Not too great a day today. I felt two strong emotions, which was kind of nice because it brought me out of a rut, a little bit, but not really, because those emotions were anger and disappointment.
First, the anger. Webster Hall locks the laundry rooms after 11:00pm. If your clothes are in there, they say, get them out tomorrow morning. Never mind that a night of wet clothes wadded up in a washing machine is very bad. Anyway, it took a lot of hassle and persuasion of Rusty (the name of our security guard, we think) to get the door open. That still left me with wet clothes. So I put them all around the apartment on the floor to dry out. Sigh. It made me really mad; madder than I should have been. Bureaucracy, etc. I’ll complain and stuff, but really, it just made me mad- because why the hell should they lock our laundry room?
Next, and this is the biggie, the disappointment. I tried to give blood today. This was going to be a big deal- today would be the day that I conquered my fear of needles! Turns out that before you give the blood, you have to get a finger-prick blood test. Turns out that that test involves squeezing a few drops of blood out of this miniscule prick. Turns out I just can’t conceptually handle that.
I hyperventilated a little, got lightheaded, and they took me in the wheelchair over to the rest bed. I was a bit of a wreck. I was expecting a shot: like they say, you feel a little pinch in the arm, then you sit there for 10 minutes and you’re done! Easily done, I save a few lives, and I prove that I can do anything. But the finger-prick test is worse. Squeezing blood out of a pin-hole- I mean, I’m getting queasy as I write this. I remember getting a little weak in the limbs while sitting on the rest table, I remember asking for water (and getting a Sprite; bad call, Red Cross, that’ll dehydrate you!), but mostly I remember crying.
I haven’t cried for a while. Three months? Shit! It was probably for something just as minor that time too. And cliche cliche trite trite, but it felt a little bit good. Here’s how my thoughts went: I blew it. I’m not going to be able to give blood now. … damn. I can’t just get this over with. Moreover, though: I am not the amazing dude that I thought I was. I can’t just waltz in and demolish a phobia, I guess. I looked at myself, right into my deepest fears, confronted them…
This is not the story of the guy who takes swimming lessons to get over his fear of the water. This is not the girl who is terrified of fire until she has to rescue her baby brother, and she brings him out of the burning building into her parents' eternally grateful arms. This isn’t even the guy who finally works up the courage to ask out that cute girl he has a crush on. And that’s the thing: I thought I was that guy… evidently not. That was the most crushing part- I have these fears, and I’m not the hero. I cried for a bit.
Fuck all, I wanted to be a lot more eloquent here. Suffice it to say that I felt really despairing around 5:35 today. It felt a little good, and I wanted to just wallow in some self pity. Then, later on, I decided, what’s the point of that? At least I tried, and I’ll just try again next Bloodmobile. The Strong Man wouldn’t take no for an answer; moreover, to wallow in self pity is self-indulgent and obnoxious. Don’t be that guy who everyone has to feel sorry for.
And that’s how I feel now. Which one is the real me, though? Am I the Strong Man, and that was just a bout of insanity brought on by a psychosomatic fear over which I have no control? Am I the brooding Feeling Man who cannot face his fears, but who can face the fact that he cannot face his fears? (you’ll notice I’ve avoided the term “emo” here- that has negative connotations. It’s not “emo” I’m talking about here, but just the kind of person that everyone loves for being lower status)
So I’m wondering who I am. I think, ultimately, I’m not the tough guy type who is a “winner” in all senses of the word, I’m not the guy who takes some bad beats and whom everyone pities; I’m the guy who can see both sides of me and understand them, I guess. I’m not skillful enough and I’m too self-analyzing to be the tough guy- I can’t win at everything, and I admit that. And I’m too successful to be the lovable loser; in a lot of ways (like trying to give blood), I’m a pretty sweet dude! … ultimately, I guess the “middle path” that I’m trying to walk is the ideal. Go Buddhists, go Greeks.
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