Persona – By @lemacadesyeux
By Zac Mehdid
I spent some time writing about a fictional character the busy D&AD period. I recommend this ‘exercise’ when you spend your whole day on D&AD. It helps your mind wander around for a bit.
‘David grew up in a Persian Jew family in a town near Birmingham. He has a brother but never met him, because his parents had him when David was in boarding school. They wouldn’t want the brother to meet the evil David, fearing his bad influence. His parents had rather hard childhoods stuck between traditional families and racism in Birmingham, and therefore ended up very strict. He was sent to boarding school in the Scottish Highlands.
David suffers from alexithymia. He can’t understand human emotions and reactions, and therefore doesn’t have any emotional representation. He doesn’t know how to react and when. That’s because in his family, “feelings” are not accepted. For them, crying is either a sign of weakness, or pretending. So when he grew up, he suffered from a lack of emotional understanding. So he just grew up that way, and it got him into lots of troubles.
His family believes that adults are always right, and kids should just listen to them no matter what. “When my dad said the car is yellow, and even if it were black, I would just say it’s yellow”, they say. Fucking stupid assholes. The thing is, being gifted and therefore slightly Asperger, he couldn’t understand such illogical reactions, which made his condition even harder. One day, he was in the pool, and talked to his cousin about his recently dead mother, and made him cry. This cousin though, was considered as a prince in his family since he lost his mother. That’s why when he went to complain, David got beaten up, and whipped. His mother was there, looking mad at him, although he didn’t do anything bad, and he was beaten up in front of her. This lack of logic and love created a reject of all emotional reactions: disaffectation.
He just retreated inside and got closed to any emotional reaction or human contact. He would just observe people and react when necessary: reflexes more than reactions. Drink when dry throat, eat when empty stomach, but didn’t care what he put into his mouth. He was not living anymore, just observing the world, focusing on people’s weird faces and reactions to words, acts and so on. That would take all his attention, since he didn’t understand what it is and why they do that. He was extremely focused on that, but therefore on nothing else – at school or when people talked to him. His teachers thought he had ADHD, but his parents only thought he was arrogant and disrespectful, and did that to make their lives difficult because he was a spoilt child.
Something else happened that day he got whipped. Something changed in David: every night, David would disappear until the morning. No one knows what happened, and he wouldn’t remember. His parents didn’t believe what he said, because you can’t go out and not remember – that’s not logical.
Therefore, his parents decided to send David to boarding school in the countryside, where he wouldn’t escape because if he did he would just get lost and die from cold. They thought that would discourage him, because obviously he’s pretending.
David is 11, and he’s at boarding school.