Underneath my yellow skin

My broken brain

Ed. Note: I got my days mixed up and posted a fiction post on Wednesday instead of Thursday, so today (Thursday by the time you read it), I am posting something that should have gone up Wednesday. To make things even more complicated, I was going to talk about my new health status, but in honor of Halloween, I’m going to talk to something related to that instead. 

Halloween is my favorite holiday, which is probably no surprise to anyone. All the blackness! Black cats! Candy! Dressing up in fantastical costumes! What is there not to love? Turning off the lights and pretending not to be home when the trick-or-treaters are out! It’s all good fun. I’ve been watching some Halloween streams, and I’ve noticed something that has been a constant for me my whole life. What other people consider scary, I don’t. I really like the Eurogamer team because they have two chicks on it who are badass, but also very supportive–and I just found out they’re both bi! I knew one was, but not the other newer one–and they swear a lot. Women after my own heart. It would be nice if they could add a person of color, but I’m not holding my breath. That does not seem to be a thing at all in England, which is another post for another day.

Anyway, they are playing Visage both in their regular videos and in their Halloween stream. It’s a spiritual successor to P.T., and both women have screamed a-plenty while playing it. There are the usual jump-scares, and they are screaming with abandonment at top volume.

Side Note: It’s really annoying when the mic levels are varying for the different people in the video. I have a problem with really loud noises, and for me, really loud is several steps lower than other people’s.  But I also have an issue with whispering just below hearing level–which is one reason I fucking hate ASMR. It literally makes me mad, which is the diametric opposite of what it should do.

I don’t get jump scares. I mean, I’ve jumped when something pops up in my face, but it’s more a startled reflex than actual fear. I’ve thought about why jump scares don’t get me, and it’s because I have PTSD. You might think that would exacerbate my fear reactions, and it does in non-crisis situations. When it’s a real situation, however, I get deadly calm. My theory is that PTSD, which is not helpful in real life, is actually useful in a crisis. The hyper-awareness, mind being zoomed in and alert, the shutting out of everything else.

For example. When I was in a minor car crash two years ago, I saw the car coming at me as it veered to turn left (I was going forward), and my brain said, “Oh, I’m about to get hit.” There was no way I could avoid it, despite what my father said later–

Side Note II: My father. My father. So many thing to say, but I’ll limit it to when we were talking about the accident the next summer, My father was quizzing me about how I could have avoided it and wouldn’t accept that I couldn’t have. He kept saying what he would have done, which is laughable given his reaction time, so I did something childish (not proud of this): I threw a stuffed soccer ball at him. He didn’t even blink as it bounced off his body, let alone move his hands. His view of himself and his abilities is so completely inflated, I lost my goddamn mind.

I give all the credit to taiji in that I instinctively relaxed as the car hit me. Afterwards, I had to comfort the other driver, a young woman who was either seventeen or eighteen (found that out later) as she sobbed about how her dad was going to kill her. I watched as she called a friend to take her boyfriend away (piecing together that he wasn’t supposed to be in the car, and she was probably talking to him as she hit me), and then she sat on the curb and cried. I sat next to her and tried to talk her down from the ledge. I told her that her dad was not going to kill her (hopefully, I added in my mind, but not to her, obviously). She then switched to she had been rushing to get home because her dad needed the car for work, and how was he going to get to work? I told her he could take an Uber or a cab. My voice was low and reassuring, and I wasn’t faking it. I felt calm, cool, and collected, and my brain was focused on what needed to get done.

I called my parents (who were here visiting), then texted my brother and Ian just to let them know. When the cops arrived (someone called them, thank that person), I was able to clearly tell them what happened. Or rather, they told me what the other driver told them, and I agreed with the recount (that she was completely at fault). My brain was not racing, and I felt zoned in on the issue at hand.

Another example: My cat, Shadow. He’s a skittish cat, and when he was younger, he used to jump at any sound. Except one. The vacuum cleaner. That’s right. The bane of existence for most cats didn’t even make him flinch. Shadow is a lot like me, and I can’t help notice the parallels. Once, in the first yew years I had him, he was sleeping in his cat bed. He jumped up, raced around the room a few times, then went back to his bed and fell back asleep. I could tell he had had a nightmare, and I related to that as well.

What does this have to do with Halloween and scares? Silly jump scares aren’t scary to me. Ghosts popping up isn’t scary to me. The vague shadows flickering in and out of my sight isn’t scary to me. I’ve seen real horror, and this ain’t it. I think that’s the same with my cat. Why should he be bothered by something like a vacuum cleaner when there is real scary shit out there? I understand why people get a thrill from this kind of thing plus the dopamine hit, but it just doesn’t happen to me in the same manner.

In watching the Eurogamer stream, Zoe had to put on the VR headset and  play Resi 7. The whole time, she was holding herself rigid, and the terror was emanating from every pore. To note, she did it when they reached 100% of their initial donation goal, so it was for a good cause. Anyway, it was clear that she was hating every minute of it, and the beginning of the game isn’t even that scary. To my mind. It’s very graphic and body-horror heavy (which I don’t like), but actual horror? No. Zoe had to force herself to move the character forward, and Aoife was very verbally supportive as Zoe jiggled her leg in horror. Ian was nice for him, not directly scaring Zoe as he normally would.

It was fascinating to watch because while I will never play VR, it’s for nausea reasons rather than horror reasons, I just don’t understand the whole horror aspect. I don’t like horror movies for similar reasons to what I’ve stated here. I prefer psychological intrigue rather than flat-out horror, and I can’t stand gore at all. In addition, I find horror movies to be shallow, and it’s one of my issues with movies in general.

All that aside, I like Halloween in part because it signals the beginning of my favorite time of the year–not summer/spring! Winter is my absolute favorite, but autumn is a close second. I love the crispness of the air, the change in the colors of the leaves, the warm spiced drinks, and the death of all the things that cause me allergies. That’s not spooky at all!

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