Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Why Would I Admit to Strangers that This Happened?

I've been sitting on my hands for about a year now, wanting to write but afraid to put myself out on the internet. Although I'm inspired by other writers like Jenny Lawson and Felicia Day (amongst many others), I actually used blogs like theirs as an excuse NOT to write for a while, telling myself that I could never be as funny or entertaining as they are. My anxiety told me that no one wants to read yet another blog, especially not one written by me. I convinced myself that if I started a blog I'd be persecuted by trolls and various and sundry internet bullies. I listened to those voices that tell me I'm worthless and meaningless and have nothing of value to share.

Then I started reading Furiously Happy. Early in the book Jenny talks about her tendency to lose consciousness in unusual places, and I thought, OMG THIS HAS HAPPENED TO ME. And Jenny would want me to share it.

So what better way to kick off my new blog than to tell a story about passing out naked in front of a room full of strangers.

First, it's worth noting that I love and support art and artists. I went to an arts magnet program in high school and hung out with all the artsy freaks. So I thought nothing of signing up to be an artists' model when I was in my early twenties. As a former dancer, I have no hangups about nudity or the fact that we all have bodies under our clothes. In other words, my job was showing up at university and community art classes to get naked in front of 20-30 visual artists. Most of the time, the instructions were straightforward. Stand in this pose on this white sheet in the floor. But occasionally,  I'd be assigned to a class with a more inventive instructor.

Such classes often involved elaborate sets and costumes. The models were asked to don togas and stand next to urns or wear enormous hats that cast strange shadows. And yes, I said models. I wasn't always the only naked person in the room.

On the day in question, I walked in to find the modeling platform covered in that green plastic turf that conjures up memories of mini golf. On the green landscape were placed plastic toy mountains, trees, and dozens of hard plastic dinosaurs. The other model and I were placed back to back, sitting on barstools draped in fabric. I was handed a serving dish full of plastic reptiles and asked to hold it on my lap.

That's right, people. I went all wobbly while holding a glass bowl full of rubber snakes. Insert Freudian interpretation here.

About halfway through the first session (there were usually two sessions with a break in between), I started thinking about all of the people staring at me and got scared that I would do something to ruin their drawings. I started to sweat, and my whole body went cold. I recognized this feeling. I'd been fainting since I was a little kid, any time I started worrying or obsessing over a scary thought. Or anytime I had to have a minimally invasive procedure like going to the optometrist or the gynecologist. Or, ya know, standing in line at the DMV.

I could feel the faint coming on, and I thought, "If I fall on this glass bowl I will sever my femoral artery and bleed out in front of all of these people and be really embarrassed." Because embarrassment is what you worry about when you're dead. I had the thought about the time I heard the contents of the bowl start to spill out onto the platform; my hands were no longer under my purview, nor was the rest of me. Everything went black.

I regained consciousness a few feet from the barstool and had been covered by a concerned onlooker but had not been moved. I was resting on at least three pointy dinosaurs, one of which was in a genuinely unfortunate place. Because everyone in the room assumed I was having a seizure (vasovagal syncope is often accompanied by flailing about and vocalizations), the teacher had called an ambulance. I was hauled off on a gurney wearing only my modeling coverup. Nothing like showing up at the hospital without yer drawers.

At the hospital, I had to explain to the nurses that no, I did not have epilepsy, and NO, I had not been sexually assaulted. I had just involuntarily fallen onto a spiky triceratops.

Anxiety FTW, every time.


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