I 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?