19 April 2011

we wear the mask

I'm going to be honest. I am writing to you in the middle of a homework meltdown.
Which obviously will bring no joy to your day. I apologize.
That whole euphoria I experienced yesterday in math is no more. I only know how to do half of it. Actually only 40%. Because my teacher did not teach us how to do the other part. He thinks not teaching it to us will "challenge" us to do it on the homework. You're dreamin' pal.
This took up part of the night. I also have to study for an anatomy test and I have literally not even skimmed the whole chapter. Tomorrow will be D-Day part one. Part two? The following day when we get to grade our tests.
I was only not reading because in order to do well on his tests you must overcommit yourself to anatomy and pretend none of your other classes exist. That's how you can boast an A on your test. But then books don't get read, history is not covered, math is just, well, you know. And it is so time consuming outside of class. Making tests, reviewing for hours and days and weeks - for just one A. And it's barely an A. Just a 92.
So I decided if I was going to read Gatsby, I needed to read it. Which meant anatomy was not read. And here we are, test day, unprepared. Perfection. The test is in less than 12 hours and I am literally going to fail. Completely 100%.

Tonight I went to swim practice but my shoulder is in an excruciating amount of pain - Tylenol is not working - and so I couldn't swim, I had to kick. My coach knows I had a problem before and that I went to a physical therapist once a week for 2 hours for 5 months. But I got a lecture instead about how I should be doing my exercises and such. I thought that since I can't even lift my arm, exercises wouldn't be in the realm of possibilities. It hurts just thinking about it. It hurts not thinking about it. It hurts when I breathe, move, wink, type, write, you know, everything one must do on a daily basis. And now the pain is radiating to my neck, my chest, my back - soon my toes will be hurting.
I know that to you this sounds like a ranting tirade that you would much rather ignore. But really it is a lesson. Paul Lawrence Dunbar, a Harlem Renaissance poet, wrote a poem called "We Wear the Mask". It's obviously symbolism for the fact that African Americans would put on a symbolic mask to hide their true feelings. The idea is that in the modern world, no one really cares about your feelings and we don't want people to be sad. For instance, "Hi, how are you" really does not mean "Hi, how are you." It means something more like "I'm acknowledging your presence and after this moment I really don't want to talk to you." Something like that.
But we have to let out our feelings sometimes. We can't always wear the mask; we have to clean our faces of the feelings we are hiding behind the mask.

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