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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

So two days ago I did something dumb. Hear me out. I bawled in front of my mom and then poured my heart out about why I hate my existence.

You see, it all started when we were trying to decide what to do about my new writing teacher, who shall henceforth be referred to as Dr. Eggman. Dr. Eggman seems to feel an all-consuming need to control his students’ emotional lives, which is probably why he is not married (or at least why I would put forty bucks on it). Enter: Leticia’s mutant power.
I have an acute sense of human nature, and I can instantly size up any adult and know exactly what it is that they are thinking. This frustrated the hell out of my elementary-school teachers who could get my contempt but not my obedience when they mistreated me. I instantly knew everything that was wrong with them that make them yell at a six-year-old. I was invincible.

So when I arrived in my new writing class featuring Dr. Eggman, I got very bad vibes about him. Specific class rules include no pouting and no contacting the teacher to ask about assignments. He talks about how this is "my class" in passing, such as how bus drivers who always talk about "my bus" and Presidents who always talk about "my budget" are generally to be avoided. It means they have a large emotional investment in what they consider to be their possession. It also sets up an adversarial relationship between them and who they serve.

The flip side to my ability to size people up is that I am very emotionally vulnerable; I just know how to strike back. Any teacher that gives me personal grief for my test scores is going to bear the brunt of my ability to manipulate people’s emotions. So I fear being in a class in which the teacher seems to curse the students for making him get out of bed in the morning; if I catalogue all his emotional problems in the back of my mind during class (as I am wont to do), it is tantamount to me kicking his ass in an extended round of emotional ju-jitsu (otherwise known as guilt-trip-fu). This will guarantee a D grade.

So, the only option is to withdraw back inside my emotional shell and lay low for the rest of the class. This isn’t a problem, as I am very experienced in it; the problem is that my emotional self will suffer, and my writing will suffer even more. I shall not be able to turn on my computer without the sight of Dr. Eggman breathing down my creative neck. This calls for desperate measures... like buying one of those Dilbert boss dolls to yell at (fun!).
But, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the fact that I told my mom all the things that I have told only thousands of people through my blog. Very personal stuff, such as that I fit in nowhere and have been drifting aimlessly throughout school and am very glad that I am finally learning things that I care about, but good God, I hate buying college education by the pound.

There was a Whose Line sketch in which the actors were on an out-of-control walkway and had to say their lines while aimlessly careening past each other. That’s what interaction is like at the community college; now that I know everybody, I can say hi to people as I pass them by, but interaction is limited to "hey-how’d-that-big-project-go-well-I-gotta-get-to-class-so-BYEEEEE" as the unstoppable force of the Schedule sweeps us away to classes unknown.

More than that, though; I told my mom about the one Digimon episode (emotional revelation hence, and a certain friend of mine with really sexy hair better not be reading): In season four, our heroes, the DigiDestined, are trapped in the Digital World and are fighting to save it with their newfound power to transform into Digimon. The loner of the group is JP. He is somewhat arrogant as he costantly advances on the only girl in the DigiDestined, but only to compensate for the fact that he never fit in, and has trouble keeping up even with a group as tight-knit as the DigiDestined. However, he does have a penchant for magic tricks and the group appreciates the entertainment.

In the episode in question, JP is forcibly split off from the group by an evil Digimon posing as JP’s "dark side." Dark JP tells Our Hero JP that the DigiDestined don’t actually like him at all, he has nothing to bring to the group, that the only reason they let him tag along is because they take pity on him. The real JP tearfully rejects that notion, screaming that he really is their friend and that his dark self is just telling a pack of lies. Dark JP reminds him of a story:

Back on Earth, JP’s hobby was to do magic tricks as the master magician, Howdy Doodat. He could split hankerchiefs and then reform them in an instant, make milk dissappear from a newspaper, and all that other stuff. Dark JP reminds JP of how he would use his magic tricks to impress people in the class and to make them like him. But at the end of the day, it was raining, and JP had no umbrella; and even as all the other kids paired up and began to share their umbrellas with each other, nobody was willing to offer to share one with him.

Dark JP told JP that this was the story of his life; he impresses people with magic tricks and candy bars but deep down inside, he’s just a weak-willed loner that people only keep around for kicks. As JP transforms into a Digimon in order to defeat his dark self, Dark JP conjures up a stadium crowd full of illusory copies of the other DigiDestined, who mock JP’s attempts at fighting. It’s over, Dark JP told him, give into the dark forces and turn against your friends. They never liked you anyway.

Then JP learns not to believe him and he kicks Dark JP’s ass and then the other DigiDestined come and rescue him, proving that they did care about him after all. He tells them that he’s sorry he’s been so awkward and they say that it’s all okay, what matters is that he’s part of the team. It’s all so very happy and lovely and warm in here.

So I didn’t think very much of the episode until I sat at the bus stop the next day and randomly started bawling. That episode articulated so much about how I feel about myself; I have a great stage persona and everybody seems to like me, but everybody’s afraid to get close to me and that’s why nobody will share their umbrella with me. I told this to my mom and she told me not to worry; people _are_ afraid of me, I just need to open up a little more and stop being such a show-off. Thanks a fucking lot, mom.

So I just spent yesterday popping ibuprofens and playing Mega Man, not because I was sick (although my head and stomach were each reeling), but I couldn’t believe what my mom had told me. It was like I had reached a plateau. I really am a loser, and I ought to accept it and act like one.

But no, do not worry, I am better today and I have recognized that my mom didn’t really mean to say I’m a freak (although she didn’t do a very good job), she just told me to trust myself and then my true self will show through more than my forced-exhuberance self that I constantly project. So I will trust myself. After all, you all know what I’m thinking, and you’re not afraid of me... right?

Leticia

(If anybody knows where I can find season four, or any season of Digimon, contact me. I will impress you with magic tricks and candy bars.)

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