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Monday, 31 March 2014

Anxiety attack

I stayed late to attend the forum event thing about fluidity in gender and sexual orientation. I knew she'd be there, for one, but I was genuinely interested. I even submitted a question anonymously. I submitted the only question available through the anonymous submission website and I thought it was a good one: which gender pronoun should you use on a non-gender-conforming person when you're not sure how they identify? Answer: Neutral (them/they) until you know better. 

I didn't say it was my question, though. I waited patiently a full hour before the event started close to the room it was scheduled to take place in. I played 2048 (my new favourite way to kill time). When it was only five minutes to the start, I made my way in. I saw the room was dark and could sort of see people gathered in a corner, but they were few and I didn't feel comfortable with them so I sat outside and waited for more people to come in. I hadn't sat down for 30 seconds when one of the officers asked if I was there for the event, I lied and said there was no one there, he opened the door for me, I said "Oh, there are people here..." and proceeded to choose a seat not too far, not too close to the board of panellists but certainly far from the people chatting. 

I didn't feel like I belonged, so I played 2048 and quietly waited for the forum to begin... which it didn't, for at least a half hour. I could hear her talking. I heard her mention she'd learned a little Russian and swooned a little at the thought of it. I reprimanded myself for eavesdropping and went back to playing. I felt stupid for not joining in their conversation and stupider for showing up to an event with no one I could talk to. I sat nervously through the whole thing and occasionally tried to make eye contact through any of my (hopefully not very noticeable) glances. I failed. In fact, when it was the turn of the panellists nearest her to speak, she sat down and looked something up on her phone, holding it straight in front of her face. I can't help but feel even more certain than before she was avoiding me. It's just too much of a coincidence otherwise, wouldn't you agree? And, though I did come up with silly best case scenarios in my head where maybe she was just shy and just as nervous as I was and actually into me and trying to hide it for whatever reason, I know better: she's strong and confident and absolutely lovely and she wouldn't hide like that if she liked me. 

It's far more likely I'm making her uncomfortable and why can't I fucking stop?  Why wouldn't my heart quiet down after almost three hours of fast-paced beating? I know the nervous tick of people moving their feet and the building being made of cardboard didn't help, but I should have been able to enjoy myself and pay attention and I couldn't: I was too worried holding back the flight response. Why can't I stop liking her? Why must I glance her way and be nervous and have my heart racing a full hour before I even saw her just because I knew she'd be there? Why did I run away as soon as the forum was over, weak at the knees and eager to just be alone and free to cuss at myself for liking her? PRIDE meetings are the one place I feel safe and happy and smiley and I can't fucking rest easy because she's there and everything goes into overdrive. 

Between that and feeling less than stellar about the blokes that attend the tango lessons I'm starting to worry that by trying to fix myself I'm making things worse: I'm avoiding being at the house by being on campus early and staying late, skipping meals as necessary to subsist on as little money as possible while I save to buy the bloody air conditioner I haven't the guts to bring up in conversation. I make myself interact with people so I have an escape and the anxiety wants me to escape from my escape, which leaves me having nowhere to go. I keep repeating to myself "I just want to go home and sleep. I just want to go home and rest."

And that's without bringing up the episode where uncle A went behind my back and talked cousin S and girlfriend into telling me that of course there are jobs here and why would I lie to them and where are the people who told them otherwise? Unless I wanted to go, but I don't want to go, do I? That exact behaviour is the very reason I have to leave! I will not be treated like a liar and an complete imbecile incapable of making my own decisions, getting a job and making a living! I will not depend on them if I can afford not to and I'll make damned sure I can afford not to as soon as possible! If that means looking for a job far away from here, guess what I'm doing? I'm leaving! As soon as I can, I'm getting out. I don't owe them any more of my sanity or mental health. If I face hardship after that, it's on me and I'll deal with that as necessary: I won't let them put me down or control me. I had enough of that too soon after getting here. 

I just want to go. I want to go home and sleep. I just want to go home and rest. But I don't have a home. Not of my own, not even my parents'. I want a place I can call home, where I can sleep and rest and have no one bother me. 

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