A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime?

To My Former and Future Homies:

As we age, we become wiser, more thoughtful, and more aware of the ways of the world. This new knowledge in adulthood ranges from how to safely get back to your car on the late night to recipes that take more than twenty minutes and can be shared over mid-grade bottles of wine. The sad thing is that as we age we become more disposable to people and the word “friend” becomes a burden we not only bare, but are scared to dole out to too many people.

When I was in high school I made the mistake of calling everyone my friend and I paid the price for it in rumors, whispers, humiliation, and anonymos phone calls. In college, I played it a little closer to the chest and had different levels of friendship with different people. Not everyone was my friend but I truly tried to get to know as many people as I could. As I enter adulthood, it becomes harder to maintain certain relationships and I am forced to make choices I’ve never had to make before. Do I continue to widen my social circle or do I start cutting people off? What does friendship REALLY mean and is it really important?

The answer becomes more complicated when one takes into account that we are complex beings, others are complex beings, and as life shifts so do our priorities and beliefs. Then we must take into account the different spaces we fit into and how our lives become more compartmentalized. Suddenly. there is a time and place for everything and unlike the days of our teens and early 20’s life does not blend together quite easily. Everyone we know and love is on a completely different page and we are forced to draw boundaries where there were once open arms. New people come into our lives that match ourselves more closely and our priority becomes ourselves and those people who make ourselves feel good and feel whole.

There are our work friends who we gossip with about office drama over pho at lunch and drinks at happy hour. We share what we wish with these people at the risk of our professional reputations with an unspoken understanding that what happens at those tables is supposed to STAY at those tables. Whether it really does is dependent upon who you invite.

There are our friends from childhood who are spread out across the country and whenever we are all together it feels like home even if we aren’t home. These are the friends that we swap stories of our youth with over bottomless mimosas at rooftop parties. These are the friends who you can be your complete self around because they will love you no matter who you date, what you believe in, and how you spend your free time. These are the friends who will be in your wedding, call you up to congratulate you on your promotions, and who always have your back when the rest of the world doesn’t give a damn who you are. These friends are the most valuable because they have become your family and are irreplaceable.

Our college friends are also spread out like our high school friends, but these relationships become the most complex to navigate. Now that we no longer can see each other so easily because we’re not a dorm away and have way less free time, it becomes a true test of communication as we play phone tag for weeks, exchange drunk texts and Facebook chats, and eventually have two hour conversations a few times a year. As time goes on the phone calls come fewer and farther between as we develop into our adulthood. Unlike our friends from high school, unless we are fairly similar, it becomes extremely difficult to see the worth in putting in the effort to maintain these friendships because we do not have the history between us to really know if these friendships are sustainable. These relationships are the most disposable and the most heartbreaking to lose.

One takes for granted the ease of making true friends when we’re young. As we age we become bias, bitter, self-centered, and distant towards those who have supported us. We become stubborn and set in our ways. We become judgmental and snarky at the choices our former friends make as we move into the circles we “fit in” and climb the social ladder. Like the people in “Divergent” we take the test of survival and get sorted into different atmospheres that we “belong” in. And just like that, people who you once shared your last dime with become strangers whose Instagram or Facebook page is the only indication you have of how they’re doing.

They say people enter your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  So to all the “reasons” and “seasons” I’ve met these past few years I truly wish you the best in your future endeavors. I think I’m gonna take the rest of my lifetime to maintain and make friendships that do not die with a graduation, a new partner, a new location, or differing belief.

Kisses,

Your Former Friend

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I am not Vampire Food: Letting go of Toxic People

I recently let a toxic person go. I cut this person out of my life before it became too difficult to let go. I’m beyond proud of myself on how far I’ve come in recognizing my own emotional needs and setting boundaries to barricade toxicity and toxic people from my life.

I won’t go into too much detail but let’s just say this person and I were incompatible in so many ways. He was only capable of fucking while I like to make love to my partner even if we’re not in love. He was emotionally unavailable and I’m looking to become emotionally entangled. He was bitter and negative while I am positive and shine with so much light. Needless to say, the dude was an energy vampire. And for those of you who do not know what energy vampires are they are people who lack enough positive life force to sustain themselves so they feed off of the positive energy of others. These people are also known as bullies, abusers, haters, users, opportunists, and overall TOXIC PEOPLE.

The last time I saw this person I felt drained and miserable. I was happy to see him at first  and then the more time I spent with him, the worse I felt about myself. He shamed the amount of food I ate, complained about my personality, and fondled me like a high school boy who was told by too many girls that he was good in bed. (For the record I do not like my nipples or my clit twisted roughly. It’s kinda painful and not in the ways that I like it. Drooling on me and getting visibly annoyed that I’m not cumming is also not arousing either).  The sex was average, he was average, and overall just a miserable person.

I decided to let go of this person because after about a  month and half of knowing each other he felt comfortable telling me I ate too much the previous day. It was a crushing blow after I spent the whole night trying to make HIM feel comfortable being naked with me because of his own insecurities. If I believed in body shaming I’d have some choice words for this guy but I’m just going to say that those who live in glass houses should NOT throw stones.  As someone who has battled with an eating disorder for the past six years and has a lot of overweight people in my family I did not feel comfortable with this guy in my life or near my body in any way.

Letting go of the situation feels so good. I knew that I was not interested in a serious relationship with this guy but when I took the time to think about things I realized I was settling. If I want to try love again why should I waste my time with a guy who is incapable of even loving himself? And if I don’t feel comfortable around someone why should I continue to share my body and my soul with them? I don’t really care what anyone in the sex-positive movement says, sex is NOT just sex. And if you’re looking at sex like it’s just sex than you’re not doing it right. You can make love without being in love. And you can be intimate with someone without being attached.

Toxic people are hard to walk away from and I mean this in the literal and the figurative sense. They are on the street, in our offices, in our families, and occasionally we invite these people into our homes. But we should never allow these people to pollute our souls and must take every precaution in order to defend ourselves from their dangerous reach and the potent stench they leave on our emotional well-being.  Once you allow a toxic person into your life you need to do what one would do with a vampire: become one or kill the source. Which do you choose?

 

Pains of Growing

Projection or the truth?

I get my I.D taken and secretly revel in the apparent shock of the clerk at my youth

He hands me my cigs and I walk proudly out the door

Then the feeling sinks in that this is why I can no longer relate to other women like before

Like before when they made a hate club about me

Spread rumors and lies and got mad because I am genuinely the girl who gets the guys

It gets worse when you get to the professional sphere…

The competition increases as the age and the beauty separates from the old who have fulfilled their duties

Brains and booty, spandex to reign it all in

No matter how big you paint your smile you can’t seem to win

The judgement weighs in.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, sticks and stones and all those other things

Wondering what the future will bring

Growth and maturity but history repeats itself

Cattiness and anger to hide the complexities and the vulnerabilities of the inner self

Long drives home because you just need to be alone

Add alcohol and other substances to the mix and one becomes more in tune with the way that others think

You feel like you need to hold back as the energy vampires feed off your brightness

You leave the house everyday filled with so much light only to return with so much darkness

These parallels and binaries of good vs. evil and standing out vs. fitting in

Just for once you fall asleep and ask yourself why the hell you just can’t seem to get it

Deep down inside everyone is a mess and has their vices and outlets to unload burdens and weights off of their chest

Fucked up from your ex, texts from your mom, same shit different story and you dedicate a Spotify playlist to the soundtracks of your life and mood music that is full of bullshit songs

Do we live to break hearts or do hearts break because others live?

It’s times like these I really wish I had Dumbledore’s pensieve

 

 

How to Acclimate to Adulthood in 10 Days

Tomorrow starts week 3 of my first “real” job. I know I wrote a month ago about trying to accept the very depressed and very lonely state I have been in. Well, a couple weeks after I wrote that I got TWO job offers and had multiple other interviews. I am pleased with the choice I made but I have been so busy adjusting, moving, and getting acclimated, that I haven’t made the time to check-in with myself and evaluate my progress. So here are my thoughts and observations on ten things I have learned in the past two weeks about myself, working, and adulthood.

  1. Being the new person in the office has its pros and cons. Pro: Everyone wants to get to know you. Con: Everyone already knows each other, has their own cliques, and you’re in that awkward “how do I fit in here” phase. This is important because you’re unsure whether your coworkers are actually starting to like you or are just trying to find out everything that’s wrong with you. Honestly, it is probably both.
  2.  Coffee needs its own spot on the food pyramid. Middle school health class lied. Coffee IS a food group.
  3. Go to bed early every night. And unlike childhood there are no complaints because I cannot wait to see my pillow.
  4. Baths are for more than masturbating. They are now an excuse to avoid everyone in the house for at least 40 minutes and to soak the pain of high heels away. Pro Tip: wear sneakers and then change into heels at the office.
  5. Shapewear and pantyhose ARE necessary and are sexy. Not trying to body shame anyone but no one looks as good as they possibly can without a little help from the spandex gods. Bonus if you’ve got an hourglass shape because your waist DOES NOT EXIST.
  6. It is helpful to have worked in college and in high school. Not only does it give you some experience, but it helps you prove to your older coworkers you are not the average privileged liberal arts know-it-all college graduate. You are so much more than that.
  7. It’s a great feeling to get paid for meaningful work. It’s even better when you realize that you’re in work most of the time so you will have less time to spend your hard-earned paycheck at ULTA and Panera Bread.
  8. People treat you like a real adult when you’re made up and in your business casual separates even if you have a baby face. And men who also have full time jobs and are in sexy suits will notice you and WILL make eye contact. Yes, I like a man in a suit. And yes, we should totally get a drink after work while I imagine what you look like without that Calvin Klein blazer and J Crew button up..
  9. College was worth the investment. Period.
  10. I am finally a productive member of society and am no longer suffering from post-college depression.

Basically, my first few weeks have been great. I’m not going to say they’ve been perfect because I’ve ruined two pairs of stockings, I’m broke until my first paycheck, and I’m pretty sure this one lady I work with cannot stand me (and it may or may not be my fault) but overall I am enjoying my first post-grad job. Now all I need to do is get through training and my probation period, find my own apartment, and find a man to have wine with on Friday nights who enjoys politics, electronic music, and art. I’ll keep you guys updated.

I’m feeling blessed. I’ve got a long way to go but I’m determined to work hard, play hard, and be grateful for this opportunity.

After

I wonder if I’m gonna be fucked up in all of my next relationships

I talk badly about myself because of the way you dated me

Came over whenever you felt like it and used me for sex

Dinner every other Thursday does not make up for how you gave me so much less

Much less than I gave you and even myself

That night on the hill I fell in love now I’m filled with so much unrest

Because what I thought was love was once again abuse and obsession

The only good part about dating you was now I’ve learned my lesson

I’ve become more tough and less tolerant

More focused on myself and less impressed

I try and hold my shoulders back and be appreciative of my body when I get dressed

I can’t blame myself for your misuse and abuse

But I can take accountability for all my future actions

The sad part is that before this all it was with you I saw my happily ever after

Now you won’t let me be…you stalk and harass me

Make me terrified to live my life

Worried I’m a future episode of Criminal Minds

But I refuse to break down and I have to keep pushing forward

No longer under your control I’m beginning to mend my broken womanhood

So the next time I date someone I know I’ll be much more happy

I’ll be with someone who loves my summertime skin tone and my kinky hair that’s nappy

I’m going to work on lifting myself up and feeling positive about who I am meant to be

Thank god I’m no longer with you

Finally, I’m free

Who am I?????

Even though I wouldn’t go back to high school if you paid me Beyoncé’s net worth, I definitely do miss how simple life was back then. I always rolled my eyes when people told me to enjoy being a teenager and have fun. I don’t think I had enough fun nor do I think I appreciated being a teenager as much as I should have. My biggest concerns were acing biology tests and trying to avoid catty high school girls. Instead of dating or going to parties, on the weekends I spent most of my time watching Lifetime movies, Law and Order reruns,  and getting lost in the pages of fiction novels. I used to be able to read a whole book in one weekend and the librarians always said “See you Friday!” when I dropped off my weekend retreat from high school into the book drop on Mondays.

I chuckle at how I took the stability and the certainty of my life for granted. I may not have lived life to the fullest in high school but I LOVED my college years. Everything I wasn’t in high school I got the chance to be in that phase of my life and I am so thankful for that. Life started to get a bit more complicated but it was no biggie. Especially when I traded my novels for mini skirts and my Lifetime movies for parties in hipster boys’ basements with way too many cans of Rolling Rock and not enough sense to care. I wish I had cared more because I would have saved myself an extra year of college and many nights of doing my work for the entire semester at 3 a.m hyped up on Adderall, coffee, and nicotine. You live and you learn though.

Despite the highs and lows with both  these phases of life, I genuinely appreciate each extreme. I literally got to live a Rihanna album and go from the a sheltered only child to a blunt-smoking wild child (Good Girl Gone Bad ladies, gentleman, and non-conforming individuals). Now that both high school and college are over I’m left wondering what the next phase will bring. That sheltered girl is LONGGGG gone but that wild one is definitely more reserved now. In other words, I’m having a quarter life/identity crisis.

Suddenly I have no idea who I need to be right now because both the caricatures of my former self don’t fit who I am at this time. My grandma mentioned to me today that she wants to get to know me as the woman I am now and I realized that I don’t even know the woman I am now. I know what I believe in and I know what I’ve been through and where I wanna go…but I have  no idea who I am right now. I’ve changed so much to the point that I don’t even recognize who I am on the inside. And as I continue to interview for my first “real” job I wonder who my interviewers are meeting.

I know that it will hit me later on down the line but for right now I am so confused and so conflicted. Do I want a relationship right now? Nah I need to get my life together. But should I be dating? Maybe because I’m young and I should just have fun. Or should I just pull a Michelle Obama and focus on my career and myself and just wait for someone to come along? It’s all so confusing. Are there some friendships that I need to let go for good or should I just take a break from them? How many days a week do I want to work out? Should I go to the library and check out a book to read? Do I REALLY want to go to law school? Should I go back to being a vegetarian? Should I buy a vibrator and celebrate month 8 of my celibacy or should I find a fuck buddy? Should I hit up my ex or that guy I went on a few dates with? NAH  LEAVE THEM ALONE THEY’RE BOTH NUTS AND TOXIC FOR MY HEALTH. I go through this A LOT now.

I know I’m not alone in this uncertainty/questioning because a lot of my friends are going through it,  but I feel alone. As soon as I bring up any of these conflictions to anyone else in my life they hit me with the whole “Do you” thing or give me a piece of advice that I really don’t like. So instead I just go over these things in my mind until I get distracted by a piece of hair that isn’t a spider. Eventually I calm down, breathe, and shake the questions because I’ve slowly come to realize that the only way I’ll become familiar with myself is if I look internally for who I am instead of my environment. So here I am writing this blog about my internal self in the hopes that I’ll realize wtf I’m doing with my life and who the hell I am. As you can see, it’s still a work in progress.

So to all my 20-somethings who have no idea who they are YOU ARE NOT ALONE. To all the teenagers out there bitching about their crush not texting back and the chemistry test they have tomorrow STFU AND ENJOY YOUR BASIC EXISTANCE. To everyone else…Please let me know if it gets easier.

 

A Look Through an Hourglass

When you’re blessed with an hourglass figure there are two things that happen:

  1. When you gain and lose weight it happens evenly throughout your body. Therefore you could gain 30 pounds and all your clothes still fit. Awesome.
  2. Because you have the “ideal” woman’s shape people are constantly watching your figure. Which means that  the 30 pounds you lost or gained becomes noticeable to everyone.

I’ve noticed how the first thing people say to me when they haven’t seen me in awhile is always somehow related to my weight. “Girl you look thick as hell” or “Wow you lost a lot of weight”. Both make me extremely uncomfortable because I wonder if the person thought I looked fat the last time they saw me or if they think I look too skinny now. It’s a catch 22 truly.

I know what you’re gonna say…”Don’t worry about what other people think”. And believe me I don’t care what other people think because I know I look good either way. Heads still whip around when I walk in the store whether I’m looking at a higher or lower number on the scale. That’s not the point here. The point is most people do not know how hard a backhanded compliment hits someone with an eating disorder. The issue isn’t what you are saying. The issue is how what you’re saying bothers the little voice in my head that’s already anxious about my weight.

Sometimes I’m tempted to be rude and mention how someone’s face really cleared up or their nails don’t look as chewed up as usual. But I just grin and receive these sideways  compliments because I don’t like to be vulnerable and I don’t like giving people the satisfaction of knowing they got inside my head. But every time I walk away from these situations I run to a mirror and turn from side to side and observe all the parts that need work. It’s sad really…I’ve been told more often than not that I’m quite beautiful.

I worry that when I’m older I will regret not appreciating my body when I was young. I was recently looking at some photos of me in high school and thought “damn why didn’t I appreciate that body”. In order to combat those worries I’ve decided to stop focusing on how I look and concentrate on how I feel. This means eating what I want but within reason, getting a workout in at least three times a week, and spending less time squeezing parts of my body in the mirror. So far it’s getting easier but it’s still a work in progress.

At the end of it all, I want to look back on pictures from this time in my life and say “damn look how happy I was”. Right now I’m not happy and I truly would like to get to that point because happiness comes from within and when someone is happy it leaks from their whole being regardless of their size. People love Ashley Graham, America Ferrera, Christina Hendricks, and Jordyn Woods because they radiate this happiness with themselves despite how they do not fit into a size 4 or even 6 dress. They love their curves, embrace them, and celebrate them which truly shows.

I’ve always loved my curves but I’m trying to take it one step further and love myself. This may mean avoiding people for awhile who tend to trigger my unhealthy behaviors. I’m perfectly fine with that. It’s time I started looking out for my own mental health and my own physical health.

If you don’t like it kiss my sometimes-fat ass.

Everything Doesn’t Happen for a Reason: Post-College Depression and Coping

They say everything happens for a reason but I think when everything happens is more important. When I finally join the professional sphere I know I’ll look back on this time and be grateful. I know that I’ll be happy because I’ve done something more than sit on my mom’s couch. I sent out hundreds of applications (which did wonders for my writing skills), confronted my fears (mice love old houses. I don’t love mice), and began to heal from my traumas.

I’ve been out of school for eight months and I still do not have a job. I’ve had a few interviews and am still in the process for interviewing but I still find myself overwhelmed with so much anxiety. And it’s not exactly like I sat on my butt all of college and didn’t get involved. I held quite a few leadership positions, worked, and did a couple internships yet I’m still sleeping on my mom’s couch and frustrated. I even went to a school consistently ranked in the Princeton Review’s top 30 but here I am…another unemployed and overly entitled college graduate.  I think I’ve watched enough Netflix to last me for the next five years and eaten enough potato chips to become the Lays spokeswoman for post-college depression.

The crazy thing is I started my job search willing to take any job that would get me in the door. Then I became focused on a certain career trajectory that would ensure me the kind of position I want someday. And somehow at the end of it all I’m in the process of interviewing for a job that uses my degree and has opened my mind and my heart up again to my childhood dream of being in law and politics. It doesn’t pay as well as some of the other positions I’ve applied to and interviewed for yet it’s the first job that I genuinely want. It’s funny how things work out.

Everything happens for a reason but everything also happens when you’re ready. TBH I wasn’t ready to move on to the next phase of my life eight months ago. I was struggling to process the previous year of my life and I was reluctant to be around my family and childhood friends. I was so caught up in trying to find a job that I didn’t even consider what would make me happy and also what was attainable. Like every other millennial brat with a fancy degree I just assumed that it was time for me to put on a Calvin Klein blazer, get my eyebrows threaded, and join the 9-5 life while watching the minutes pass until happy hour. I was wrong.

The biggest thing I needed in this time was to reconnect with my family and friends. I needed to discover my own abilities and what I actually wanted to do with my life. For so long my life revolved around other things besides myself…boys, shitty tips, and public transportation just to name a few. These past eight months on the couch have really put me in touch with myself. I rediscovered my passion for writing and politics. I reignited my love for community work and humanity. And I finally faced my eating disorder and body image issues because what else was there really to do?

Humility is one of the most difficult and influential attitudes to come by but it was something I needed. I needed to slow down and realize my degree, the name on it, and my experience does not make me relatable nor enjoyable to work with. My love for the world and desire to make it a better place is what does make me a valuable employee with a bright future ahead of me. I didn’t know this on May 29th, 2016 but I know that now. And I’ve been able to inject that love into my relationships with others and myself. Although I am still frustrated, I believe I have found a peace with myself and an optimism that I was missing when I shook my deplorable college president’s hand and waved to the people who supported me.

Being unemployed sucks but being uninhibited is dope as fuck. The sky is the limit from this couch. And as Cady Heron says in Mean Girls  “the limit does not exist”.

The possibilities are endless.

 

Dear Unloved

Dear Unloved,

I’m writing this letter to inform you that I no longer need your approval, words, or presence in my life. For so long I lived by your compliments and your criticism and it feels so good to be free. I have finally achieved the freedom you never wanted me to have because it is something you have openly admitted that you don’t have: the freedom to love oneself.

For months and a few years I accepted the love you gave me because I did not know the love I deserved. I measured your treatment of me by the ways you did not always openly mistreat me the way others before you had. That was my mistake. I should have been measuring your love for me by the love I have for myself and coupled that with the love my dear friends and family have shown me. If I had done that, I would have left you long before I did and things would not have gotten as far and out of control as they did. It’s too late for coulda woulda shouldas but it is never too late for me to admit that I did not love myself when we met or when we were together.

Your presence in my life did not help me heal. You weakened me, shattered me, and played on the delicate strings of the self-worth I masked for years with smiles and mascara. I let you in while I was in the process of healing and you took advantage of that. You realized my potential long before I did and you consciously and subconsciously stomped on it until I became small and you  remained the same. But little did you know that the flames of my existence will always burn a few embers even at my lowest. Why? Because I will always have faith and always have hope.

Because of you I’m frightened to let someone in while I’m in the process of healing. And while that may seem like an admittance of defeat it is most definitely not. It is an admittance of realization and transcendence. Because of you, I can now accept myself, my worth, and the process I must go through to be with someone else in a healthy, meaningful, and loving relationship. That process may require loads of time in the gym, late nights with my journal, refusal of any date proposals for awhile, and a long road of celibacy but I am so excited for this journey. And I have you to thank for that.

I resent you so much but I refuse to hate you. I’d like to get to a point where I can appreciate what we had because it led me to a loving place in my life. Whether I reach that point tomorrow, next week, next year, or in another life I’m determined to get there. I will always love the person I thought you were. But the person you truly are is not loved by me.

I can’t say I wish you the best because that would require me to wish you good health, good love, and happiness in your life. And since you have taken so many hits at my mental, emotional, and physical health some parts of me hope you get hit by a bus tomorrow. Since you have made me absolutely terrified of men and sex due to how many times you violated my body I kind of hope you get herpes. And since you refuse to stop trying to contact me I hope you are miserable for the rest of your life when you hear through the grapevine that I’m happy with someone else and myself while looking AMAZING doing it.

I think if I truly loved you I would probably be able to take the high road and wish you well. Perhaps even be friends. But since I don’t love you I won’t flinch if your entire existence falls apart. I wouldn’t wish that on you but I’ll secretly hope it happens. Until then, I have to just focus on myself and pray that I move on. Clearly, I still have a long way to go.

Kisses,

The Loved

 

 

 

Vulnerabilty

I’m fascinated with people who can just open up to you instantly about their lives. I probably have this fascination because I find it incredibly strong and incredibly stupid for others to do so. I find myself wondering if people open up so readily to everyone or if I give off some type of energy that says “tell me about you while I sit here in silence and judge you a little but also praise you a little bit”. My guess is that it’s more of the latter because I do try and make others feel comfortable and open around me. The unsuspecting souls always fall for it and I always find myself reflecting on the person I just came in contact with. I think about what they told me and what kind of person they are from what they told me, how they told it to me, and where we had the conversation as well as under what circumstances.

It’s probably not the least bit fair for me to ask for vulnerability from others while I reveal almost none myself but I believe that for me to truly be vulnerable someone else has to truly ask me for it. And at this stage in the game of life I’ve become a master at using frivolous details I don’t really care about to emotionally draw people in. This is a deflection tactic and a defense mechanism that allows me to pretend I’m being close and personal with the one whom I’m engaging with while simultaneously blocking my true self from coming to the surface. Very few people have noticed this about me because I don’t allow very many people to get close to me. Perhaps the seven or eight different therapists I’ve seen in the past 7 years actually had an impact on my emotional thought process. Or maybe I’m just actually a bitch.

I know what you may be thinking if you’re reading this. You probably think I’m either a psychopath, fake as hell, emotionally unstable, and/or emotionally immature. The first two are far from true and the last two are relative to what area of my life those emotions are directed towards and who you talk to about me. If you ask me, I think I’m a woman who has issues with a lot of people and things in the world and I’m still learning to cope, heal, and mature in the ways I need to. I’ll never be perfect but I think the first step in emotional manipulation recovery or “How to be a Decent Human 101” is realizing that we’re all flawed, fucked up, and isolated because we live in a world that is flawed, fucked up and incredibly isolating. “Suck it up buttercup” and “Everyone has problems” are the mantras of modernity and it’s incredibly polarizing. Most of us are relatively aware that we have problems and others have problems yet we don’t want to help each other deal with those problems and view each of our lives as equally impacted by issues.

The Truth of the matter is that some people have shittier lives than other people. It’s hard to measure each level of shittiness so we’ve decided to use identity politics to do that. Black women are automatically at the bottom and white men are automatically at the top. Gays have more problems than straights and Muslims have become the new Jews in American religious tolerance. The rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer. While there is obviously some good social theory to support all these claims no matter how many people I manipulate into telling me their life story I’m just not 100% buying them in every case. No matter how many articles I read and news stories I tune into something is just off about the way we view the value of life and life experience. Our lives are each unequal and unique in some way but the more stories that are told the harder it gets to apply a social theory and an identity politic to what is really happening.

Somewhere along the line patterns of experience shape our views and we tend to attract those energies and repel others for reasons sometimes unbeknownst to ourselves. The girl who ends up in multiple abusive relationships because she grew up in a home where she was abused or witnessed abuse. The young man from the hood who ends up serving time because his father told him he was nothing, his teachers told him he was no good, and his peers cheered him on as he committed acts that were no good but fit the image he felt he was supposed to live up to. The young woman who skips breakfast and  lunch everyday, runs three miles every morning, and weighs herself once a week because her childhood best friend teased her about her slight stomach pudge and her long-term boyfriend cheated on her with someone three sizes smaller.

All of these people have issues that stem from a cause. One could say there are millions of other people who are put in the same situations and don’t make themselves a victim. That other people would go to therapy, stay in school, or dump the boyfriend because that’s what logically should be done. But those people fail to realize that there may be ways they themselves are not dealing with their issues in a manner that someone else would. . When you allow an individual to tell their story from their heart they become more than a victim, a product of the system, or a mentally unhealthy person. They become a human who is AWARE of their damage and just trying to cope and is still having trouble relating to other humans because the world is flawed. The world is fucked. The world is isolating. And so many others claim that they’re dealing with things.

I’m dealing with my damage by listening. But maybe I need to talk more about the things that are important. For now I’m taking it one step at a time like Shelia in Shameless. Even if an airplane wheel falls out of the sky I can say I attempted those steps. Whether I run back into the house and isolate myself depends on how flawed, fucked up, and isolating the world still is. I feel like it will probably be the same. So I’ll take my chances.