I Was Tagged

January 17, 2012

I was tagged on Facebook the day after arriving in Florida. But because I’ve been avoiding Facebook and emails since my arrival, I didn’t really look at this until recently.

The caption reads: “Young woman circumvents physical and migratory obstacles.”

Tagged

Let me test my translation skills. A better translation would read: “Young woman circumvents obscenely high objects (anything above four feet) and runs a marathon around the crazy legal sytem and its illogical, inhumane immigration laws, and, despite finding herself unable to reach the finish line, continues to run.”

The article below reads: “A hispanic minor dies… shot caused by her cousin.”

Shit! Tragedy. That’s how the news works. One story is about a construction worker saving three dozen kittens from a pipe near his home; the next is about how a three ton pipeline fell, crushing three construction workers and a kitten.

I honestly still haven’t read the article. From what I saw, they added a year to my age. And they know nothing about my mental disorder, so I know I seem more optimistic than I currently am. I skimmed the bit of article that shows in this photo just to block out the name, but otherwise I haven’t. I really should revel more in my accomplishments instead of beating myself up over what I haven’t done or what I cannot do because of my predicament and insecurities. Right, and no “should” statements. Here, I’ll practice what I’ve learned from therapy. It would be good if I reveled more in my accomplishments. There.

So here it is. My moment of revelry–siting in Eloise’s room by myself, sharing this semi-anonymously over the internet. I too have a dream! I too want ice cream!

MLK's Dreamsicle

Dreamsicle

One day, I too will have my dreamsicle! And dammit, it will be tasty!

Until then, I’m going to write. I’m going to write with the furry that’s in me. Also, I’m going to try to finish writing what I had started about Florida tomorrow morning. Eloise (damn I should give my girl a proper introduction before mentioning her so many times) is gone for the night. She’s out with her boyfriend (I’m not fond of him), so I feel free to write until she gets back. I think I have until tomorrow. Shhh.

Otherwise, I cannot write at ease. Every time I get close to being caught blogging, I feel a jolt of anxiety, as if I were shamed, as if I were being caught smoking crack. Whenever I’m on here and she passes by me, I always quickly close the tab the way Kanye West would close a flashing porn site every time his girlfriend passed by.

Two weeks ago she asked me if I had a blog. It went something like this:

“Paula, do you have a blog?”

I stare at her blankly for a moment.

“Yes I do,” I eventually reply.

Then, I say nothing else. I look away and stare at her cat who’s incidentally staring at me as if to say, “You can ses it! You can! You can has too! Yes. Yes! Come on you. Spek!”

And as we sit in awkward silence for a few seconds, I’m fully aware that she’s seeking more information, yet I withhold. She’s waiting for me to tell her about it, but since I’m not yet comfortable with my close friends or relatives reading it, I stall a little longer.

“So are we still going to go to the farmer’s market?” I quickly change the subject hoping she will get the hint. She’s good at getting hints and backs off. We move on. Whew.

I still feel like she knows more though. Why else would she have asked? Was it because I told her I wanted to start a blog? Was it because I’ve been spending half of my time here reading other people’s blogs?

I feel like maybe she’s sneaked into my blog while I’ve left the room and my computer is just lying there open pleading to her, or maybe she quietly opens it while I’m in the bathroom showering or having more trouble with the shitty toilet design. I don’t think she would. I’m not going to defame anyone I care about on here, I hope. Then why am I so hesitant?

While I ponder my avoidance, I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote that I try to live by:

Now you listen to me. While I will admit to a certain cynicism, the fact is I am a naysayer and hatchetman in the fight against violence. I pride myself on taking a punch and I’ll gladly take another because I choose to live my life in the company of Gandhi and King. My concerns are global. I reject absolutely pride, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. I love you Sheriff Truman.

— Albert Rosenfield to Sheriff Truman, Twin Peaks

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I was interviewed this morning by a correspondent of EFE international news.

It was awkward. Very awkward on my part at least, and as a result, my anxiety meter has just shot up to the ninth degree. My hands are trembling Michael J. Fox style. And my heart hurts when it palpitates.

I don’t like talking about myself. [ha!] Ok, I don’t like talking about myself under certain circumstances, like being in front of a microphone and a glaring lens.

Really though, I don’t. I don’t like to evoke sympathy. I’ve had to swallow enough of that in my childhood to stuff a herd of overgrown factory cows. No more. Sympathy can suck it. I don’t think I could say that any more concisely than the Dude: “I don’t need your fuckin’ sympathy, man, I need my fucking johnson!”

I do.

I have had many struggles–incapacitating physical and mental struggles–maybe even more than the average bear (and mouse). But you’ve had struggles too. I’m sure of that. That’s partly why I’m here, to share and read others’ struggles. And maybe we can mix our struggles into one giant ball of Play Doh, roll it down a grassy hill and then roll ourselves down that hill, mash it and laugh about it with a childlike glimmer in our eyes. And in the long run, isn’t all of humanity wedged in the same chaotic ball of energy, a floating ball of infinite energy swimming in an endless void? That in itself is a struggle.

So this reporter fella, J, sends me an email last Tuesday. (I think it was last Tuesday, I’m forgetting what days we’re on. Woke up from a nap earlier, was in a panic, thinking it was Monday already and that I’d missed my flight, which won’t be until Wednesday. This damn seasonal change wrecks havoc on my already fucked biorhythms)

Anyway, I get this email from correspondent J:

SOLICTUD PARA ENTREVISTA

Hola, estoy buscando a Paula –—-. Soy corresponsal con la Agencia de Noticias EFE y me han solicitado un reportaje sobre su caso. La duda que tengo es que no sé si es usted la misma Paula que salió en los medios hace pocas semanas.

In sum, the email is asking 1. If i’m the same Paula from that November Huffington Post article (which he provided a link to), and 2. If he could interview me about “my case”.

I’m in the Huffingon Post? How did this happen? I clicked the link, a terrible mistake. And I read it. An even worse mistake.

The article was from when I was talking to a reporter in a loud convention center in Dallas, TX. It was for a United We Dream event in regards to the DREAM Act. During a lunch break, she sat me down even though I was already sitting, and we talked over coffee. We had a great conversation. But I guess I was so sleep deprived that weekend that I just thought we were chatting it up and ignored the fact that she was scribbling in a little notepad.

The article. It was uh, it was… ok. I don’t believe any article/report can give accurate truth to a situation and it can’t give more than a superficial validation to the people in it. There’s no such thing as unbiased reporting. And her writing made me appear slightly mentally challenged, which I kinda am. But no one has to know right?

Here’s how the article ends:

“If I had legal papers, I would get help for my disability,” said Paula —–. “There needs to be a change in the ignorance over the situation of thousands of undocumented students, people should know the truth about this movement.”

I laughed a little. I mocked myself.

*in mocking robotic voice* “If I had legal papers…” “Oh.. if i had legal papers I be set. Disability.”

What kind of diction and syntax is that? I’ll tell you what kind. It’s the robotic kind because when intense anxiety hits, you become many things you’re usually not. I become a robot with sparking wires flying everywhere. Add coffee to that.

Another thing, it makes me seem demanding. But you know what, fuck it, maybe I should be demanding!

And then, there “needs to be a change in the ignorance over the situation”. I don’t speak like that. Do I? I remember saying something more profound or less stupid.

I know I’m being overly critical of myself. And I know the written and spoken language are not the same. That’s exactly why I don’t like interviews. I writeth better than I speaketh. Don’t know if I make much sense in either form though.

What was worse and more anxiety inducing was the comments/discussion section that followed the article. They were vicious! Re-fuckin-lentless. Very, very hateful stuff man. At least they didn’t have terrible grammar and all caps letters like most of their kind usually do.

So for my own psychological well being, I limited myself to reading three… ok four, which go as follows:

Comment #1:

“Weird twilight zone”? Because people want our laws enforced? What Bizzaro world do you live in? Look around, no country allows themselves to be overrun by illegal aliens.

Yes, this world of mankind is bizzaro kinda like that show. And I did run over and overrun a mean girl in middle school with my wheelchair while I turned alien green, but then again, I’d say it was more of a Hulk green. Either way, green was against school policy which was heavily enforced.

Comment #2:

There are 6 billion 700 million non US citizens on the planet, do you believe they all should be given a right to come to America and live? I say hell no! My wife is from Korea, she is now a US citizen, never has anyone from her family asked to have us sponsor any of them, we never even talked about it. The dream act is just another backdoor amnesty like the 14th amendment, which will some day be closed.

I just really feel for this fella’s wife. They “never talk about it,” which means it’s very likely they don’t ever talk about other family related issues. And the 14th Amendment gave former slaves the right to be seen as a whole person by the law (the law which did nothing to change how they were treated anyway) instead of three fifths of a person. Is he suggesting the U.S. revert to the Civil War era? And I wonder who the good sir thinks is worthy of being allowed to stay, to be allowed to be seen as five fifths of a person. Anchor baby this. *points below*

Comment #3:

“I’m sure most other 4 year olds are totally capable of going through the legal immigration process”

Illegal aliens have a good use for their children, as pawns.

I do admit, I’m a pawn. But I’m not much use to my parents. In fact, I feel like a burden right now. I guess they use my lovin’. I will stick with that for now. And I was indeed a four year old when I came here. However, I could not file paperwork then due to poor penmanship, and even if I could there was and and is no law in place to allow me to do so. My dad did apply, but all was in vain. And because I’m a stealthy pawn, I have been trying to get to that sweet queen for twenty-one of my sweet twenty-six years of pawn living.

Comment #4:

Education = The Immigrant Dream??? Perhaps, but only immigrants from India and Senegal and Korea and China. The notion that Latinos, as a people place, an emphasis on academic achievement is laughable.

Laughable? This guy was right about that. But what’s up with the multiple question marks? One will suffice man. I guess I’m also a failure in the education system because I’m not Indian, Senegalese or Korean like commentator #2’s wife. And my failure in education is why I’m currently unemployed, having graduated cum laud this past May–a B.A. in Media Production, two minors in English and art and another useless degree in sound engineering. The B.A. only took me seven years to arrive at. And I believe my failing pawny ass can also speak English.

This last dude’s comment went on and on about how Latinos have the highest dropout rate, how his tax dollars a being wasted on those worthless illegal dropouts (they’re probably Mexican so they must be illegals) and how he doesn’t get why people dare call him racist when he speaks this undeniable truth. I wonder if he’s ever thought about why these kids drop-out. Why I nearly dropped out.

At that point, I closed the browser window and backed away from the computer like if it were a set of explosives. I was the one at risk of exploding. So I took a breather. Mindfulness. Mindfulness. Remember your mindfulness skills.  People will have their opinions, and that’s ok. Not everyone will is willing to learn with an open mind and heart. Not everyone will get it, ever. And not all are spiteful and idiotic assholes.

Surprisingly, I was calm. But it was a numb calmness. Those calms are worrisome.

And… then today came along resurrecting the frustrations of the week, the anxiety, the twitching body, the sudden mental spasms, heated blood and electric current running through that blood.

Somehow I ended up saying yes to the interview request, and after a week of avoidance and cancelled appointments with reporter J, I found myself in my dad’s home office (I live with my parents), sitting in front of a mic and camera sharing my story. I thought this was going to be a written report like the first one. I nearly backed out when I found out it wasn’t. But the guy came all the way down here, so I felt obliged.

That’s how I put myself in the limelight again, naked, exposed. Exposure is good therapy for anxiety though, no? That’s what my therapist keeps insisting.

I fidgeted, my legs kicked, my hands spun a web, my heart raced almost as fast as my thoughts. So, it’s not even anonymous? They’re not gonna blur my face or cover it with a black square. They’re gonna give my real name? I’m not gonna get an autotuned voice!

I feel like such an exhibitionist now. But I make myself believe it’s for a good cause. It’s for awareness. It’s to be heard. My answers, however, were no better than the aforementioned Huffington Post bit.

“Are you ok?” reporter J said midway into the interview.

“Yes [lie]. I’m just tired. I haven’t slept much these past couple of days. The dogs woke me up the night before last.”

A few funny things kept happening though, and it lightened my mood a bit. My dad burst in from his morning jog carrying one of our two white Pomeranians on his shoulder; the other trotted behind. My dad is a dark, pot bellied, short man in his late 60’s. His round nose, bandana towel thingy hanging over his bald comb-over and the dog he hung on his back like a mink cloak was enough to distract me from the torture. I chuckled.

Then, after I had gained composure and was answering another set of the questions, the sound of peeing and a toilet flushing cut right through my voice. It was my groggy brother who’d just gotten out of bed down the hall.

Reporter J. stopped the camera and said, “We’re gonna have to do that part again.”

_______________________________________________

NOTE: I have a little sketch of me being filmed after the interview and my brother peering out his bedroom door. Maybe I’ll scan it and post tomorrow. Also, if you’re reading this and got this far, you’re awesome. Thanks for reading such a long, acidic rant and withstanding my sarcasm! Or you must be bored. I think I need to relax. I’ma go make myself a hot chocolate, watch The Walking Dead and cry myself to sleep because I can’t wait for the zombie apocalypse.