On Saturday February 5th, 2010, I woke up in a foul mood. This is unusual for me. I suffer from the mean reds, yes, and I suffer from the blues too, but this felt like there was a puddle of darkness swarming in my chest. When my mother came into my room, I yelled at her. We were supposed to go into town together but I couldn’t face it. I just wanted to stay in bed and wait for this internal storm to pass.
I shouldn’t have felt this way. I had been in hiding for over a week, ever since I had had my bottom wisdom teeth removed. It had been a traumatic experience. The teeth in question were fully grown, and the first had to be smashed in order to be removed. During half-time, I started feeling tingly and anxious. I put a hand up to my face and I realised that, though I could tell how swollen I was, I couldn’t feel anything. I prodded my skin but the touch was muffled. My heartbeat quickened. A panic attack was simmering.
There was nothing I could do. I was scared that my dentists would chalk up my alarm to hysteria and so I said nothing. I just closed my eyes and concentrated on breathing while they removed the second tooth. As soon as they were done, I wanted to get the hell out of there but I had to wait for my father. I was told to calm down and sit down. Have you ever had to suppress a panic attack for over an hour? It’s excruciating. Somehow, I held it in until we got home (a walk and a metro ride and a car trip later).
At home, I finally let go. I screamed. A lot. My mother found me sobbing on the bathroom tiles. I kept saying, I can’t feel anything. I’m not real. It took her twenty minutes to calm me down. Eventually I settled in front of the television and ate a lot of expensive ice-cream. By the next morning, I had swelled up so badly I refused to look at myself in the mirror. The pain meant I couldn’t sleep at night and I hated being awake/bored during the day.
It was an awful week. So, on that Saturday morning, the first day I looked normal again, I should have been more excited. Instead, getting out of bed was an arduous task. But I had a party to go to, a party that required a costume. I didn’t have a choice. Last minute, I threw on some clothes and went out.
For some random reason, I had decided that I wanted to dress up as a sheep. All I had to do was attach cotton wool to a leotard and don a pair of black leggings and there would be a grumpy lamb at that party. I found a leotard pretty quickly so I grabbed it and went to the till. They couldn’t find the barcode. While we were waiting, my mother ran into a friend of hers and they wandered to a nearby cafe to catch up. I kept waiting. I was sent to another till. They still couldn’t find the barcode. I called my mother to complain and she suggested I abandon the leotard and join her for coffee. I refused. I remember thinking, I need to stop expecting The Universe to hand me things. If we need to make our own destinies, this shall be one of the steps. I am going to fight for this leotard. Twenty minutes later, I walked out with a shopping bag.
On the way home, I turned to my mother and said, I don’t know why, but I really don’t want to go to this party tonight.
She told me what anyone would say: Then don’t go.
I had to go though. The hostess was my friend, Luna, a girl with whom I was supposed to go to Australia with until I was forced to drop out last minute. I couldn’t let her down again.
While I was getting ready, my friend Sixty called me up. He needed to swing by and pick up some cables. I looked at myself in the mirror. I felt fat. I was going to look like a goddamn mutton. I decided to search for another costume. Sixty came, took the speakers and left. I sat on the floor and looked at the minute for a couple of minutes. Then I chased after him. Screw it, I thought. Skinny or fat, there was going to be a sheep at this party. And it was going to drink itself into a good mood.