Biological, Physiological, Existential: Crisis

Posted on March 21, 2011


I am currently in the middle of the last class I need to be get into UCLA, if  they are to accept me – I find out some time in April. The final class that I’m taking is a Biology class, and even though I’d already finished my life science units at San Diego State University, the class I took there had no lab attached so here I am again, nearly ten years later, taking this silly Bio class. It feels like the first time though, and it’s giving me some biological, physiological and existential anxiety. But probably not for the same reasons it did the first time around.

Control issues arise when you learn about cell division, mitosis and meiosis occurring without the consent of this adult, this adult now becoming well informed and learning to accept what it is to not be able to stop the world from turning. Regardless of the steps I’ve worked, the program I’ve participated in, the life I am now leading, it still gives me a massive amount of anxiety to learn about all the things that can go wrong on any given day at any of the varying microscopic levels. And as much as I tell myself these are things I should not be concerned with, still, for some reason, they concern me. The concern runs deep.

Cell Division. Viruses that can cause infections. Plasma Membranes that barely separate things that are living from that which is not. Life, smaller than I can conceptualize, and much larger than I can believe.

It’s been a difficult few weeks, in fact, it’s been a difficult few months. This semester back in school is not like the fall semester. That’s not to say it is more difficult, it’s just to say that now, halfway finished writing my memoir and devoting the majority of my off-time to exploring the past, things I can and can’t emotionally connect to have a way of creeping into the class schedule and making the learning experience that much more difficult, that much more meaningful, that much more scary. I can not intellectualize my studies while being emotionally available to the writing process. I think this is progress, but for an academic perfectionist, which it seems I am becoming, it is also incredibly frustrating. For example…

At eighteen, when I had Biology for the first time and learned about diseases, I had never had gonorrhea or chlamydia. In learning about these sexually transmitted diseases now, not to mention much scarier diseases, I look back on my past career choices, namely that as a porn performer, it is generally accepted that you will get at least these two diseases more than once a year (and that when you did get these diseases, it was like a snow day where you didn’t have to go to work) and it is not a big deal. Disease is a huge fucking deal! How desensitized must a performer be to say, “oh sweet, it’s only chlamydia, at least I don’t have to work for (fill in the blank here).” I spent half an hour telling Reef how I’ve started to worry about the future and the past on such a microscopic level, I’m not sure if I’m losing my mind or just being confronted with the reality of my prior dissonance. And am I connecting to this simple Bio class because the content of the memoir is making me emotionally uncomfortable and I’m trying to move away from feeling it and into “understanding” it?  Am I focusing on the infinitesimal problems so I don’t have to think of the earth shattering ones? Another friend dead, in roughly six months…

Must I grieve every single friend I’ve lost every single time a new friend dies? How many people will I know and care for that die before I go quietly into that dark night as well?

There are always other issues than the one at hand. As much as I’d like to blame my current state of anxious, verging depression on mitosis and meiosis, I also know I could shirk the anxious, verging depression by jumping headfirst into the learning process. I seem to be firmly invested in the theory of discontinuous development, the stage theory where I can only learn one thing at a time, am fully in a stage before I move to the next. The last stage was a reintroduction to the academic world and a life of intellectual curiosity, and this stage is the blending of all things academic and emotional, a feat I’m not sure I can handle. Reef said this is why we, as a society, put our kids through college so young. Because some of the things we learn as adults have such greater implications than they did as teens or super young adults. This is why we get this shit done with before we understand what it all really means. We learn about the problems before we can become infected with the terrifying virsuses we ultimately will contract.

Some of this shit just blows my mind.

I apologize for not updating as often as I should. I am on a “chapter a week” schedule until June first (it’s like twenty pages a week), and if you add the full school load to that, the moments that I do have, I can’t help but enjoy shutting the whole brain thing down for some good old fashioned, “Man V. Food.” And I’m also sorry if this post kind of freaks you out.