Are You Sad?

frowncharliebrownI did not have a good day. I woke up at 6, thirty minutes later than I was supposed to. So, I was late to the morning AP Chemistry class for about the tenth consecutive time. The early morning classes have been taking their toll. I’m tired all the time. Last night was no exception. I fell asleep doing some late assignment and hadn’t even gotten to the more recent homework. I woke up tired and was mad at myself for falling asleep. I had a glass of orange juice for breakfast. All day, I was stuck between numb tiredness and generalized sadness. People were asking what was wrong with me and what they could do to make me feel better. They told me not to worry about it.

Well, I don’t really know what it is. It might have something to do with my hair. My teacher’s hair is braided in a way that I wanted to try. I got my hair professionally done like hers. And I hate it, mostly. When my stylist finished, I looked at my silly hair and my silly face in the mirror thinking, “This is me. This is me.” Sometimes I think my hair looks cute, and I’ve gotten compliments on it. From teachers, it sounds genuine. From peers, it sounds like pity or courtesy– as in, I have this major change to my appearance and people notice and think it appropriate to say something. I dare myself to walk into that school building. I did say I wanted my hair to be like my teacher’s. I did ask my mom to make an appointment with my stylist whom I haven’t seen in over a year. I asked for this. This is me. This is on me.

Anyway, I’m just saying that my feelings today (or lack thereof) might have something to do with my anxiety about how people see me. It’s like I travel outside of myself, trying to imagine what I must look like to them, and that’s why I can’t be there in the moment. Do you understand what I’m saying?

I was going to get some lemonade. I reached for a cup, and my classmate offered to get the lemonade for me. As he pressed the tab on the jug, I took this long, deep breath and my eyes got watery. I thought, “If I start crying in this line, these people will think I’m crazy.” I thanked my classmate for the lemonade, set it down at my spot at my lunch table, and headed to the bathroom. My eyes were still watery and I patted them with the backs of my hands. Another deep breath in another mirror. I don’t know what I was upset about. For most of lunchtime, my face was in that cup of lemonade. I held it in my hand for about 10 minutes, frozen.

After lunch is Calculus. The desks were arranged in four groups of five. It was ugly, in that it was new and unfamiliar. The teacher passed out the tenth worksheet in two weeks. He’s a carefree, sociable kind of guy. As he passed me a sheet, he said, “Why do you look so sad? Are you sad?” I didn’t say anything. He asked again, “Are you sad?” What could anyone say but, “No”? I said it clearly. Although, all day I had been asking myself, Am I?


What Would Freud Say?

FreudCartoonScreenLast night, we ordered out for dinner. We were ticket number 72.

It was 8:15. I meant to sleep for only 15 minutes, to get some shut-eye before starting my homework. I’ve been very tired recently. I’m sure I dreamed more than this, but this is what I can remember:

I was in my house. My dad kept calling out for ketchup, I think, and milk. I had a feeling in the dream that my brother would take care of it and get Dad what he wanted. But I think I hid myself so that Dad would not expect me to do anything for him. When I finally did come out, I noticed a huge, black fly zooming through the house. It was fast. I swung at it several times and missed. I probably made it angry because it began to attack me. I tried to swat it away with my hands.

In the next part of the dream, I was in the backseat of my mother’s car. My dad, mom, and brother were in there. My mom was driving us down a highway. There was some traffic up ahead. When I found out that we were headed for exit 72, I began to hyperventilate. I thought the coincidence was a bad sign (Remember ticket #72?). I was certain that if we went on exit 72, all of us were going to die. I told my mom to take the nearest exit (73) and she did.

There was a stoplight just off the exit. My mom positioned the car as if she were going to turn left, but when the light was green, she wildly swung the car in a wide right turn. The car seemed to swing in slow motion. The street was wide. Our car stopped suddenly in the middle of the street, and my mom pulled me out of the car to follow her across the street. We made it safely to the side, but I was worried about my brother who was still in the car. I ran to the car and drove it to a nearby parking lot. My mom said, “I can’t understand why you just did that.”

There was a van in the parking lot. It was apparently ours. The doors were unlocked, and these strangers climbed in and seemed about to steal it. I yelled, “Hey! Hey! Hey!” I apparently went over there because the next thing I remember is reprimanding some kid. He was crouched down behind the back of the passenger seat in the van, and I held him by his collar. I was strangling him with his shirt, saying something like, “My parents worked too hard for this.” He replied, “And their children are failures.” I slackened my hold of him and asked, “Why would you say that?” I looked into his face and thought he looked just like my brother.

In another part of the dream, I’m sitting in a helicopter next to an Asian soldier. Jump cut to a sunny little place, like a screened porch that lets in all the light from outside. I get the impression that I’m in a museum because there are paintings on a wall and the voice of someone like a tour guide. There are four Japanese-style paintings. One of them is chipped in a way that makes it look like it’s made out of wood. Each of the portraits have a beautiful, orange-brown hue like parchment paper. There is paint on each figure’s nose. The tour guide explains that the status or worth of a person is determined by the color of their nose. I am extremely saddened by this and I start to cry. That big, black fly reappears to harass me. I swat at it without killing it. My sister and mother enter the room just then, all smiles.

They want to take my picture.