Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Week Of No Electronics, How Shall I Survive?

Thank god summer school's finally over. However, with summer school ending, I now have to tolerate a week without electronics. It's only until Friday, but I suppose it counts.

So, during the school year, this RYLA leadership camp thing was presented as an opportunity. I first had to apply, and then go through an interview process. Naturally, with my great knowledge of interview tricks, I managed to be the one given a free trip to the camp for leadership skills (one per school in my district). It was something like that, but I barely remember the exact details of how it all works. Kinda the epitome of "I have no idea what I'm doing". 

Here I am, writing a blog post in the 50 minutes I have left about how I feel. I'm gonna do another one after I get back, so that should show the drastic change (or not) in my persona. I'm going to develop leadership skills, which I've always found useful due to my watching of Firefly. Malcolm Reynolds is the guy who inspires me to truly be a leader, and he's one of the most relatable characters I've watched on Television. Person Of Interest may be the new top dog on the television network (though others don't feel the same way), but Firefly will always hold a special place in my heart due to the soul-augmenting journey it takes me on. 

"well look at this! Seems like we got here just in the nick o' time! What's that make us?"
"Big damn heroes, sir!"
"Ain't we just!"
Leadership. Ah yes. I've always struggled with being a leader with my social anxiety, and I feel it's crippled me. In group projects I'm normally the one to take charge, normally the guy who says, "okay, what should we be doing?" As I had to go through summer school with a bunch of idiots from normal schools, I had to do this quite a bit the past few weeks. My social anxiety is still a subtle thing, it always gives me a burst of adrenaline as a fear response when I appeal to the remaining members of my group. 

I know this is short and choppy, but I'm kind of on the clock here. Were I to have been doing this since the moment I got up, I would be putting a lot more effort and thought into it. But no, I only have 45 minutes, thus the lack of funny images and witticisms that you all seem to love from my blog posts. Still, I feel I should say something profound. This camp I'm going to be spending overnight, with no electronics, with people I don't even know. What's worse is, with a good amount of people I knew in middle school having gone to another high school in Austin, there's a possibility there WILL be someone I know, which with either be awesome, alright, or a goddamned nightmare. 

There's still the anxiety I feel with the amount of people I don't know. At least if someone I know is there, it'll be the devil I know, but an entirely new group of people I can't help but feel nervous about. Now, I know what you're all saying in your mind, "oh, just be yourself!", "they won't be that bad!", "you might meet your soul mate there!". Yes, yes, and yes, but it still terrifies me somewhat. The point about anxiety is that it's an example of an irrational fear. I know all these things, but I still have an adrenaline response due to fear. I actually had a small conversation with someone yesterday about anxiety on stage. She wondered how I did it, and I had to think for a moment. The way I survive being onstage is that I force myself into it. The anxiety for me is all beforehand, anticipation of all the possible scenarios of what could go wrong (which is, in most cases, everything). The key, in my opinion, is to force yourself into it, to concentrate on swimming rather than the prospect of drowning. I rush myself through the lines, calm myself down by reassuring myself that this ecstatic heartbeat isn't fear, it's excitement. I convince myself I love it.

I actually did that without thinking earlier this morning, I was pacing back and forth, waiting the extra hour, when suddenly I felt invigorated, I was going to ace this, even though I had no idea why, but even then I did feel like I knew. Because this leadership camp is gonna solidify me into who I am. My biggest issue is my social anxiety, always crippling me in the halls, making me wonder about things that couldn't possibly happen but still could. 

Despite this, there have always been people I imagine myself being (Lukas, that's why your yearbook entry was so special to me), people who are completely at peace with themselves, making them even cooler than they believe themselves to be. I imagine, "what would Lukas do?" and smile as I imagine him handling the situation perfectly as he always seems to. It's not a Pliny-esque bromance I have ("I have wanted to be you and be held by you"), but rather an unconscious respect, admiration at the idea that someone has achieved a self-actualized persona. There are few people in my life who I can say are completely self-actualized, like Mikayla for instance. It was part of the reason I fell in love with her during sophomore year, and when I got rejected like a bitch, I feel like it somehow drove me closer to being self-actualized myself, forcing a life lesson in my face that would help me later on. 

Self-actualization, for those who don't know, is one perfecting themselves, allowing them to be at their greatest potential. Of course they can improve further, but the key is their potential to become greater. Lukas and Mikayla are some of the few people in my life, I think I'm repeating myself, who have this self-actualized personality, this quality that makes them ideal people and perfect friends. One can guess, of course, that due to anxiety I've been unable to approach anyone like this, but this camp should change that. 

I'm not anxious, I'm excited. Though I may not seem so to my mother sitting across from me, I am excited, and cannot wait. Though some subconscious feeling, I know I shall take one step closer to self-actualization this week. It's always been a goal of mine, a goal I desire so greatly to fulfill, not just for myself, but for those friends I have.

Have fun without me, guys.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

This Is More Than A Memory, This Is Me

So I'm supposed to be writing an essay about a memory I've had as a result of summer school english. This is my way of politely saying, "fuck you, I'd rather write a blog post". This is a memory, though, so I guess it wouldn't be too much trouble to email my teacher the link of it later on. I only have a half hour, though, so there might be some difficulty in finishing. I'll just finish it at home, if that's the case. At least I've discovered some new music for you guys to listen to, and damn if it won't load on AISD wifi.

I never expected to take summer school, only summer delta. Health and speech, easy as pie. No muss, no fuss, just two and a half weeks of morning computer work. I would have to spend the latter half of my day with my mom at work after she picked me up from school, but I would have my charger and my laptop to carry me on until the evening when she took me home, which was sadly not true of the first day. She got a phone call from the school. I was right there in her office when it happened. She was shocked, and I was paranoid about whatever it could be, despite my skill at hiding it. As an actor and a writer, I find it remarkably easy to hide the pain. Apparently I had failed not only physics, but also English, and would have to take summer school.

Summer school, on top of summer delta, four classes, two and a half weeks. It slammed into me like a freight train right there in that chair. I was still on my phone, desperately trying to ignore the feeling of my heart sinking like a rock into my chest. This occurred for me over the period of an hour or two. My eyes had already been bothering me due to the allergies, and I at least had an excuse to cry, had I done so. Summer delta was fucking easy, and I was still relaxed, but Physics and English on top of that? Bullshit. I can't do that. Would any adult tolerate that kind of workload? Especially when your english teacher has a "no electronics" policy during certain times of the class, so I can't even work on my summer delta during English. When can I work on it, then? Physics? Of course I can, but after school? I get out of summer school at seven, my day much longer than any during the school year. When I get home, I barely have time to relax, barely time to eat dinner, watch an episode of Orphan Black, and then take a shower.

This foreboding in my chest tore through me, and my mother was rightfully aggravated, too. She had to drive me to school that evening and go out of her way to sign me up for summer school, not five hours after the phone call of death had been made. We had to go up to my school counselor (who really didn't do much over the year) and my mother had to show the signs of stress in her eyes in the form of near-tears that I had a legit reason for failing two classes. I was almost there with her, but it hurt like hell to even keep my eyes open. In the end we got a reduction in payment so that we only had to pay 100 bucks instead of 300 or some shit like that, but it turns my blood to fire at the thought that that 200 bucks saved was all both of us had gotten for our pain and suffering. Now I have to work a 13 hour school day for two and a half weeks in order to finish four fucking classes, one of which is beyond me. I knew exactly what we were learning in English, I understood it, I could write it, I just lacked the mental facility to do the work, and for that, they put me with a bunch of ghetto kids who take 10 minutes to read a page out of a book. I get some people are slow readers, but I'm far more than they are. I'm not saying I deserve more, but I at least deserve to make up the class I took, not 6th grade English, with it's definitions like "foreshadowing", "protagonist", "nonfiction", to name a few. I'm a writer, these words are second nature to me, I define them by themselves, and use them to define other words. These words are new to these other kids, who ought to be in some special class where they develop a reading level comparable to a high school one. Instead, they're here, attending, participating, and being written off as having learned the material. What a joy this public school system is.

I don't mean to badmouth other kids, I'm sure they're nice, in their own way, but a student is no longer a student when they no longer desire to learn. Having taken a break in an hour of traffic in my mom's car, I can easily say I'm stressed. There's definitely a lack of homework for both classes, which is thankful. The school year was too full of homework, and getting home at nearly 8 in the evening thus means there would be riots should homework be assigned. My own would be passive aggressive, but there could be some vehement disagreement by others. As I said, barely enough time to watch a single episode of Orphan Black all the way through, especially since the atmosphere of the show causes one to take frequent breaks, as one normally does when one gets the feeling of a character in a movie or TV show when they're doing something they shouldn't. Orphan Black is filled with moments like these, make no mistake.

And it's a moment like this where, despite the music, I've completely lost my train of thought. I usually listen to the same music, in this case Blackheart, in order to remember what the gist of it is. It's like chewing a flavor of gum while you study, then chew the same flavor during your final. The association allows you to remember what you studied. This is supposed to be an essay, but I wrote it as a blog post, why? Because one way or another, I reflect on a personal experience. I may seem mean, judgmental, but aren't we all? Aren't you? My blog posts are more than just words on a screen, they're a reflection of me, and who isn't judgmental or mean some of the time, even in their own head?

We are all memories, and this is one of them, this is several, several where I felt pain, anger, sadness, depression, and most importantly, angst, the #1 emotion in a teenager's life. This is more than just an essay, this is a fragment of me, a horcrux meant to preserve me and keep me immortal, this one blog post, capturing my brainwaves and displaying them for all to see on the internet forever. On the internet, we are immortal. We will always be here. No matter how much of an essay this isn't, this is more.

This is me.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dad, you obviously didn't read my last blog post, maybe you'll actually read this one

I remember the last blog post I wrote about you, dad. I honestly couldn't forget. As a result, you banished me from your house the weekend after, and after some consideration, instead decided to banish me from the internet connection every weekend since. It's only recently that you barged into my room, pissed off by some random event I don't know about, that you tossed me a slip of paper, calling me a big baby and to "have it" that my access to the internet has been restored.

Of course, I wouldn't dare write a blog post such as this while at your place. How could I, with possible beratement and untapped fury just down the staircase?

I wrote my theatre final about you. I had to write a song about how I fought against something bigger than myself. I wrote about the feeling I have of powerlessness when I'm with you. It came to my attention several weeks ago that there was a reason why I had all these fantasies about magical realms, fantasy situations where advanced power could be harnessed and wielded by me. I barely have any power in real life, so I'm forced to subconsciously imagine that I do. I pretend that I have the power to level the house I'm forced to spend my time in, pretending I have something I can hold over you, something I can do that preserves the balance of power. One of the things I repeat in the chorus of my song is the lyric "I won't become the anger in your eyes".

The weekend started off alright, with your usual contented demeanor being the one to shine through. Sadly that didn't last. Despite my wireless isolation, I still played my offline game on my laptop, seemingly unaffected by your punitive behavior. Saturday evening, however, you seemed incensed by something. Naturally I was forced to resort to submissive behavior, plenty of "yes dad"s to appease the beast I knew slumbered within. Your sin has and always has been wrath. I paced in my room, listening to music to calm myself, calm my own anger inside. You said that you knew me, as I was half you. Despite how much I fear to become you, that fear has always been a rational one. When you came in complaining I was making too much noise, I retorted with the fact that I can hear my sheets when I ruffle them very quietly (the room is very resonant), but you didn't care. You noticed the rice krispie treat wrappers on the small thing that doesn't qualify as a table and got mad again, saying I was eating shit. I was apparently supposed to act like a human being, not an animal. This from the man trying to act like god.

If not for you, I never would've developed the word "Jehovianism", the syndrome of holding Yahweh in such high esteem that one ends up becoming him. The anger, the wrath, the thought that you're doing something to help 'save' me when you screw up everything in the first place. Old testament god threw the CTRL+Smite command around like no other, punishing rather than forgiving. Despite my original sin, knowing good from evil, you still haven't forgiven me, and probably never will. Instead, I'm the bad guy, I'm the evil villain trying to topple your totalitarian throne, a throne built on a house of cards which can and will do nothing but fall.

That last blog post? I could've tossed around so many words, so many hurtful things, so many things to actually make it qualify your definition of "disrespectful". Is advocating for oneself disrespectful? I merely wish to be, and here you are trying to stifle me and my words. Is it because they can actually hurt you? Is it because they're the one thing you actually care about? my words aside, you're one to talk about the disrespect I've given to you, if any at all. All the disrespect and passive aggression I've perpetrated pales in comparison to yours. We're still waiting on all the apologies you're behind on, which you've never even thought to apologize directly for. That evening where my sister and I were to spend two hours at the Costco with you on our usual Thursday night where you justified yourself and your actions in making her cry two weeks before were full of bullshit. That is all you really did, justify yourself. I could ask my sister and she, too, wouldn't be able to remember when the words "I'm sorry" left your lips that evening. Did they ever?

My sister is another matter entirely. This weekend you kept telling me if I didn't like staying at your house with restricted access to the wifi, I was in fact 17 and had the option to leave. Once would've made me think nothing of it, but the second and third times drew suspicion. I felt like you were goading me, trying to plant the suggestion to make me leave. You then said despite my being a child, I'm old enough to make that decision, but the reasoning for why I stay, the reasoning I stand through my suffering is more adult than you could ever comprehend. My sister's only 12, and you told me a previous evening that 12 isn't an age where one could make a decision on a matter such as that, but she's older than 12 now. She has been for a long time, and you've still treated her (both of us, even) like a child. She's hardly innocent anymore, especially with everything you've done. Why do I stay? I stay for her. She's cried herself to sleep on numerous occasions, she suffers, and she tries to be an amazing person like the person I described in her birthday post but just can't because of this negative force in her life, this energy that tears her apart and drives her further into the dark side.

Father of the year, 41.9 BBY -- 4 ABY
I have to be there for my sister, just like she has to be there for me. You showed our Aunt and Uncle our grades as if you had something to be proud of, but isn't pride for something one achieves on their own? All you ever care about is me taking tests, me getting scholarships, me doing good so that you have something to brag about. You only seek to punish me for my bad grades, only really caring when they're bad. You don't even try to help, don't even try to consider the emotional turmoil my sister and I are put through that causes a decline in our grades. Must be because we're not applying ourselves or because we're lazy. Well, that's true. Neither of us are applying ourselves because we can't. We're locked in this battle with you which we're forced into fighting without being able to leave. We can only surrender, but we know what happens to prisoners of war. No matter how much we're supposed to build a bridge, we've lost the spirit.

Alec Guinness didn't give in to totalitarianism, why would I?
What can we do? What could we possibly do? Your attempts to make us be a part of your "new family" can only succeed to a certain extent. Not only are the personality differences vast, but we barely know them, barely feel comfortable around them. All we know is you're increasingly defensive of them, your way of saying "won't anybody think of the children?!?" Any mild complaint about your newfound (maybe not that newfound...) family is an offense to be dealt with. You claimed my mentioning of how you and your girlfriend bought a house together somehow caused her to be fired, even though a teenager's blog isn't exactly a logical source of dependable information. You followed up by saying if I mentioned you were doing drugs in one of my blog posts, you'd get drug tested at work. Of course, you're not doing drugs, are you?

I might get my internet privileges revoked once more with this, with all this 'disrespect' I'm having by voicing my opinion. This weekend, these nudges to my shoulder to get my attention. You're little more than that bully in elementary school trying to provoke a reaction, trying to goad me into fighting you so that you can cry and scream and claim you're the one who're being bullied. That's probably how you'll portray this blog post, probably how you'll justify this downright abusive behavior. You tell my sister and I you enjoy having us around, but have you considered that both of us may not feel the same way?

You've spent all this time thinking about yourself, thinking about how you can strengthen your regime. There's a phrase about how if you encounter an asshole a day, they're an asshole, but if you encounter ten assholes a day, you're the asshole. Think about how many people are to blame for all these events, how out of all of them, none of them seems to be you. Quite fascinating that you're such a perfect being, eh? My most rational fear, as I mentioned, was becoming you, becoming the anger in your eyes that always seems to be present, even when suppressed. I said once before that I either wanted you to man up and be a proper father or to leave us alone, but your actions and hatred and dark side power you pervade have made me lean further and further towards the latter until I have nowhere left to lean.

I hate it, dad. I have having to lie, having to smile and be a good son just so I don't invoke the wrath of the heavens. My sister hates it too, and is finding it harder and harder to lie as time goes on. Sooner or later one of us will snap again, and it won't be pretty.

Let us be us, and maybe then you can figure out who you're supposed to be, too.