Touch the last word in this sentence to keep going.(mouseover-append: "going.")[ This is about the painful memories that never go away.](mouseover-append: "away.")[ This is about me trying to figure out who I am.](mouseover-append: "am.")[ THE FIRST THING THAT COMES TO MIND[[ IS...|3rdgradecry]]]
i was in third grade. i was in class.(mouseover-append: "class.")[ We were taken in groups into this fake space shuttle cockpit. My niave, daydreaming mind thought it would be a real one. I walked into class to find some plastic tubes in the shape of a shuttle cockpit with a white plastic sheet draped over them.](mouseover-append: "them.")[ my dream of being an astronaut started to crumble.](mouseover-append: "crumble.")[ We were in there doing science experiments. Mostly just busy work to make the time pass and make this whole effort seem worth whatever it cost to make.](mouseover-append: "make.")[ The teacher was outside. Normally strict and vigilant, but she wanted to maintain the illusion that we were in space communicating with ground control.](mouseover-append: "control.")[ Ground control was a bitch.](mouseover-append: "bitch.")[ We had been working on some worksheet or math problem or something, and I was lagging behind everyone else. They didn't notice and started to grab everything and put it away.](mouseover-append: "away.")[ I think they were motivated by some competition that would give a prize to the team that solved everything the fastest.](mouseover-append: "fastest.")[ I got angry, frustrated, desperate, hurt, panicked, ashamed.](mouseover-append: "ashamed.")[ my parents always told me i was smart. why was i struggling with this.](mouseover-append: "this.")[ I told them to put it back. I wasn't done. I needed more time.](mouseover-append: "time.")[ One of them laughed. said something mean. I don't remember what it was.](mouseover-append: "was.")[ I started to cry. I thought they were my friends. why were they laughing.](mouseover-append: "laughing.")[ I was making a scene. they didn't know what to do.](mouseover-append: "do.")[ Ground control emailed us, yelled at us. can't remember.](mouseover-append: "remember.")[ we checked the email. they told her what was going on.](mouseover-append: "on.")[ we stood there, waiting for our orders.](mouseover-append: "orders.")[ Ground control was mad. This was her big day and I was fucking it all up.](mouseover-append: "up.")[ she replied in all caps. i don't remember exactly what it said, but i'll give my best guess.]
(mouseover-append: "guess.")[<mark>STOP CRYING! ASTRONAUTS DON'T CRY!!! DON'T YOU WANT TO WIN THE ASTROANUT AWARD</mark>]
(mouseover-append: "AWARD")[ <p>i couldn't hold back the tears. i wanted my mom. i wanted to go home.</p>](mouseover-append: "home.")[ <p>why was she so angry. why is everyone mad at me.</p>](mouseover-append: "at me.")[ <p>i hope they let me go home. i hate it here.</p>](mouseover-append: "here.")[ AND [[THEN|whatthefuck]]]
<p>i don't remember how old i was. 12. 13. young enough to think i needed my dad's approval to be happy. our cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents were at our house. we rarely hosted parties, but this one felt special. maybe it was the gold, pink, purple sunset. maybe it was a birthday party. I don't remember. i had excess energy. i was excited. did my mom tell me to run around in the neighborhood park? i don't remember. somehow, i got out there and ran. my parents were watching. i wanted to impress them. i wanted to look strong. i wanted to show my dad i wasn't weak. i got tired. i walked back to the house and hopped over the fence. out of breath. walking toward the door that led back inside where my family was.</p>
MOM: wow, you were running so fast! good job.
She prodded my dad to join in. or maybe he felt the need to add something.
DAD: He runs like a girl.
my mom didn't like that. he laughed, louder and louder. it hurt. No, don't cry. don't let him see you crying. maybe you were running like a girl. you shouldn't have gone running. no, it's okay. just shut up and go back inside. you're crying. it's okay. they're gonna see you and want to know what's wrong. just get out of here. go to the bathroom. you can hide in there for a while. it's fine. you're not a girl. you did run fast. it's okay...you are a girl. he's right. you're weak. you're stupid. why did you do that. JUST [[GO|getoffme]]</p>
<p>i think i was 21. 22. i don't know. avoiding the risk of failure for my entire life had given me few opportunities to talk to the women i liked or maintain any sort of healthy relationship with them.
but i was getting desperate. i was in my 20s and already worried about dying alone. i didn't have many friends, and was too scared to express myself to the ones i did have.
you're weird. you're never going to find anyone because you scare people away. you come on too strong or you just do weird shit and then they're gone. just kill yourself. fuck this shit. this is stupid. you're stupid.
my desperate attempt to find someone who loved me led me to a woman equally desperate for it. we met online. we quickly met in person.
the whole story isn't worth telling, but it eventually led to us getting naked and trying to have sex on the carpet floor of her room. i guess we stayed off the mattress because her mom was home and we didn't want to draw attention.
the mattress was on the floor. her idea of organizing clothes was to put them all in a big pile near her closet and pick them out as needed. but who am i to judge. my room was a mess, too, and the generosity of my parents was the only reason i had a decent bed.
so we tried to have sex. i was already worried it would be a disaster before it started. i didn't respect her. i didn't love her. she didn't love me. we just enjoyed those brief moments when we kissed or touched each other. those moments were shallow and fleeting, but when you're in the moment, you don't care who you are or what you're doing. for a brief moment, you're just happy. stimulated. together. free. I wanted more of that.
so we tried to make it work. it went on for a while. i don't know how long it was, but i was struggling to finish, and she could tell that, and it made her wonder whether it was her fault.
it wasn't, but i get why she'd think it was. nobody wants to have those thoughts when they're having sex with someone else.
HER: Get off me!
oh, okay. i guess we're done then. she pushed me off. i stumbled away, defeated and exhausted.
now it was awkward. i think i ripped the condom off, stuck it somewhere where it wouldn't make a mess, and went to the bathroom across the hall. i guess i got dressed first. i don't know.
i don't know why i couldn't cum. maybe it's all the porn you watch. i don't watch that much. not much of the weird stuff, at least.
maybe you're gay. maybe you're a faggot. I'm not gay. i do like women. i like looking at them and thinking about them.
then why didn't you cum
i don't know. i don't know what's wrong with me.
just get out of here. don't talk to her anymore. just go home. you're safe at home. nobody can hurt you when you're at home. this was a stupid idea anyway.
you were in 8th grade. i don't remember how it started, but somehow your mom took you to see a psychiatrist. maybe she thought you weren't happy. maybe i seemed too shy. maybe she saw something i couldn't see.
The psychiatrist was easier to get along with than expected. I was shy at first, but slowly started to open up and tell jokes. not take things so seriously.
she had trouble figuring out what was wrong with me, too. took her a while. eventually, she settled on bipolar disorder. mixed bipolar disorder? atypical bipolar? i don't remember the exact words. I guess it's a term they use for cases that don't fit a certain set of conditions. the abnormal ones. the gray area.
we tried a lot of different meds. some made me vomit. one made my vision blurry. lithium sent me to the hopsital because i got dehydrated during a bad manic episode. that was a bad time, but it's all a blur now.
Finally, we found mood stabilizers. Topomax and Trilpetal--the generic versions of them. i took them, and they worked. my manic episodes weren't as severe. my depression wasn't as bad. everything was leveled out, like a stormy ocean slowly settling back to tranquil water.
tranquil is a good for it. they're like tranquilizers for your emotions, your mind, your thoughts, your creativity, your passion. it's a blessing and a curse.
for years, i went along with it. my parents liked it. i was more stable. I struggled with anything that demanded my focus and creativity, but i got by and tried to not think about what life might be like if I'd chosen differently.
then senior year of college hit. those annoyingly enthusiastic guides at my college orientation years ago were right. It did go by like that. faster than i thought it would. i'd had a lot of chances to make friends, reach out, get experience, grow. But when i was given the choice of taking a risk or playing it safe, anxiety would almost always win.
nope. too stressful. remember what happened last time you tried that? it's not worth it. they don't even like you anyway. they just keep you around out of pity.
they're stupid anyway. they don't care about what i do or who i am. the only person you can count on is yourself. just go home. it will be okay. you can deal with it once you get home. get out of here. just go, go. keep walking. keep walking. it doesn't matter. it's not worth it. just keep walking.
[[CUT FOR TIME|end]]
<img src="http://i63.tinypic.com/rh297l.jpg" alt="nope">
NO! I may be a lousy programmer, but I'm going to finish this story!
[[HERE! GO THIS WAY!|runslikeagirl]]
I need to post this for the game jam now. I meant to write more, but I got sidetracked by bugs and my constantly growing sleep loss. If you're still reading this and not stewing in angry juices, feel free to check out my Twitter or website.
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
― C.G. Jung