Posted by: beansai | February 21, 2008

Journal Entry #6: Goat

    The memoir Goat by Brad Land was a very interesting read. I actually found that, despite our differences in gender, I had a lot in common with him. It made me laugh to myself today in class, when a psych major mentioned some of the signs of anxiety disorders, like talking past the point of breath. This made me laugh cause I have a tendency to do this whenever I have to speak out in a class or in situations where I am not as comfortable. In fact it is frustrating to become breathless when I really want to make a valid point because I lose my focus and train of thought, because I can’t catch my breath.

    Besides that though, I often found throughout the memoir that Land expressed emotions that I have often been through myself. I found it really interesting that eventually for him, his fraternity brothers became the same thing in his mind as the attackers a year or so prior to his pledging at his brother’s fraternity. This paralyzing fear he had of his brothers seeing him on campus doing something he shouldn’t, this paranoia that they were always there always watching, was something that I could relate to. I guess being an extremely passive person myself, means that I have shared some of the same emotional experiences as Land had. Granted I have never been savagely beaten like he has, but I have had to deal with that paralyzing fear that controlling friends can have over you. Of course I would say now that they were never really my friends and I’m happy that I was eventually able to break ties from the, but at those moments, when you are wrapped up in those kind of relaitonships, it isn’t that easy to just walk away.

    I thought it was extremely unfair that people were judging him for not just walking away at the very beginning of the pledging process. There were so many factors involved in his circumstance that it wasn’t as simple as just quiting. Haven’t you ever wondered why some people just don’t leave behind abusive relationships? I see it as the same thing. The trauma that happens in an abusive relationship is very similar to what Land experienced during his pledging process. In this mental breaking down, where they work to reprogram you, he lost himself, and like others, began to think that he would be nothing without the fraternity. Isn’t an abusive relationship similar? Where the mental and psychological abuse has so much of an impact on those being abused that they have a hard time believing they are better off without the abuser? I’m no expert, but that’s what I’ve been told.

    I have to admit that listening to the interview he gave over the radio, I didn’t think he was over his anxiety issues. Perhaps better able to cope with them, but they were still there. And of course I would naturally expect an interview to cause some anxiety in just about anyone, but I think there was still an awkwardness and passiveness to Land that came through in the interview. I felt for him. I know what it’s like to definitely be more comfortable writing than speaking. When it’s necessary for me to speak in a public domain, I often become tongue tied and senseless. But give me pen and paper, and more often than not I can provide a fairly coherent piece.

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