Friday, July 2, 2010

Oh, the Humanity

I was in a car with a friend from my Buddhist practice this week, and we were talking about people's natures - basically what we would put on the back of someone's hypothetical "card." I asked him what would be on the back of my card, and he said I am one of the most "human" people he knows.

For a moment I was a little taken aback - after all, the phrase "only human" is often used to explain away someone's bad behavior or characteristics.

But he went on to explain that while some people hide behind appearances or pretend to be something they are not or in some other way shelter their true selves from the world, he thinks that I'm extremely honest and open. At least I think I'm remembering correctly. So, I'm human. Yes.

Yesterday I went on a first date, with someone I met on a dating site. We had exchanged a few emails, and in one of his messages he asked what my play is about (in response, obviously, to me telling him I'm working on a play. Or maybe it's in my profile. Whatever.). I responded via message that it was about family, mental illness, and boys.

Now, going into this date, I was more thinking of it as practice than anything else -- like an interview for a job you don't really want. He's a little young for me and not really my type. A little bit about him - he's a med student from the Bay Area. Lives in Brentwood. Nice enough, just not for me.

So yesterday, we're drinking coffee and playing backgammon at a cafe near my house, and the following conversation occurs:

Him: So you're working on a play.
Me: Yeah, I'm just trying to figure out how to write the 2nd act.
Him: So you said it's about mental illness? Do you have experience with that?
Me: Um.

At first I tried to sort of play it off, but then the little voice inside my head said "fuck it" and I was like, "Actually I'm bipolar."

His response?

"Oh - I just did my psych rotation a couple of weeks ago."

He didn't cut and run right there. We talked more - about his psych rotation, about college, our families, usual first date stuff. I pretty much knew the whole time that there would not be a date 2. Which is fine, since it was just a practice date anyway, but I do wonder how much of the reason for that is due to my open, honest "humanity."

The thing is - I'm really working on not thinking of myself as bipolar before all else. It's hard. It's especially hard when I force myself into labeling myself to total strangers. So what do I do? Stop discussing the subject matter of my plays? Don't admit to being a writer? Be coy? What would you do?

1 comment:

piper said...

random opinionation: i vote "coy" but i submit that it is only 'coyness' for as long as you feel the bipolar label. there are many honest answers to "do you have a history with mental illness?" only one of which is "i'm bipolar." i could use a thousand more words here, but i'm trying to stop doing that.