Online Dating, Hooking Up, and Self-Esteem

o-online-dating-facebook

So I’ve been doing the online dating thing for a while now but I haven’t really been what you would call “successful.” I’ve been using OKCupid, and I’ve gone on a bunch of dates, but I’d only been on a second (and third) date with one guy. Nobody else even approached a second date.

As for the guy I went on three dates with, I enjoyed his company, and we had fun, but I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to date him for various reasons I don’t feel like getting into. I don’t want to just date anyone, I want to date who I want to date. And that didn’t happen to be this guy.

So I started reevaluating what I wanted. I wanted to date someone, that much was true, but if that was it I could have dated this guy and would have theoretically been happy. But I don’t want to date someone for the sake of dating. I want to feel a spark, a connection – someone I know I could have fun with but also lie together in silence with. Someone I want to get down and dirty with and someone I want to kiss me on the cheek as we walk through a park. I want physical and emotional connection. I am affection starved both physically and emotionally.

But at the same time, I’m feeling more stable emotionally than I have in a long time. I want to date someone, but I don’t need to date anyone. But what I did want is physical affection. So…I turned to tinder.

Continue reading “Online Dating, Hooking Up, and Self-Esteem”

Life Update

Hey all! Long time no blog. I just…haven’t had much to say recently. Or at least nothing new.  I mean, I got a job in my field, and I’ve been working. The semester ended well. I’m doing pretty well in general so I haven’t had too much to update there. There has been plenty to talk about if I wanted to do a Current Events Corner – but I never felt I had anything to contribute that hadn’t already been said by someone else. And my personal life has had its ups and downs, but it’s mostly the same stuff that I’ve talked about in previous blog posts. I’ve been particularly feeling what I wrote in my last blog post – the one about Affection and Shadows and true selves and friendship. I’ve been feeling lonely still. Feeling like my friends have abandoned me. But then I think of my friends who /haven’t/ abandoned me, and although I may not be as close to them as I once was, we’re still close, and they still love me and I love them.

One instance recently that bothered me was pretty stupid. A couple of my friends had gone out somewhere and posted a picture of it on Instagram. Now, normally that wouldn’t bother me – people have lives and the right to go out and do things and I don’t have to be involved. What bothered me was that they invited my ex, and not me. And I always considered myself closer to these friends than my ex was to them, so seeing the picture with my ex in it and them all having fun, I just wondered, “Why did they invite him and not me? Do they like him better than me?” and all sorts of fun spiraling nonsense. And like I’ve said before, my ex and I are still friends, but there is a lot of heartbreak and baggage there. So when I see him hang out with the people who are our mutual friends – but who I know were closer to me before we dated – it hurts me, even though it’s stupid, and my brain says to me that they chose him over me and that they will continue to choose him over me. It puts up that stupid scenario that if both of us were drowning, and they could only save one of us, they would pick him, and let me drown. Of course, that’s a stupid scenario that actually makes no sense. But my brain also provides the scenario that if I happened to go to the hospital again, no one would visit me, and I would be alone. So I was actually having a great day before I saw that photo, and then suddenly I was having a shitty one. I crawled into bed and cried. I hate the power that other people have over me. But after falling asleep from crying and exhaustion, I got a text from a different friend inviting me to dinner. And that reminded me that I do have friends who care about me, people who think about me and want to hang out with me and do things. And that made me feel better.

So this has already gotten longer than I intended it to be. I’m going to make another post today or tomorrow about online dating, which is the other big thing that has been going on in my life recently.

Your Affection – Abandonment and Friendship

This blog post was inspired in part by what I’ve been thinking about going on in my life all week, and in part by Persona 4: Your Affection – a fanmade Persona 4 visual novel.

persona4What I mean by that is primarily the neutral ends to each of the routes – the “Acceptance” ends…because those are about friendship.

In each of the routes, the Persona users have to confront their shadows again. For those of you who don’t know Persona 4 – a shadow is representative of the person’s deepest, darkest, innermost, primarily negative, thoughts and feelings. And in this fanmade visual novel, the shadows are often talking about the fear of abandonment by friends, and that if your friends truly knew you, they wouldn’t accept the real you. They would abandon you for thinking the way that you do because you’re a gross and terrible person. That’s an oversimplification, but it’s the gist. (The shadows in the actual game say similar things about abandonment too…what would you do if your innermost thoughts, the thoughts you’ve had that you’re least proud of, were on display for all to see?)

And…I’ve been thinking a lot about my friendships and abandonment this week in particular.

I know for a fact my friends would leave me if I talked about my innermost thoughts. If I talked about my depression and anxiety and my problems. My boyfriend left me because he couldn’t handle it. A long while later, I had a breakdown and a freakout and sent some of my friends a text that said something along the lines of, “You’re still my friends, right?” and I got called emotionally manipulative for that. (Was I being emotionally manipulative?) Another friend told me a little while after that that I had changed, and fallen behind because of my illness, that I wasn’t able to read social situations anymore.

And when it comes down to it…I was revealing my truest self to them. My dirtiest, ugliest thoughts and fears….and they rejected me. I don’t talk to anyone about my depression anymore. Well, I talk to my therapist, but I don’t have that support network I once (thought that I) had.

I can talk about my ex to some people – about how that still hurts me, and I feel depressed about that. People understand that. But they don’t seem to understand my illness. It makes them uncomfortable. And it makes them want to leave.

If any of my friends saw my shadow, I’m not sure our friendship would survive. And that scares me. I wish I could have someone that I could talk about anything with…like in fiction. Like in this visual novel. Everyone has someone. But right now, I don’t.

To be hurt, To feel lost, to be left out in the dark…

Last Friday I went to a Simple Plan anniversary concert at the House of Blues. It was a wonderful show and I had a lot of fun. But it reminded me of my teenage years – back when I had undiagnosed depression and didn’t know it.

I remember identifying really hard with Simple Plan’s music – particularly the songs “Welcome to my Life” and “Perfect” (both of which they played at the concert!!)welcometomylife

Key Lyrics to “Welcome to my Life” include:

Do you ever feel like breaking down? / Do you ever feel out of place? /  Like somehow you just don’t belong / and no one understands you? / Do you ever want to run away? / Do you lock yourself in your room? / With the radio on turned up so loud / so no one can hear you screaming?

I remember times where I turned the music in my room up really loud so my family wouldn’t hear me crying. I remember bringing this song up to my dad once, and him saying something along the lines of “Isn’t it funny how they can write a song about no one understanding you, and everyone can relate to it?”

I know he didn’t mean anything by it, but it made me think that the way I was feeling was normal when it wasn’t. I couldn’t tell the difference between depression and teen angst. I don’t know if my parents could either. But while some of these feelings are universal of everybody growing up, feeling misunderstood being one of them, some of them are not. If you are crying in your room with the radio blasting, go talk to someone. It might be just a phase, it might be teen angst. But it might not be. And figuring that out as soon as possible could save you years of hurt in the long run.

Selfies for Self Esteem: The Final Assessment

A week ago I finished my year-long Selfies for Self-Esteem project. Overall, it was a lot of fun, and it turned into a daily diary of myself. Below are all the pictures I took for my selfies for the past year.

Did the project work? Has my self-esteem improved? Yes and no. I’ve gained more weight over the past year, and now I’m definitely working to fix that. But that makes me feel bad about myself. But also, I know I can look cute in spite of that, so that has helped. My self-esteem is probably in the exact same place overall, actually. But I enjoyed the project, and I’m glad I took a photo (almost) every day for a year!

 

The Best Advice?

I like to say the best advice I ever received was from an airline instruction pamphlet. Well, technically, I got it from the book Deadline by Chris Crutcher, and he got it from an airline instruction pamphlet, but I digress.

The point being, the best advice I ever received was “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others”

You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. It was this advice that helps get me through my depression. It’s this advice that allows me to say, “I can be a little selfish, just this one time.” It’s this advice that makes it so I can’t hate or resent my ex, no matter how much he hurt me, because he was putting his own oxygen mask on first. He needed to take care of himself first, before he could take care of me. And that meant, well, that he couldn’t take care of me. I needed too much from him, and he had to get out. Him not being able to handle my depression isn’t a reflection on me, as it took me a long time to learn, but a reflection on him, and his need to take a step back.

But in today’s political climate, can we afford to put our own oxygen masks on first? It’s a privilege to be able to take a step back and say, “I need out of this.” It’s a privilege to be able to think like this. It reaches a point where you have to ask yourself, what is putting on your oxygen mask first, and what is denial or avoidance? You need to help yourself before you can help others, but the point of that is, after you take that moment to help yourself, you need to actually assist others. Put on your own oxygen mask. Then make sure you use your privilege to help others who don’t have it breathe.