Sunday, September 8, 2013

*The Quiet | Part II

Art (love it!) found here:
I’d always hated dresses. One simply can not conduct explorations of insects nor properly study sand particles when wearing a dress and white stockings, unless one finds the occasional beating and screaming at from one’s very southern grandmother desirable. Stockings felt scratchy, like a thousand itching flea bites. Make that a million. They made me constantly aware of where my awkward, skinny legs were at any given time, made me constantly worry about whether or not my underpants were showing, and made me feel extra sensitive and irritated if the wind were blowing. And those warm, Southern California Santa Ana winds were the worst, as I’d simultaneously have to hold my dress down at my knees and pull my static electric hair down toward my face in an attempt to keep others from noticing me and laughing. I’d imagine creating contraptions to hold the dress down—a giant rubber band or possibly custom-made Bungee Cords that would connect the bottom of the dress to my shoes.
Oh, those horrid shoes. I dreaded the toe-pinching black patent leather shoes that were merely good for slipping and sliding along the blacktop and falling on one’s face to the grand amusement of those lucky enough to be donning more appropriate attire, such as sneakers or the slightly acceptable Buster Browns. Nana would shine them up, straighten my dress at the shoulders, and exclaim, “Isn’t that adorable?!” I had no idea as to what “that” she was referring to. I surely had no desire to be considered “adorable” nor a “that.” Perhaps gluing rubber erasers to the bottom of the shoes would solve the issue, making me taller in the process.
Looking back, I see I was a pretty intelligent kid with innovative ideas (at least for that age), but the concept of reading, writing, and arithmetic on these particular types of days was far from the reaches of my ability, as unbeknownst to me and surrounding adults, the sensory receptors in my brain were malfunctioning. I’d find out many years later my amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for the fight or flight response, was defectively over-active. Selective mutism turned out to be the more appropriate term for why I was never able to get out the words “I want a carrot” to the barking Doberman across the schoolyard when Mr. Hoyt, so well intentioned, heroically attempted to cure me of what he saw as an extreme case of the quiet.

Excerpt from chapter five | Dear Mr. Fantasy | Everything’s Hunky Dory: A Memoir

Saturday, September 7, 2013

*The Quiet | Part I

“Just say it, as loud as you can to that big dog over there. Go on, say it! ‘I want a carrot! I want a carrot!’”
There I sat, stiffly and nervously upon an orange plastic chair that had been placed on a table top in the front of my first grade classroom. My sweaty little hands were tightly gripping both sides of the chair bottom as if the next step were spontaneous hydraulic ejection. Regardless of having no parachute in my possession, I had climbed up onto it at the request, or rather, demand, of my teacher, Mr. Hoyt. He said I was too shy.
 Tiny bursts of hushed laughter popped up like Whac-A-Mole about the classroom. The tiny hushed bursts might as well have been nuclear explosions. Devastating.
My throat ached. It felt as if it were closing, stuffed with a big ball of uncooked dough that was rising by the second. The buzzing of the fluorescent lights was extra loud, as all of the students stared at me in attempted silence, waiting to hear my since hidden monotone voice for the first time.
Nana had made me wear a dress that day—a navy blue dress, with white lacing along the bottom and tiny navy anchor design across the waist. Those anchors were the only things mildly acceptable about this horrid nautical themed torture arrangement. “Oh, you look darling,” she’d say, with that strange, southern accent and seemingly smashed vocal cord sound that only really tiny people seem to share.
At least ship anchors had a logical purpose that I could comprehend, so I’d stare at them, giving my mind an imagination workout and my eyes a perfect excuse to avoid uncomfortable contact with others. 

Excerpt from chapter five | Dear Mr. Fantasy | Everything’s Hunky Dory: A Memoir