June 8th, 2011

It's Hard To Be Hermione

As many of you may remember Emma Watson recently dropped out of Brown. When she did so the tabloids went nuts and claimed it was because she'd been bullied.

Not so, says Miss Granger, which should be no surprise to us. Hell, if Death Eaters couldn't make her drop out of high school, I have no doubt that she could handle people saying "10 points for Gryffindor" every time she answered a question in class.

The problem, in fact, was that she wanted to go to college like a regular person and just couldn't. She couldn't have a normal social life.

Take, for example, this comment left by a current Brown student: "I'm a Brown student and was in a position to witness this...we were all scared to death of being crazy, weird Harry Potter fans around her, so I watched very few people actually get close to her because nobody wants to be creepy. And normal behavior feels creepy toward a celebrity."

Of course, the logical argument would be "Well, Natalie Portman pulled it off!"

But, that's different. I doubt people her age felt that much connection to Padme Amidala. In Emma Watson's case, she literally grew up in front of her classmates on screen.

The people she was at Brown with were nine years old when she was nine years old in the first Harry Potter film. She was also starring in films based on the most popular books of her generation.

There could be no way in hell that anyone her own age could look at her as "Emma from my bio lab" and not "Hermione Granger."

Plus, think about college. Imagine you have a dorm party and there are a couple bongs around. If Emma gets near one of those bongs you really think someone isn't going to take a cell phone shot and sell it to TMZ? Would you want to risk that - and the inevitable shitstorm from school officials?

Imagine being the average insecure 18 year old guy and going on a date with her - knowing that a picture of you trying to make uncomfortable to begin with first date small talk might end up in People Magazine.

All in all it's a really sad situation - because everyone deserves a normal university experience. You should be able to fuck the wrong people, do the walk of shame, puke after too many bong hits and, generally, have the chance to fuck up before real life starts.

But, no amount of magic can make that happen for her.

At least, however, she tried.


Social Anxiety Disoder

I got sent another $20 donation to the blog with the request that I explain what Social Anxiety Disorder means to me and how it feels.

It feels like shit.

If I'm not on my meds and/or if something stressful happens and I'm not on enough meds when I go out I often have thoughts like "Why is the bartender trying to poison me?" Or "This is not the chair I usually sit in - what if that means I'm going to die?"

When people talk to me if I don't know them very well, I often feel like they hate me and I try to come up with reasons to end the conversation because I feel like they just wish they were talking to anyone but me.

If I've met someone once and see them in the bar a second time I'm terrified to go up and talk to them because my mind gets convinced I said something horrible to them before and they will run screaming.

Sometimes it's not just the intrusive thoughts. In those cases it manifests as panic attacks that cause shooting pains to go through my chest until I self medicate with an extra xanax and/or slamming a couple beers into my body as quickly as possible.

Before I got on medication and stuff it sometimes meant I'd tell people to "fuck off" randomly out of nowhere because since I thought they wanted to kill me that I'd be better off on the defensive.

Strangely, once I've interacted with someone three or four times, or if I interact with them with someone I know well, then the thoughts don't come out or come out minimally. And, once my medication kicks in they go away completely.

This happens less and less as I go through treatment and find ways to minimize situations where it is likely to occur. Structure in my day and where I go helps. Knowing that at the Vert Anglais there will always be someone around that I'm comfortable with goes a long way.

But, it's still a long and fucking hard road.