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

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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.

 

 

 

Mirrors and Disappearers

I withdrew from the world and deleted all my social media

I remind myself this path must be walked alone as I begin a new chapter in my unwritten story

My story is oral history wrapped up in perceptions and multifaceted mysteries

It’s a collection of blank pages, smiley and frowny faces, pen marks, and erased bits

An edit and an unfiltered truth of the lies I could not fulfill told to me in my youth

Friends are enemies and enemies are warriors that build up my credibility and battle me for the moment

Stare at the numbers on the scale and realize why it’s the one thing that I have a hard time controlling

I shy away from the camera, sink into myself, stop wearing makeup and start feeling sorry for myself

Then I remember when I see myself through another’s eyes in my dreams

The truth of the matter is that things are always worse when you hold your emotions in…poor etiquette like an interviewee in ripped jeans

I stand up a little straighter and throw some eyeliner on just to go to the grocery store

I praise god for the food in my belly and accept that someone woke up today hungry, alone, and poor

Bank accounts only read one balance but money can buy some form of happiness

Yet you’re really not rich until you’ve accepted everything about you from your fanatics to the erratic

The erotic, divine, and heretic spirit that makes up the essence that helps you embrace your inner and outer self every time you step into the dressing room

I read somewhere that those mirrors are slanted to make you buy more clothes, critique your nose, buy something more expensive just to cover up your bodily woes

Can’t say it’s a lie and I definitely will not admit my guilt in partaking in this culture of capitalist vultures who prey on the slither and death of political and individual unrest

I think about how I used to take selfies everyday until someone told me my skin looked prettier on a winter day

That someday I would be this or that and that I only had to work harder instead of simultaneously loving myself for where I was at

I used to walk with the grace of a queen now I fight to keep my shoulders and back from doing a downwards lean

But each day it gets easier. Each day I reach inside myself and say “Don’t worry doll. Take your time. It will get easier”

I stood up straighter today. But I’m still not ready to appear yet

I’m gone but not invisible. In the long run I hope this works.