It’s finals week. For me, that means, for the first time since August, I don’t have to get up before 10 to make an 8:45 class. (Why are intro language so early in the morning at Bryn Mawr it sucks!) This is a good thing, because I have managed to become completely nocturnal. Actually, it probably happened several weeks ago, but I was too sleep-deprived to notice. I now know why my school’s mascot is an owl: all the students have such crazy schedules that we stay up all night and sleep during the day! Usually during a Calculus lecture. I was studying for my Calc final yesterday (today is still technically Tuesday, I haven’t gone to bed yet), about an hour before I took the exam, and there are some really strange passages in my notes. That’s not even counting the page I drooled on. Yeah, I fell asleep in class some fine Tuesday or Thursday morning and drooled all over everything. I get to a certain point of sleep deprivation, and I’ll just fall asleep uncontrollably–like, in the middle of writing a word. (That’s happened, too.) I get this sinking feeling that all my friends are looking at me and thinking, “If she’s like this now, what’ll happen when she’s a senior and she’s thesising?” Probably very weird shit.
So, I have one more final (the easiest, if I learn my irregular perfect verb forms–Greek, why u no have ablative case but six principle verb parts?), and then it’s back to my family’s house. I really don’t like calling it home. On the one hand, I like seeing my siblings, and even my dad, and some person with some connection to the outside world needs to check on my mom occasionally to see and mitigate what crazy conservative ideological stuff she’s come up with. Some of the stuff she’s sent me on politics lately is borderline hate speech, I swear. Wait…Isn’t that most of politics lately, anyway? (With the issues involved, someone is going to end up spouting hate, at least accidentally. I try to be on the other side.) But the problem with being “home” is that I constantly have to watch my back. I won’t have access to a private or even semi-private computer (so after Friday, probably no posts till late January). I only have computer access at a public library–the same one my parents use. The computers are slow, you get only two hours per day (= about 1 at Bryn Mawr), there’s no privacy, and the only browser available is Internet Explorer. There are three (3) books on gayness in the entire library (I’ve counted), and I don’t dare check any of them out. What books I do dare check out, I’ll probably still have to hide. And I’ll have to stay on “safe” sites whenever I’m computing–I will miss my favorite bloggers so much! But there’s nothing like that invisible hand that grabs your stomach when you’re staring at a screen and then suddenly a family member’s voice says hello, and your mind goes through an air-raid drill sequence of “is this incriminating? what’s safe to click on? how do I distract them?” while you turn around and smile and speak in an even, measured, pleasant voice. And there’s nothing like the “discussions” late at night or alone together in a car, where anything you say will be used against you, and the charge is as meaningless as Cicero asserts those against Caelius to be, but no less punishable. It can be about almost anything: a library receipt that fell out of your wastebasket and got tracked into the hall (after that one, I started flushing all my receipts down the library bathroom toilet), something you liked on facebook and didn’t think your settings would let anybody see it who wasn’t logged in, something you said in passing three days before and barely remember. 1984 is not a novel about communism. It’s about a world dominated by the religious right. Just replace “Big Brother” with “God” or “the bishop.” The effects are much the same. Glorious promises, but you end up in a house with no food (in this case, because my mother hates shopping) and a gnawing sense of fear wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. You pack clothes you never wear at school, you check all the documents on your flash drive for references to the parts of yourself that can’t come home and password protect what you have to, you make up fake but plausible opinions on recent events (how I am going to discuss Sandy Hook with two NRA members I do not know), you scrub your facebook of all incriminating activity and contemplate setting up a false identity, you google yourself and see what comes up and are very relieved when it’s just facebook profiles and obituaries for people with the same name, and you keep your mouth shut whenever possible. You spend all break watching your body language for gender variance, wishing you could get your younger siblings out of that craziness but knowing that you could never financially support them, spending as little time in the house as possible, and talking as little as possible.
They are not bad people, my parents. In many ways, they are very good people. But they are insane, to the point of borderline abusing and neglecting their children in the name of obscure ideologies. And, under the laws of my state, I can do nothing about it–because religion, of course. Why on earth do I have to buy train tickets to go through all this mess?