Monday, September 26, 2011

A Weekend At Home

I was contemplating writing this entry around four o'clock in the morning, which, in the moment, seemed a rather convenient time to do it. Lest you should think I was in the mindset I usually seem to occupy while composing very early morning posts, let me assure you that I was not drunk earlier today--unless by "drunk" you mean delirious with the fatigue of Death.

I had a rather unexpected weekend, and in several ways.

After returning to school on Monday, September 19th, I realized that I'd forgotten the bag of clean clothes and towels that had been a large part of my reason for visiting home in the first place. Irritated, I resolved to double back to Mountain Town on Wednesday night, retrieve the clothes, and be on campus again by Thursday afternoon.

"Are you leaving, dude?" Patrick (my roommate) asked as I headed out the door.

"Yeah, man."

"Are you skipping class?"

"No, I don't have class on Thursdays. I'll be back tomorrow."

Little did I know.

I arrived home with a failing voice and a persistent cough on Wednesday afternoon and began a strange twilight weekend that was ushered in by my mother suggesting I see a doctor.

"BB, why don't you go into the clinic today?" she asked by phone on Thursday morning.

"I mean, I have a cold," I said. "Do I really need to go to the doctor for a cold?"

"Well, you never know," she responded. "It would be better to be safe than sorry."

I was a bit disoriented by this changing of our roles; usually I'm the one bringing up reasonable, legitimate concerns, and she's the one shooting them down as melodrama. What happened next confused me further.

"Well, going to the doctor would cost money and I kind of need to watch it right now," I said, figuring that closed everything.

"I'll just swing by and cover the co-pay," my mother said. "Get dressed and head down there before they get crowded."

I was thoroughly mystified by this point and couldn't think of any reason not to head into town, so I threw on some clothes and hopped into my car. If anything, I thought, the doctor could give me something to help the cough pass. And that is when I got my second big surprise.

"You have pneumonia," the smiling physician informed me.

"What?" I asked.

"Mmm-hmm," she tapped my bare back with a friendly chirp. "There's definitely something rattling around in your right lung. How long have you been feeling this way?"

"About a week," I answered.

"Yeah," she said. "This could be early pneumonia or even just bronchitis, but the only real difference between bronchitis and pneumonia is time and you've been letting it marinate, so..."

She prescribed me a steroid and antibiotic treatment (which my mother inexplicably offered to pay for) and sent me on my way. In that instant my plans for the weekend changed pretty abruptly. Sicker than I'd realized and evidently contagious, I faced the prospect of either returning to school in a diseased state or blowing off classes to stay at home where it was comfortable and warm.

I think you can guess which choice I made.

Stricken with pneumonia as the leaves turned red and the sky turned grey, I happily retreated into a soft cocoon of long sweatpants and billowing hoodies, velvety blankets and cushioning pillows for a five-day weekend of recuperation. Beautiful Cousin was home from her university (she moved into the dorms this Fall at the start of her Junior Year) and between the two of us and Thomas we went through plenty popcorn and other snacks.

The dogs seemed happy to see me as well.

The only downside to having pneumonia has been actually having to have pneumonia. Sleeping was and remains difficult, with the few hours of rest I've gotten over the last week or so coming from a bottle of Robitussin. The sickness seems to be waning, at least, and hopefully within a few days it will be gone. Either way, I was happy for the forced relaxation. It's the kind of thing I enjoy from time to time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why Running Track Sometimes Sucks

The other day I was running along the side of the road in the outfit shown above, wearing my hair in the ridiculously dorky segmented ponytail that is the only style I've found capable of preventing tangles during practice.

I was nearing the end of my four miles when a truck sidled up behind me.

The young man behind the wheel slowed and rolled down his window but instead of calling out simply followed at a leisurely pace.

I looked behind my back, perplexed. Could he have been lost? It was obvious from the driver's appearance that he was a student at my school and he didn't give any indication of not knowing where he was.

I was just about to stop and ask him if he needed directions when he leaned out the window, smiled, and whistled at me. I hadn't even fully processed my shock when he and his friend drove off, roaring with self-congratulatory laughter.

In the dark, they'd mistaken me for a woman.

My cheeks simmered with embarrassment and I silently thanked God that the rest of the team had been far enough ahead of me not to witness the little incident.

I guess I should look on the bright side, though; at the very least, this means I have great thighs.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

After a Decade

I hope that my readers will forgive me for not writing today of my September 11th memories. It may be lazy but I think that, in terms of my own experience that day, I've already said all that needs saying. If you'd like, you can read the detailed post on the subject I wrote in 2009.

What bears more reflection on this tenth anniversary, in my view, is not the event itself but the event's implications. It is in the legacy of September 11th that the day's true significance, and true tragedy, can be found.

The simple fact of the matter is that al-Qaeda won.

For all our rhetoric about the clash of fundamentalism and freedom, for all our vast might and our overawing displays of arms in two sandy wastelands across the ocean, the small terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden was ultimately able to get what it wanted: ten years after 9/11 U.S. power projection capabilities have been significantly diminished, the economic prosperity undergirding U.S. strength has foundered, and the dramatic slide of American politics to the far right has imperiled the Constitutional freedoms that the War on Terror was supposed to be protecting.

With three airplanes al Qaeda brought down a superpower.

Of course, September 11th in and of itself did not inflict this vast damage. Our reaction to it did.

September 11th gave George W. Bush, who on September 10th had approval ratings hovering just over 50%, the political will he needed initiate two disastrous wars, both mismanaged and one wholly unrelated the the terrorist attacks that "provoked" it. September 11th assured the president's narrow victory in 2004 and the ascendancy of ultra-conservative plutocrats whose program of radical deregulation led directly to economic collapse. An event of horrible violence perpetrated by evil men has since justified endless other events of horrible violence perpetrated by other evil men.

What is the real cost of September 11th? One must count, of course, the three thousand Americans who perished in the attacks. Add to that the seven thousand servicemembers who have subsequently died in combat. Add to that the number of Iraqi civilians, which some estimates place as high as one million, killed in the American occupation, and the millions more displaced. Add still the global economic crisis, the precipitous drop in GDP among the Western powers, the rise of fringe politicians like Sarah Palin and Rick Perry, the cavernous wealth gap, and the growing scourge of poverty that promises to perpetuate it all. Add, too, the millions of people my own age, alienated and underemployed and rapidly transforming into a lost generation. Add a United States in steep decline, vacating the stage to make room for the rising red star of China.

As inexorable as all these things now seem, we absolutely did not have to arrive at this point. In 2000, the last full year of Bill Clinton's presidency, GDP grew at a rate of 5%, unemployment was below 4%, and there was a federal budget surplus of $230 billion. When historians look back, they will likely identify the late Clinton years as the time when we were at the peak of our power. They will also, in retrospect, probably point to 9/11 as the moment it all began to unravel.

We did it to ourselves.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

So Much Emo

Here's the thing: I have good days and bad days. My life has always been like that. As a child, however, I was able to muster a huge degree of optimism because there were so many things I didn't understand. My comprehending many of the realities that formerly escaped me accounts for the spate of bad days I've had recently.

Still, I have to try. I can't just give up. And I'm sorry for being so damned Emo over the past couple of weeks. I guess it's all just hitting me at once, you know? I'm not going to go into the whole spiel about counting my blessings or seeing my own issues as small next to others' struggles, because that would be inauthentic; these problems are serious and this situation is awful. It sucks and there's nothing wrong with admitting that.

If I ever want to have anything, though, I have to push forward. I'm the only one who can actually make it happen.

Friday, September 9, 2011


It's time for another round of confessions:

  • I was once beautiful, and retain prettiness without retaining the white-hot gorgeousness of my peak.
  • I feel a strange kinship with Britney Spears. She, too, peaked early and high. She, too, shaved her head in a moment of madness. I was at least as desperate in October 2006 as she was in February 2007.
  • I shaved my head first, in case that needs to be clarified.
  • I am getting worse.
  • My paranoia increases with every day. I am so unstable.
  • I am drunk. This may seem to indicate inconstancy on my part, but in fact it indicates truth; were I sober, I would not be able to reveal the extent to which mental illness has devastated me.
  • A part of me retains logic, even as the rest of me slowly degrades. It is rather strange to know how irrational my moments of mania are even as I experience them. I'm gone.
  • I want to kill myself constantly.
  • I have gotten help. Does it help? No.
  • None of you know me. So I am free to die. You can't report me at all. BB is free to go crazy.
  • I have determined to live through this semester for some arbitrary reason that even I can barely identify anymore.
  • My former beauty is a constant torture. I was a god, a beacon of sexual triumph. Goodness, I was so gorgeous. How could I not have known? I was an icon and a giant. I was unsurpassed. The men who lusted for me were right to. How could I not have acted? I hate my younger self for his chastity. I hate him. I HATE him.
  • I am practically anorexic in my attempts to achieve that beauty once more.
  • The scale can entirely determine how I feel about myself. At 140 I'm a worthless pig. At 120 I'm a laudable object.
  • I am a worthless pig. Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me.
  • Why is food such a crutch? I'd rather walk crippled.
  • In retrospect, I was always going to arrive at this point. Mommy and Daddy and everyone made sure. They made sure. Those bastards.
  • It's all reaching critical mass. Can't you see?
  • I think about going to law school in terms of "if I live that long."
  • When I drink I forget and remember at the same time.
  • I'm the only one who can save myself. I'm still debating whether I want to.
  • I'll starve to be beautiful. Absolutely.
  • Sushi and a sandwich is enough for a day, right? It will be.
  • Mommy and Daddy are irrelevant but will always remain relevant. Why didn't they love me?
  • They did this. If I had my revenge it would be by beating them with bloody fists.
  • I'm not okay. I'm not okay. I'm not okay.
  • I have friends now, unlike before. Remember back in 2008? I wrote all those crazy poems. But I'm still loony now, even though I have friends.
  • This just goes back to the fact that, beyond a certain point, it was always going to happen.
  • Tomorrow is my junk-food day. I will eat so much, and feel so good, but at the same time I'll hate myself.
  • I went from 146lbs to 122lbs before and I can do it again. I don't care if I fucking die. Death is better than fatness.
  • I can't imagine 146lbs. I want to heckle that fat, 17-year-old BB, who even then was past his short-lived but incredible peak.
  • I hate myself for my weight. I want to punch myself.
  • Fuck Jeff. Fuck him. He rejected me like everyone else. What makes her so fucking special? Didn't I work my ass off for you? Fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • She's a stupid bitch.
  • She's better than me. Like everyone else.
  • I don't know what to do. I feel I've betrayed Jesus.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Selected Entries: March, 2004

In March of 2004 I was fifteen years old and painfully conscious of the sixteenth birthday that was only a month away. I dreaded growing up and the impending addition of another year to my age caused me palpable anxiety, as did my academics and the domestic abuse that I was only beginning to acknowledge in a realistic way.

During this month I continued my sparse reports on the Democratic primary race and reflected on, among other things, scenic walks through our old child nation, basketball games, and my history teacher's man boobs.

March 2, 2004

We have invaded yet another country! Haiti, this time. This all took place following a massive rebellion there, and only days after President Bush assured us that the United States would not get involved!

We had off of school today for the elections. Yesterday afternoon was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t resist going on a long walk. I crossed the old border from Andrea into Atricia--or, what used to be Andrea and Atricia. It's been months but everyone still uses the old names just for directional purposes. It's kind of weird. People say "Atricia" the same way they would say "Highway 5" or "the old farmhouse."

I walked through what used to be the Imperial Valley, then around the lake in what used to be Gorgan. I kept coming across forts and stuff that we built way back. It was eerie. Like walking through the ruins of an ancient civilization.

I got through Cristenia, then out of Novgorod, and by that point the former Aria was behind me. I was more than a mile from my house.

After crossing the old border that doesn't actually exist anymore, I mounted a gigantic hill. From the top of this hill, one can see our entire neighborhood, and many other neighborhoods, sprawled out for miles. The first time I climbed this hill I didn’t turn around once until I got to the top. It was quite a shock. You can’t see our house from up there, because a row of townhouses blocks it, but you can see Lacrosse Boy’s house and you can see Military Boy’s court (if that’s what you’d call it). It’s so weird to be up there!

March 3, 2004

Kerry won every state but Vermont by the way, which went to Howard Dean, even though he’s not in the race! Ironically enough, it was his first victory. I took a wonderfully long shower and had the most delightful game of pretend.

March 8, 2004

I saw Passion of the Christ yesterday. It was amazing. I’m going to pray.

March 9, 2004

Passion was one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever been through, despite the fact that none of it was spoken in English. I am without words. The film graphically detailed the sacrifices made by Jesus Christ.

March 11, 2004

My hair was so straight today! It’s usually quite curly and unruly but when I woke up this morning it was so sleek and shiny and perfectly straight that I wouldn’t’ve had to comb it at all if I hadn’t wanted to! School was good today.

Dad and I had a huge argument this evening, prompted by the trouble-brewing antics of the Crazy Fat Guy [a well-meaning but obnoxious neighbor]. I was very saddened by what my father said to me. Somehow, even though it happens at least once in a while, it never really stops hurting. It made me want to go to church more.

Although I do wish that my father really loved me, I don’t kid myself into thinking that that’s the main problem. What I’m more concerned about is being at the complete and total mercy of someone who doesn’t seem to like me very much. As a matter of fact, my father often seems to be saying something negative about me.

Although I try not to think about it too much, I am quite powerless. If my father deeply loved me, this would be a desirable situation, but it is not. My father loves me when it is convenient to do so. When I achieve or when I receive attention or publicity, my father loves me.

It’s when things don’t go right that my father begins to release and treat me with the respect he thinks I deserve, which, incidentally, is none at all. He says absolutely terrible things to me, and on a few occasions he’s become violent. I’ve never really been injured in one of these episodes, but it worries me all the same.

When he’s shoved me or picked me up, or thrown me or knocked me to the stairs, I know that he wants to do more. It frightens me so much sometimes, and on so many levels. He wants to hurt me, and one day he might. I wish that I had some control over my life. I have Jesus and God, and that’s a huge, gigantic, solid comfort, a stone pillar for me to lean on. God and Jesus’s love and protection will, I know, always be there. It helps.

March 15, 2004

I have now fallen from a 60% to a 58% in Algebra. I am very concerned. In Survey I am slowly making progress, and I no longer have cause to worry about that class. I’m staying after school on Thursday to get help with Algebra. Oh, God, I’m so worried. My sixteenth birthday is the week after next. I wish it wouldn’t come.

March 17, 2004

My academic troubles have started to pervade even into my dreams. I had a terrible dream last night that I failed a huge U.S. History test. I forgot to set my alarm last night, so I didn’t wake up until 6:31a.m. It was a huge rush after I was finally out of bed. A shower was out of the question. I sped through breakfast and raced upstairs, hastily getting ready. A search for my keys, however, caused me to miss the bus (my keys, by the way, had been in my pocket the whole time).

My father got about to taking me to school sometime around 8:25a.m. The recent anxiety that has overwhelmed me seemed all too obvious to him, and he mentioned it as we left the house. While driving to school, he played his Barry White CD. My father seems to have just discovered this artist, and so for the next few days Barry White’s soothing songs will resonate non-stop throughout our house.

March 21, 2004

I got a haircut this morning. It looked so horrible that I was screaming at my father for it. [My father had forced me to have it done.] Then I messed with it a bit and now it looks good. It’s like I had it before, except about two or three inches shorter and straighter. All in all, it looks great. If feels wrong, though.

The Globe Trotters was fun yesterday. We were in the first row. I got bored and started to doze off, though. I definitely can’t tell that to my grandparents! They surprised me at Aunt Crazy’s with a birthday cake. My birthday is coming up. It’s on April 10th. I can’t believe that I’m going to be sixteen in three weeks. In a way, it’s frightening.

March 22, 2004

I have undergone an interesting vocal change in the last few weeks. My upper register has exploded, and yet my lower register seems to have lost two or three notes. So I’m singing in baritone and all the way up through to alto. Perhaps Lent has something to do with this. But I’ve actually been singing far less. How does that work out?

March 26, 2004

U.S. History was so funny today. Christian Girl and I were trading food, as usual, and U.S. History Teacher was reprimanding us for it. Anyway, I was staring blankly at him when I experienced an epiphany of sudden realization: U.S. History Teacher has breasts!

When you really look, his nipples protrude quite noticeably. I told Christian Girl, and she stared intently at U.S. History Teacher, as if searching. Then her eyes widened and she covered her mouth giggling. That’s right, she’d found them.

Christian Girl told Cindy and Alex, and the four of us were laughing all mod. At lunch I told Dan, and in Spanish today I said to him, “U.S. History Teacher tiene mucho leche!” At first he was baffled, but then he said, “Oh, I know what that means!”

Christian Girl, Alex, Lindsey, and I all laughed. This week seemed to fly by incredibly quickly.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I guess everyone has some pretty black moments, moments where they need to purge. I'm sorry if my post last night unnerved anyone. My attitude is this: I come here to say what I can't say in real life. I needed to be that brutally honest somewhere. So I did it here.

Now that I've owned openly to that awful thing, I just want to grab some food, listen to some music, and drive to Mountain Town for a long weekend at home.

Admitting your worst weaknesses is a bit like vomiting: you want to explode with pain while you're doing it, but once it's over you're relieved.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Some Things You Should Know

Why the confession?

Because it makes me feel better?

I don't know.

Sometimes these days I feel like I've reached an end of some sort. But here's what's been weighing on my mind, aside all the joviality:

  • I was born with a devastating neurological condition. It left my social cognition unimpaired while gutting my logical comprehension, thus leaving me longing for companionship at the same time that my inability to understand basic concepts made me fodder for endless mocking.
  • I will never tell you what this condition is. I'm so ashamed.
  • My parents, rather than getting me the help I so desperately needed, criticized the manifestations of my symptoms as if they were some personal fault.
  • I can still remember being made fun of by the two people who were supposed to protect me because of a condition that I couldn't help. Mommy and Daddy have been my enemies for a long time.
  • I struggle constantly with feelings of worthlessness, due in large part to my parents' angry or demeaning reactions to my illness.
  • I have relied disproportionately on social relationships given that socializing is one of the few things at which I am naturally adept, one of the few things that my accursed developmental condition did not steal from me.
  • To this day, I will stand in front of a dirty room, stare at it for ten minutes straight, and not comprehend the first step I need to take to clean it.
  • My neurological condition accounts for many of my seeming shortcomings, but I will not publicly acknowledge it for fear of appearing handicapped. I'd rather have people think I'm an inconsiderate ingrate, which they surely do. They've told me so. It kills me, particularly when I try so hard. It makes my cry.
  • I am intelligent enough to mask my symptoms.
  • I run for the track team because I want to feel attractive. I want to feel attractive because I want to feel wanted. I never feel wanted. I expend an enormous amount of time and energy on something I will likely never have.
  • I had developed trauma-induced obsessive compulsive disorder by the time I was in my mid teens. My OCD can be directly attributed to the abuse I experienced as a child and adolescent.
  • I hate my parents for what they did.
  • I still have nightmares about my father's violence.
  • I still have nightmares about my mother's cruelty. It still makes me cry. I am crying now. I can't understand why someone who loved me could treat me so horribly.
  • I have never understood why I was made the way I was, why I was constructed as a piece unable to fit into the world's puzzle.
  • I feel tremendous anger at the fact that I was born with a brain that didn't function correctly. It's like I was shot in the leg at the start of life's race.
  • Sometimes, more often than I would care to admit, I want to fall asleep and never wake up.
  • I am confused much of the time. Basic tasks intimidate me in a way that others would find laughable.
  • Many people with my condition are never able to live independent lives. I would rather die than be one of them. Through uncommon intelligence I have done more than my early physicians ever thought would be possible.
  • One of my best friends offered to help me if I felt disoriented. I told her she would never know. I will never tell her. The first time I make an exception for myself, I'm admitting I'm disabled.
  • I hate it so much. I can't even say how much I hate it. It kills me every day. Sometimes I wonder if I did something in a past life to deserve this. It would have had to have been really bad.
  • Sometimes I start crying and can't stop. Like now.
  • I'm a little boy inside. I'm as hurt as I ever was.
  • I lost my virginity this summer and remain humiliated at how it happened.
  • Between my neurological condition, obsessive compulsive disorder, and warped self-image, I have been fighting all my days to lead a normal life. I don't want to anymore. I've been fighting for 23 years. I'm so tired.
  • I've debated telling my parents that they need to be okay with me dying young.
  • I believe in God. I ask Him why this happened to me. When I want to die, I ask Him to forgive me.
  • What did I do? Why?
  • I hate this so much. I'm an exceptionally gifted writer, and even I can't properly express how much I hate this.
  • It's unfair. I don't care if I'm complaining. I don't care if I'm weak. Damn it, it's not fair. What did I do?
  • A part of me secretly suspects that everyone who's ever hated me has been right. There have been so many.
  • Sometimes I drink as much as I can so that I'll forget.
  • It never works.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Took This Seriously

Earlier this evening, an RA came to mine and Patrick's dorm asking us to fill out roommate agreements in which we were to share some basic facts about ourselves and write down our preferences with regard to quiet hours and the like.

The forms were presented as a series of questions. This is how I answered:

Roommate: BrightenedBoy Our Family

I am from: Bombay, India

My mood most of the time is: Lustful

My biggest pet peeve is: Those who reject the tenets of Keynesian economics

My idea of relaxing after being tense is: Translating The Odyssey from ancient Greek

Something that will usually cheer me up is: Ritualistic chicken sacrifice to Apollo

I have the following dietary restrictions and/or allergies: No off-white eggs (white or brown only)/allergic to sunlight

I have shared a room before: Yes

I am 23 years old.

I plan to be involved in the following activities this year: Operatic singing (2-3a.m. only)

I have a job (Yes) and it will affect my time in the room by... I am a U.S. Air Marshall

I usually eat my meals: While crying and screaming, "No one will ever love me!"

If you would like to socialize with me, please... Tap me on my thigh and wink suggestively.

Something else I'd like you to know: I am a communist*

*This is a lie


TV/DVD Player: The View

Computer and related equipment: Mac*

*Also a lie

Appliances: Easy-Bake Oven!

Furniture: Water bed

Food: My emotional crutch

If you borrow something of mine: I will declare a blood feud

Anything else others should know: Do NOT touch my dildo


Sleeping: 1

Studying: 0

Socializing: 1 ∞*

*If I had friends

I expect to go to bed by: The side of a beautiful woman

I expect to get up most mornings by: Animalistic shrieks

My earliest class is: 7:20p.m.

This is how I prefer my sleeping environment: Dark as Patrick [who is Hispanic] and quiet

This is how I prefer my studying environment: N/A

This is how I prefer my socializing environment: Disco ball/pulsing beat

I generally feel this way about noise: Conflicted

Guests will be allowed (circle your preferences): Anytime

Guests of the opposite gender are (circle your preferences): Okay at certain times: SwingFest 2011

Guests may spend the night (circle your preferences): Anytime

I will let you know I have a concern by: Passive-aggressive refrigerator notes

If you have a concern, please let me know by: A thoughtful but entertaining song-and-dance routine

I do not like it when others communicate their concerns to me by doing this: Punching me in the face

I was a bit disappointed to discover that Patrick had given at least semi-serious responses for some of the questions (although he was kind enough to list "my roommate" as his biggest pet peeve and "people who sing" as something he doesn't like). I had hoped the resident advisers would think we were both complete idiots instead of just thinking that about me.