Parties here are unrestrained, almost Hobbesian. We all are hard working students by day, but at night the mask comes off, and everyone wants to get some. All you have to do is tap someone on the shoulder to see the sex rise from them like fumes. Two nights ago people were vomiting into all the sinks and breaking glass everywhere. Creepier still was the girl with pig tails wandering around with green x’s taped to her nipples. I remember her because her eyes had a certain plasticity to them as she wandered from room to room like a somnambulist. On nights like these, no one is sleeping. Someone is always getting fucked up somewhere. Or fucked. When the rules are no longer in place, all decorum dissolves, which is particularly troubling for what is supposed to be an enlightened campus. Saturday night I had to save a girl from sexual harassment. When I wheeled her away from the boy in question, she thanked me. I headed back to the party room, and on a sudden the same guy took me up into his arms for some awkward dancing. I had to edge away. This was the same guy who left my best friend collapsed in a bathroom in a pile of her own vomit when they were supposed to be having a date. He found me later in the upstairs part of the dorm. I asked him, What do you want? He said, You know what I want. And his white arms encircled me, his soft angel hair nuzzling, his musky ape-scent invading (and probably still caught within) my nostrils. And I can’t explain what in that moment I felt when he kissed me, I can only approximate it as something between complete mental revulsion and awakened bodily desire. And I know that this is what abusers do: they use their sex to wreak havoc. The kiss was not romantic at all. It was an act of revenge for helping the girl escape. He probably wanted me to keep thinking about him, and he probably wanted to plant the illusion that he could be an option. When he was kissing me against my will, four bystanders clutched their beers and said nothing.
On this campus everyone is to be treated as a sexual plaything. No one is really himself in the eyes of others, only the fruition of a fantasy. I understand what the lonely young man must feel. All the dancing women look like spinning clothing racks of spurned wishes, and he cannot refuse the temptation to touch. Every time the weekend comes around, I always think of the creepers in the corner beckoning the girls to come dance on them, or they wait to zero in on whoever’s still left at the end of the night, so that they can drink the last of their dregs.
Time management is something that I’ve been having trouble with as of late. School terms are very short, merely fourteen weeks, and there is always a plethora, an abundance, of books to read and notes to learn. I want to say that these last two weeks have been complete emotional vertigo. My poems were published on Lambda Literary just a few days ago, but I’m still feeling as though I’m some kind of impostor who cannot write–who only gets lucky. This all has to do with the anxiety I have towards showing my creative work in class. The possibility of someone doubting me fills me with doubt, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I feel a nervous fire running through my bones, or something more akin to electricity. My thoughts are muddled, ideas are insipid and slow. When I want to create something I only have to clear my mind enough that the associations seep in, and the poem almost writes itself. Self-hypnosis videos for stage fright have been helping with this. Regardless, it seems that no matter how hard I work, I can’t express exactly what it is that I’m trying to say, until the very last moment: the night before. I can’t do this anymore, and I haven’t yet figured out a way to work that fully takes advantage of my time.
Lately I’ve been thinking about Bill Moyer’s interview with Joseph Campbell. The interview is primarily concerned with the archetype of The Hero. Campbell says that the Hero accepts a challenge that he is big enough to face. We are all the heroes of our own stories, and I feel this idea of facing up to a challenge is very pertinent to my school situation. Choosing to go to school at Bennington has forced me to call upon Internal resources I didn’t know I had. I have had many accomplishments, yet the last stretch will require me to push even harder: whatever accomplishments I have yet to achieve won’t fall into my lap.
Two week periods of total anxiety and turmoil, then two weeks of strength and concentration. This has been a consistent cycle for me my entire time here. I’m having an upswing now, so I’m going to take advantage of everything that I can glean from it. Seasons have also been having an effect on my mood. I’m growing impatient with Winter. It had rained warm rain for a few days, but now it’s snowy and cold. We are back where we started, and I feel trapped in Earth’s outer designs.
Last thing: I found a really cool blue sweater, with a beautiful design of chickadees in a playground. I’ve been wearing it consistently as a reminder of Spring. I’m also hoping to hatch the new poem.
I am feeling an intense need to return to the diary again in a fraught attempt to retrain the senses. I wish to regain my life, my own thoughts, since I am always the person those in need of help continually return to so they can unload their burdens. Taking on so much of others’ burdens deadens the sensibilities, my own sense of myself as a person, which is continually transformed through the characteristics of others by that dangerous two way street named Empathy. Intense empathy is both a gift and a curse. I have insight, but no one can listen like me.
I have been taking a class that is partly on Don Quijote. It has been said that one doesn’t read Don Quijote. Don Quijote is actually reading you. I see so much of his journey in mine, principally, the quest for recognition and fame, which is universal. But I also find similarities in other ways, too. In class we were given an artistic depiction of DQ. This image consists of a pile of books that take the shape of the knight-errant. What the artist intends to get across is the fact that Don Quijote’s sense of personhood is constructed entirely from the chivalric novels he reads. I wish to link this idea to the empathic person, because I think that for the empath the people that hover around him are floating texts to be read continuously. I am partly constructed from others’ doubts, faults, strengths, worries. To a certain extent, everyone is. But I frighten myself sometimes by how easy it is for me to simply mirror other people. And I can never say no to any of them, for fear of being alone. It produces within me what I think is a lack of selfhood. I don’t know what is my own, or what has been absorbed from others. And how frail is my unconscious? Think of it this way: One bad seed from another yard can spoil my entire garden. No matter how well you hide the bad seed, no matter how deep in the dark closet you keep the dead plant, I can always sense what has been decaying beneath the visible surface. The truth is always-already-eventually fished out.
A new predicament: binge eating. I hate waking up with the taste of last night’s food hovering on the rim of my throat. When I open my mouth, I release a diaphragmatic miasma. I can feel the food tumbling about as though it were bathing in lava, which produces an uncomfortable feeling. On the outside, I am bothered by, and can see, the roundness, a visible manifestation of the ensuing bolus, as though my stomach were indeed a hand made heavy with the weight of bowling balls. It sickens me.