Shutting Down

Being a teenager is all about dealing with yourself. That's taking care, keeping calm, and being conscious of your own emotions. Every single day can be a struggle when it comes to interacting with other people, not taking things personally, and lingering on everything that goes on. You have to be smart, pick and choose and determine what knocks you out of your element. Most of the time you can't control what triggers you and takes you those all time lows. This is shutting down.
WHO MADE THIS GIF?  I NEED TO BE BEST FRIENDS WITH YOU RIGHT NOW.  Dorm Life is one of the best shows ever.
You're probably wondering what this post is about and I'm about to let you know. It's been a rough week (as always, I shouldn't expect anything less) and at this point I'm just not having any of it. There comes a time when you just get shut down, when someone makes a remark, you see something, hear something, or experience something that completely catches you off guard, wakes your dreaming ass up, and shakes you until you're unbelievably sober. For me, it's the little things that people will just say in passing and not own up or even care about the small comments they've made. You can't just say things and then be surprised when people react to them. I remember in primary school, I would never ever get in trouble. I was (and still am) the practically perfect student. When everyone was acting the fool, I was keep it real and following the rules. The few times where a teacher would specifically call me out for talking (usually because someone else was talking to me) I would completely shut down. Done. I wouldn't talk for days and sometimes weeks in specific classes because I was so hurt. For someone who has been raised to never do anything, that is to be disrespectful, inconsiderate, or rude - to have someone tell you're doing something bad is hands down the worst thing that ever happened when it came to school. I remember one of my teachers had me stay after class and asked why I wasn't participating in class, and I told them exactly why. You told me to be quiet, and that I should give other kids a chance to answer or that I shouldn't be talking. They would always apologize and encourage me to speak up again and the entire mood of the class would change. Without me everything is different, I was just like everyone else, disinterested (not really, I had to try super hard to not speak up) and disconnected. In college, I'm way more conscious of how much I speak, I try my best to encourage others to speak but I also am careful when I speak to say something meaningful and unique. Still, the same thing happens but it's only with my peers. Stuff gets said, things happen, and my entire personality changes. It's the side of me you don't get to see very often. The scared child, reeling from being corrected, and internally berating myself for making a mistake. To everyone else it may seem like a minute detail or nothing to worry about, me I'll dwell on it for days, and spend hours thinking. It's crazy and weird, I'm aware (over analyzing is a problem) but I still do it. In one of my classes we discussed my university's ended old tradition of Kake Walks (dressing up in blackface, prancing around, mocking African-American/black people). It was the most blatantly racist thing I'd ever heard about my school and I was embarrassed to even be at the institution. As soon as the we started going over the history I shut down. I didn't speak, just tears were sent streaming down my face. I hate being so fragile - I'm not supposed to be this way. I'm a boy, I'm supposed to be strong, to be invulnerable and to be perfect in every way. Of course, no one else had the same reaction I did, but hearing stuff like that makes me absolutely terrified and brings up all the emotions that come with the incognito racism I face on a daily basis at this predominantly white institution. It's too much. I wanted to get up and walk out, I wanted to leave but I didn't want to cause a scene. I just sat there, tight lipped and visibly uncomfortable. For the past few hours since I've retreated into myself and I'm in shutdown mode and nobody gets it at all. People will ask what's up and I'll mention how we went over it and they'll immediately change the subject and/or make a joke. I'm not laughing. It's just a reflection of the subtle prejudices exemplified on a daily basis here - that's the past, and it's not my problem. I'm done, more than frustrated and totally in shut down mode.Scott and Jack. I miss these two.
Dealing with shut downs can be one of the hardest things to do as a teenager, but as a person in general. It always throws us for a loop when we're denied, or told no. When someone offends it, that's their not so explicit way of putting us down and telling us that we don't belong as well. Recovering from a shut down is a tricky art. Me personally, I'm devastated and I just don't talk. It's like I'm a completely different person. I feel like I get so small, and my voice is barely audible as I let the effects of getting put in a place (nobody buts baby in the corner) take over. I lose the fun, the effervescence, and the sincerity in everything I do. I'm a former shadow of myself and it's highly noticeable. The worst thing people can do when that happens is ask me what's wrong, or why I'm so quiet. What it significant to me and gets me down to other people seems petty, childish or completely ridiculous to get upset over, but that's just you. No one has the right to invalidate your feelings. If you're hurt, you have the right to be. You don't know my life and why certain things resonate with me. Some the stuff that gets you all twisted up I wouldn't even blink at. It's all personal, nobody's problems are more significant than anyone else's. We all have stuff to deal with any claiming that you daily dilemmas, dramas, and issues. When you're shut down, you don't need other people ragging on you. The best thing you can do is give people some space. I usually just get frustrated with other people. I can't be flawless at all times, smiling that much is so much effort and there's so many things that threaten to wipe the smile off your face. Let people have their personal time, and take the hint. If I'm tensed up and sour faced, do not, I repeat, do not egg me on with some condescending nonchalant cursory remarks. Get your life and get on out of here. I'll let you know when I'm ready for more social interaction. Shut down and log off.

*On a side note can I please mention the One Direction vs. the Wanted feud. I've officially revoked my fanhood from 1D. I'm done with Louis and the rest of them, how much they've sold out, changed, and attribute their success to the quality of their music - sorry, but it's because of your good looks and above average singing ability. The Wanted writes the majority of their music and haven't changed a bit since finding global success (where's the video diaries; we still get #wantedwednesday). The nonsense needs to stop.

Being a teenager is all about checking yourself and your emotions. It can be hard to turn it off. Like the freaking Vampire Diaries, sometimes we just have to not feel anything to get through some of our toughest days. At other points we have to feel everything, let the emotion crash over us and bring us back to the surface, gasping for air. We have to experience all of it, the good, the bad, and everything in between. Life just happens, and we're bound to get hurt sometime. You don't have to feel shut down, sometimes you've got to build up (see what I did there) some courage and strike back.

My blog post question for the day is ... what's one thing that makes you shut down? Whenever someone tells me to shut up, I automatically stop talking and don't resume until I'm of that situation.


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