’s house and started freaking out. Somehow I got onto google and in the very vulnerable state of panic, convinced myself I had heart disease.

Just . . .

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The room started spinning and I woke him up and asked if he could get me water. He didn’t understand why until I was pacing across the floor, shaking, completely oblivious to everything around me.

When I sleep at other people’s houses, something out of my routine, my anxiety is at an all-time high. This was a little earlier in our relationship. I don’t have panic attacks at his house anymore, but I do have trouble sleeping sometimes. I’ll usually wake up about fifty times in the night and each time jump in my skin because I’d forgotten where I was.

The only way to quell my anxieties is to have a distraction. People are good distractions. Then I can focus on trying to figure out why they’re talking to me about their day instead of

Oh fuck oh Fuck a spider. FUCK. I knew it. I felt it under my skin, that’s why I looked up. It just crawled up the fucking wall behind my world poster. Why the fuck do they like it there? FUCK. Hold on a minute. Let me kill this sneaky, black motherfucker.

*INTERMISSION*

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Okay, it’s dead.

Anyway, I can focus on trying to figure out why people are telling me about their trip to the supermarket. I like talking about abstract concepts because people’s opinions fascinate me. They might say something I’ve never thought of and therefore expand my theories. That’s invaluable to me.

But I honestly don’t give two shits if you couldn’t find the soda you wanted and had to settle for Ginger Ale. How do you respond to stuff like that?

I compensate with humor. If you catch me in a group of people who I know well where small talk ensues, I’m not asking questions or participating, I’m cracking jokes about whatever they’re discussing just so I can be part of it. I have no other way of communicating. So I make due with what I’ve developed over the years.

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I learned that from my father. He’s very outgoing and good with people, but he’s also got a lot of humor and knows when to insert it in a proper conversation. I never understood the conversation part, so I picked up on how to make people laugh. It’s better than making them wary of my intelligence.

No one seems to mind–if they do, no one’s told me outright. It’s so ingrained within my personality that my comedic responses are 100% reflexive. Sometimes I wont even know what the conversation context is about.

Last night in the midst of all the swirling negativity I watched prank videos and a South African comedian by the name of Trevor Noah. Finally, a comedian who spoke on a topic I understood very thoroughly: Being mixed race and the propensity to identify as one race over the other.

Although I’ve never traveled outside of the U.S, I understand that gut feeling of wanting to “be black”. I also understand how annoying it is to be called “half” of a race.

I used to identify as “half black, half white” until I learned about all the races in my ancestry. I stick to “mixed” now. Other people say half black half white and I don’t correct them because I’ve corrected enough people to learn they get offended. THEY get offended.

You can’t be “half” a race. Genes don’t work like that. Sure you get half from your mother, half from your father, however I could have 20% of genes expressed from my mother, and 80% expressed from my father. I could have some genes that mutated together–that could be a reason for why I have straight-curly hair (straight at the top, curly towards the bottom, and just a ball of fuzz if I don’t put anything in it).

oreocookieoriginalI was called “Oreo” a lot.

 

If you know someone who is mixed race, please refrain from calling them “half” of something unless they are alright with calling themselves that. You wouldn’t like it if you were, say, Mexican, and I saw you sagging pants and wearing “bling” and I immediately assumed you were trying to “be black”, so I said “you’re not Mexican, you’re a wannabe”.

They’d run after me while spitting Spanish at a million miles an hour.

I don’t run after people spitting Ebonics at a million miles an hour, but at least I respect how a person identifies themselves.

We’re a culture buried beneath proper labels and identities. It’s probably why we’re so uncooperative when it comes to understanding people who are Transgender. People who identify as someone we don’t outwardly see, as if our physical self is all we are. For fuck’s sake, there are cultures that identify with five or more genders. And we’re the civilized society? We need to stop kidding ourselves.

If people understood just how quirky the modern, deep physics of the universe is, they’d think twice about making judgments on something or someone based on a physical characteristic.

I understand the gut feeling of wanting to “be normal”, too. It’s ingrainednewscientist-30412015oct03 in us from the moment we’re born: Pink for girls, blue for boys remember? But I detest the word “normal” and moderately detest the word “Average”. But at least average indicates some statistical value. Normal is just a label created by disillusionment, misunderstanding, and a lack of empathy. Why would I ever want to call myself an illusion?

It’s why I’ve spent the majority of my life working so hard on my mask. It would be something equivalent to a sin to let someone in the physical world catch sight of how absolutely stumped I am by their world. If people saw just how confused I was in conversation–if I didn’t have my humorous compensation technique–I’d be thrown off the plank on the bow of the boat in a matter of seconds. If people listened to my obsessive, intrusive thoughts they’d think I had homicidal fantasies.

Just FYI, I have a lot of intrusive thoughts about death; if I pass a cross walk where someone was standing, I get anxious over imagining my car swerving out of control and running them over. Then I imagine the police and prison and court and I space out for a few good minutes lost in that fantasy. I don’t want to kill people, it just comes as a freaky accident in my mind.

If people saw how much emotional pain I was in when they spoke to me hoping for a good conversation or if they saw how much ATP my body burned just so I could sift through a million responses and choose one I hoped made sense, maybe they wouldn’t talk to me.

If people knew anything about respect, they wouldn’t look at me any differently when I say I prefer to be indoors alone than outdoors making a fool of myself.

transparent_beth_inhouseMy mask is my life. Without it I’d essentially transform into a floor mat. I made it through school as the quiet girl who never speaks over the girl who says weird shit and is probably “retarded”, by choice.

Everyone has some kind of mask for some reason in this world. Because being yourself is never enough.

We’re doing it to ourselves. I think that’s the damnedest thing.