“All I wanted to do was dip into my fantasy world where I could be Peter Venkman with my proton pack.”

I feel iffy on dressing up. Really strange thing about me that I try to analyze and typically fail. Sometimes I love attention. I like being noticed. And, on the same hand, sometimes I hate being noticed and I don’t know what triggers what and how to reconcile those two. But I do know it’s been a, a lifelong feeling that it all started — or at least was initially recognized when I was in preschool and for show and tell, one of my classmates brought in, uh, his proton pack — his toy proton pack from the Ghostbusters. And also I think maybe a Ghostbusters, like, you know, uniform which was s- — I don’t know, above and beyond. It was so extra honestly. But I remember watching that show and tell and I’m like, this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I want nothing more than to have the opportunity to wear that outfit and wear the proton pack ’cause I’ve seen the commercial for the proton pack so many times and I always knew my mom and my dad would never buy that for me. And so like I had this dream of using it just once and lo and behold, you know, after show and tell, other kids in the class were supposed to get an opportunity to use the thing you brought in to be shared.

And when it was my turn, I remember being struck suddenly with this extreme sense of self-consciousness where it’s like all I wanted to do was dip into my fantasy world where I could be Peter Venkman with my proton pack. But all I could think about was that I would have to do that in front of others in the classroom. Who were all playing on their own. They would have never cared or they, they would have looked at me and said, “Well, yeah. Of course he’s pretending to be Peter Venkman. It’s the whole Ghostbusters get up.” But I refused as a kindergartner when it came down — er preschooler, sorry, when it came down to it. I said, “I — no thank you. I can’t do that. I, I don’t want to put on the Ghostbusters stuff,” even though it’s what I wanted more than anything.

And that’s kind of like, carried on to the rest of my life. I don’t know if it shows a lack of growth, but you know we have spirit days at work on account of being a teacher at a school. And it can be a grind to get myself to participate in those because I become extremely self-conscious. Not that I think people will think I’m ugly or wearing something, you know, ridiculous, but I don’t — actually don’t know what it is. I just — you know, we had Valentine’s Day and even then I was like, ehh…if I wear red everyone’s gonna know that I wore red for Valentine’s and they’re gonna be like, “Oh, look at this guy wearing red for Valentine’s.” And I can reason that everything’ll be fine. But just knowing that someone might notice that is like too much for me.

Recent Stories