A lot of people don’t understand me. I know that everyone says that, and usually with a self-righteous tone. If only everyone else weren’t so stupid and immature, they would find me interesting. If only everyone else weren’t so closed-minded, they would agree with my ideas. I’m not saying any of these things. After examining myself with an empirical, objective eye, I have concluded that I really am a freak of nature and I am least of all understood by myself. This is, obviously, a problem.
Well, let’s go through the process. When someone says something to me that hurts me, it doesn’t register in my mind right away. At first, I feel a gradual churning and twisting of my stomach until the pain is great enough that it wakes up my cognitive regions. Simultaneously, I begin to fight back tears and realize intellectually that something isn’t right. After sorting through the words that this person has just said to me, I may or may not be able to locate the exact words that upset me. Usually, I remember one or two words from a phrase. “We”, “weird”, “don’t”. On a good day, I can string the words together and pinpoint the culprit. On a bad day, I am left fighting tears as I try exasperatedly to figure out what went wrong while the knot in my stomach grows and grows.
I don’t like to talk about my thoughts when I’m like this. Well, that’s obvious — I can’t. Sometimes, I am so overwhelmed by my emotions, I don’t speak for hours. The words bottle up in my throat and run through my consciousness…”we”…”weird”…”don’t”. But the only thing I know for sure is the way I feel. Destitute. Forsaken. Betrayed. At this point, my fight-or-flight instinct kicks in and adrenaline courses through my body. If the person who has harmed me yields and softens in order to provide a safer environment, I may be able to fight this biological response. However, if said person continues to be the aggressor and corners me, I will scurry like a rabbit.
I don’t run physically yet. The first sign of my flight instinct taking over is the loss of control over my emotions. Sometimes, I burst into tears. More often than not, I laugh uncontrollably. As you might have guessed, this causes a significant misunderstanding between myself and the person on the receiving end of my laughter. Now, it doesn’t really matter what he says to me; I am looking for my escape.
Because I am the prey and therefore the weaker party in this encounter, I cannot make the first move. I have to make him leave first. In order to accomplish this, I embrace my laughter and seal off my emotions. I am an impenetrable fortress, a cold, hard stone, and he can no longer do anything to hurt me. If this predator has little patience on this day, he will give up and walk away. And I get what I want — I am alone, and therefore safe.
I make sure to keep chuckling until he is out of hearing distance and then I fold into myself like a board game finished for the night. Now, I am so deeply hidden within myself that if I catch a glimpse of my face in the mirror, I will gasp. Who is that?
I feel a soothing calm wash over me and I know that I am okay. After all, who can find me when I can’t even see myself?