Growth

This once clueless, flighty girl

Now weeps in this excruciating time of growth;

All the years of being comfortably numb are catching up, and I can’t hide any more;

I won’t hide;

Abandoned memories,

Suppressed hurt,

Festered into rage and resentment.

All my lonely tears are crashing into me; I’m drowning.

The hurt runs deep in my veins and into my heart;

Why did I deserve this?

Are you satisfied?

Dragging this baggage is too heavy anymore;

I’ll simply leave it and I won’t look back.

Good bye.

Being Sexually Harassed by a Store Associate…

** Feature Photo Credit: Photo by Ikon Republik from Pexels

…Has left me feeling exposed and disgusted. I just can’t believe this is still happening in 20-Fucking-21.

I recently experienced a deeply uncomfortable sexual harassment moment in a major chain of discount stores. I was out on a Saturday evening; I showered and got ready to this particular store, as it’s the closest in the chain to me. As a creature of habit, I love going to that store; I know where everything is, I know it’s going to be clean and tidy, and the staff is always super friendly. It’s always a treat to visit when I have a few extra dollars to spend.

I wore a burnt orange tank crop top, with no bra, and a pair of workout leggings. As I walked into the store, I saw the associate out of the corner of my eye as he welcomed me, and his eyes were the size of Oreos. I’m used to being ogled, so I moved about my business.

I walked around for like 20 minutes, did my shopping and went to the front to check out. This particular store has self-checkouts, and the associate mentioned above was in the area directing traffic. He indicated me to a free stall, and leaned in closely. Like uncomfortably close; if he were any closer, I probably could have felt him breathing on me. In hindsight, he was probably about 10 inches from me as he said, “You look great by the way. Do you live around here?”

I was instantly uncomfortable and I felt so violated. I felt my cheeks getting hot, my race start to pulse, and felt his presence way too close to me. Was he looking down at my shirt at that moment? Had he been undressing me with his eyes when we initially made connection at the front?

I very abruptly blurted out I was married, and only then was he apologetic. I wasn’t wearing my ring at the time, and if you can believe it, so I thought I would have to go on the defensive, but instead he did. Still, though, he lingered for another 5-10 seconds, and that slow passing of time felt unreal and stretched thin.

I was ringing up my items during this whole exchange, and after he walked away, all I wanted to do was finish my transaction and go home. I could not finish checking out quickly enough, but then, some candy I was trying to purchase wouldn’t scan. I tried several times to swipe it, finally in a mad panic to get out, and not wanting to alert him back to me, I left the candy, very quickly paid and walked out.

When I got to my car, my skin was crawling, and I felt so violated. I sat in my car for another 15-20 minutes, texting my bestie, giving her the play-by-play as my emotions festered beneath the shock of the incident. My first instinct was to cover up with a sweater I keep in my car, but I just refused. I sat in my car for another while, willing myself the courage not to just go home, hide under my blankets and cry.

Finally, I had one other stop after that retailer, and as I parked my car, my instinct to cover up overcame me again, and I sat in my car for another long while before I could exit. I was hyper aware of my settings, I watched every person passing by, and I locked my car as soon as I parked (it automatically unlocks the doors when the engine is turned off).

I felt so naked and vulnerable. I knew those thing happen, but you’re never prepared for the moment when it is actually happening to you. I was scared to leave my car; I didn’t want to have the same experience again, but again, I refused to wear a sweater.

I thought, “Fuck that shit! I have been told my whole life that I can’t wear certain things as a woman, for one reason or another. I refuse to allow that jerk, and all the other jerks, to make me dress a certain way.”

I have never shopped at Kroger so quickly in my life. I was hyper-focused, impersonal, and curt. I paid, went home, melted into my husband’s arms and sobbed.

I’m so tired of having to be scared. It took me back to being a young woman in my late teens early twenties, being approached by men bigger than me, and being hit on and sometimes even groped.

That incident at the retailer took me back to the powerlessness I felt when I was 19; something similar happened in a women’s bathroom at a small Mexican restaurant.

Writing this made me so tired; Part 2 coming soon.

This Shit Is Hard (I, like, can’t EVEN)

So I have been actively avoiding my blog, and more importantly, writing lately.

I am not a person who can just put forth garbage just to have content. I take great pride in my work, and believe in living with integrity, even when it feels like I’m climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (cause everyone climbs fucking Everest). I am uncomfortable posting fluffy shit like all of the “Blog Babes” suggest; I give exactly 0 fucks about writing “10 Best Fashion Tips, and #7 is unbelievable!”

I’m a loudmouth, opinionated bitch. My life, up until this point, has not been fun and fuzzy. I grew up witnessing domestic abuse, and then I walked into an abusive relationship. I have epilepsy, and generalized anxiety disorder, and I’m recovering from a life-long eating disorder, and emotionally numbing in any way possible. At the age of 12, I called a teen hotline and told the person on the phone that I thought I had depression.

I had no bodily autonomy for most of my life; my body was the property of everyone else, and I had to keep it clean and pure for them.

During my first appointment with a psychiatrist, after I told her my whole story, she paused, took a breath, and stated, “It’s impressive that you’ve been suffering alone this whole time, and not in a good way.”

Translation: I am fucked up.

So. Hi again. Thanks for sticking with me thus far. I know, this started on a really depressing note, but it’s my blog and I can be a party pooper if I want. So there! 😤

But I digress.

Because I refuse to put out fluffy shit, I hardly post. Pulling that shit from within and putting the shit on paper is hard as fuck.

Looking back at that trauma is extremely difficult, not only emotionally, but the more I remember from my early teens, the more I piece together more experiences with my illness. I, too, have to open the door to the loneliness and despair that I felt then.

I look back at that little girl and it hurts to put myself back behind those melancholy eyes, and experience that trauma all over again. It’s devastating, and so unfair that this little girl, at the age of 12, knew she had depression, and yet, the adults in her life failed her.

But, I have to unpack it. If I keep shoving it into the back of the closet, with the memories of my platform Spice Girl’s shoes covered in puke (I’m still waiting for those to make a comeback), I’ll never get better, and I’ll never completely understand myself.

I’m too self-aware and anxious to let that shit fester. I need to dig it out, explore it, and de-clutter it. Like Marie Kondo says, if it doesn’t bring you joy, thank the items for their work, and let it go.

So, Imma start letting that shit go.

But I warn you: this could be some Taylor Swift type shit going forward, but if I can also make millions using old diaries and hard feelings, then let the “Swifting” begin.

PS. I cuss A LOT. Like a lot, a lot. But it’s a scientific fact that people who swear a lot have a higher pain tolerance, so who’s laughing now, mom?!

The Imposter Within Me

Imposter Syndrome

I’ve been hearing this phrase dropped around quite a bit lately: Imposter Syndrome. I had a general idea of what is meant, and assumed I probably fell under the umbrella somewhere. I kept trying to avoid it, but as we know, what the mind tries to ignore will fester and start to eat you alive. It took me probably a year and a half of hearing that phrase, thinking about looking it up, and then gently putting it on my “Things to Eventually Get To” list in my brain – AKA the shit that’s never gonna fucking get done.

Strangely though, I kept being pulled back to that phrase. So recently, I finally sat down to look it up and my search results ultimately led to Wikipedia – of course. Which, for anyone who thinks that Wikipedia is just garbage, you are mostly right…. But! Sometimes you can go to the references area and strike gold. I found a few peer reviewed sources (I was shocked too!)

I have never felt good enough to be able to take credit for my small achievements. I always attributed any kind of small success to luck. “Geeze, I was lucky that xyz happened today that I could xyz!” It feels fake to call myself a researcher because I am not in a PhD program. It feels fake to call myself a writer because I don’t have any credentials to be considered one; as far as I’m concerned it’s just a creative outlet, something I have to do for school, and something I enjoy. I don’t even feel like my writing is even that great, even though I’ve been told by others that they enjoy my writing. I think, “They’re just being kind; they don’t actually think that.”

“Women who experience the impostor phenomenon maintain a strong belief that they are not intelligent; in fact, they are convinced that they have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise.” (P. R. CLANCE & S. A. IMES) Great women like Maya Angelou, Brene Brown, Tina Fey, and even Tom Hanks have all admitted to having issues with imposter syndrome.

In fact, women who exhibit the impostor phenomenon do not fall into any one diagnostic category. The clinical symptoms most frequently reported are generalized anxiety, lack of self-confidence, depression, and frustration related to inability to meet self-imposed standards of achievement (P. R. CLANCE & S. A. IMES).”  When I was reading through the list of characteristics of imposter phenomenon and realizing that my thoughts, attitude, and personality checks off all of the boxes. It was incredibly eye-opening for me to finally see it with my own eyes, and for someone to confirm what I’d always been feeling was incredibly liberating. For me, though, it was also kind of devastating.

I grieved for the girl and the young woman who always out of place every where I went. I always felt like my friends would eventually realize how annoying I was and not want to be my friend anymore. At work, if I had a shitty day with sales, I would feel like shit; but if I had a good day at work I would think that I was just lucky, even when clients that I built up came to see me, I was still feeling lucky that they had come in that day. It was such a frustrating feeling of never being able to celebrate my little wins.

So as it turns out, according to Clance and Imes from Georgia State University, there are 2 types of imposter syndrome: 1) someone who had a sibling that was deemed the smarter, more intelligent child; or 2) someone who was deemed the smarter, more intelligent child by their parents.

For me, I fall under the second type, and according to Clance and Imes, the family conveys to the child that they are superior in every way—intellect, personality, appearance, talents. In the parents’ eyes, there is nothing that they can’t do if they want to. She is told how smart they were during infancy and childhood, such as learning to talk and read early or counting earlier than other children. In the family members’ eyes, they are perfect (P. R. CLANCE & S. A. IMES).

I was that child. From an early age, I remember being told how smart and/or how pretty I was. According to my mother, she was constantly stopped and ogled by people. She tried to get me to be the next Gerber baby, and she put me in a couple of beauty pageants as a kid, but stopped when she realized, thankfully, that she didn’t want to turn into a pageant mom. And to add a cherry on the top, I was an only child for 8 years, so all the attention was on me.

According to Clance and Langford, imposter syndrome is correlated with anxiety, and rank high on the neuroticism and perfectionism personality score (SAKULKU, ANDALEXANDER 2011). Guess who tests high on that score: THIS GIRL. Don’t be jealous though; it’s the worst high-test score ever! Thanks mom and dad!

But seriously, if you recognize something in yourself that sounds like what I have just described, there is help for it. Therapy is a great place to start! For this type of condition, it’s completely internalized, and so there are step that can be taken to externalize the pain. It is proposed that therapy comprised of learn, “a warm acceptance of all aspects of the person, an empathic understanding of the person’s internal world, and an attitude in the therapist of genuineness and emotional honesty.”

So thank you for reading; as always, I am grateful for your time. If you’d like me to do a more in-depth piece on Imposter Syndrome, please feel free to send a message or leave a comment down below.

If you like what you see, please feel free to subscribe. I am trying to put out 1-2 entries a week, and there is much more to come!

Thank you again so much!