Emoblog/2015/06/05/Camelot Academy reactions

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I actually wanted to write last week about Zander's graduation (the morning of May 30), but I was stymied for awhile working out where to put it and then getting everything set up. Enough time has now elapsed that the urgency has kind of evaporated... but I think it's still important. I need to process it.

Two things that need to be explained simultaneously: A. It's not that anything in particular happened, but B. I was basically a complete wreck for the rest of that day.

Fork A

Camelot Academy graduation ceremonies[1] consist of sitting in the Carolina Theatre for about 3 hours straight while watching awards and speeches (including "parent wishes" written by each senior's parents, plus a speech from each senior – these are often quite personal) intermixed with a reasonably-humorous skit in three parts, satirizing each senior's mannerisms...

...and then, because Z was graduating this year, there was the Senior Reception afterwards[2]. That was the worst.

Again, there wasn't anything in particular... it was just all of these mostly rather formally-dressed people (parents and other relatives) – I don't dress formally, regardless of the occasion[3] – standing around (there were relatively few chairs, and lots of standing-tables for eating) eating mediocre catered food and sometimes talking with each other...

After awhile, I got tired of standing around not talking to anyone, and sat down cross-legged against a wall. (All the chairs were taken.)

Honestly, I have a really hard time imagining myself having a meaningful conversation with almost anyone else my age. (I see that I have already ranted about this a bit[1].) I don't like to assume, but the evidence would seem to indicate that their lives have simply been much more normal and manageable than mine.

They wanted kids.[4] They have decent jobs, and careers. They don't have any problem with making phone calls. Attempting to plan than one or two appointments in a week – even if kids are involved! – is, amazingly, not a hellish nightmare for them. (Imagine.) They know who they are, and they look like who they are – or at least close enough to get by.

On top of that, there's the fact that I don't do small talk (except satirically). I don't really fake it very well, and I'm not really interested in it anyway. Why talk about irrelevant things when you could talk about relevant things? Things that are relevant to me[5] have very little overlap with what other people apparently like to talk about. I find the question "so, what have you been up to lately?" almost impossible to answer without twenty minutes of exposition (preferably in writing, so I don't get lost).

Fork B

After we got home, I was a bit surprised to find myself in a very unpleasant headspace. It felt like I wanted to simultaneously cry and scream (both of which I did, albeit sequentially, into a pillow so as not to alarm anyone) and also do nothing, forever. I absolutely wanted to just Not Be There. I couldn't imagine anything ever being enjoyable ever again.

Fortunately I have a lot of experience in dealing with moods like that, and firmly admonished myself that it wouldn't go on indefinitely – probably would be significantly reduced by morning, in fact – and that the important thing was to just get through it. Let time pass.

So I just kind of ploughed on through the next few hours, alternately pacing restlessly around and collapsing in various places until I finally started to feel an inkling of rage (which is a vast improvement over yawning desolate emptiness), and encouraged it by arguing with wingnuts on unmonitored G+ posts (those by Bernie Sanders, Breaking News and RT are generally excellent sources of idiotic comments, and I highly recommend them), until I slowly started to feel better.

At some point during that slow return to baseline, I suddenly remembered about the time my high school had gone out to a roller-disco rink – I'd managed to slip away from the crowds and stay behind at the school the first time they did it, but they were watching more closely the second time and made me go -- and ended up quietly freaking out in a back corner behind a row of lockers, crying uncontrollably. (I've written this story up in more detail here.)

It was something to do with the loud boomy music[6] and the people all happily interacting with each other in ways I couldn't really comprehend while basically ignoring me. Dysphoria probably played a role too, though it might have been just adding to the general feeling of "I suck". I'm not really sure. It came as a complete surprise to me, even; I knew I didn't like such outings, but I hadn't expected to have such an intense and uncontrollable reaction. I remember Jenny found me there, and I couldn't explain it to her either.

...and when I remembered that, I also remembered at the Senior Reception how Zander was having fun with his friends, and I wanted to be interacting with them too because they were all kind and smart and funny – much more my kind of person than the parents – but I also didn't want to be the awkward Parental Unit trying to hang out with the kids, and I also knew that they didn't really know the first thing about me.

It's almost like they were famous, and I was just another fan – I know a fair amount about them, from watching them interact with each other at pick-up time and from what Zander has said about them and from various other sources, now including their senior speeches and "parent wishes", but they know almost nothing about me. Many of them are apparently still under the illusion that I'm Zander's father...

...which is so wrong in so many ways, and pushes so many buttons, and is an a misunderstanding that is so impossible to correct in a polite social setting except in the very most surface ways (which usually results in "oh, he's your step father" – which pushes pretty much all the same buttons)... and yet it's completely understandable, I can hardly blame them for making that assumption, and I'm certainly not angry at them...

...but when those buttons get pushed, anger/rage/despair is dispensed, and all that has to go somewhere, and that's what happens.

(I probably had some other things to say about this, but I think that'll do for now. I can always link back to this post as a reference.)

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 See this post for more background on what Camelot social events tend to do to me.
  2. ...in the "Connie Moses Ballroom". My mom was friends with Connie Moses, we live next door to the house where her husband (Monte) lived after she died, I almost lived next door to their daughter Kitty (long story), and we have a song by Kitty's post-high-school band, The X-Teens, on the media player in the car. Durham is a small town in some ways.
  3. Formal male attire feels very wrong – which is obviously the gender dysphoria at work, but I also find female formal attire unappealing as well. So even if I decided to be a rebel and dress gender-appropriately, there simply isn't any genre of formal fashion that works. ...and when other people dress formally, I tend to feel less comfortable around them. I wore jeans and a hoodie to Jenny's memorial service. That's what I mean by "I don't".
  4. another background topic I need to post on, I guess.
  5. which include, off the top of my head: creating music, computer projects, fighting against propaganda, maintaining friendships, emotional untangling, and gender psychology (for lack of a better term)... on further reflection, I think my interests can generally be summarized as "increasing the beauty-to-bullshit ratio wherever possible".
  6. Irony: the rink was near the edge of an abandoned housing development where Jenny and I had gone to walk and talk about things on several occasions (she called it "Egypt" because of all the bare dirt) – and we had heard the rink thumping from afar, and found it obnoxious even at that distance. It was sort of adding insult to injury that we were later required to actually go inside and tolerate it at close range. The building is now a social service office of some kind. Hooray, progress!