Small Victories

As of the end of the day today, I’ll have been working full time for four straight months. That’s getting up, working a 9 to 5, going home, doing what I need to do, et cetera. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s the longest period of time I’ve ever worked. Now, I’m going back to school to start my Master’s program next week, so I’m not working full time anymore, and I’ll need to get a new, part time job if I can. But working for so long, even though it’s not really that long at all, is a personal victory for me.
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Am I a burden?

Another Sunday night has come and gone, and it was another Sunday night that I was unreasonably sad. Nowhere near as sad as last week, and I definitely wasn’t suicidal this week, but I was sad nonetheless. I was once again lonely. Several people have told me, “you can’t place the burden of your happiness on other people.” I know that what they mean by that is that I need to find happiness within myself, and I can’t rely on other people to be my sole source of happiness. I need to be able to be happy without other people. It’s not fair of me to expect any given person to be my happiness. I get that, I really do, but what I hear is “you are a burden.”

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Promises/Lies

You used to be
the one I would turn to
the one who would hold me
who would comfort me
while I cried.
But when your promises turned to lies
you left me here
and now I hold myself
as I cry alone in the dark

I’ll always be here / I won’t be here a year from now, a month from now, next week
We’ll get through this together / You’ll have to fight alone
I love you / But not enough

You used to be
my rock, my best friend
when everyone and everything was against me;
even when I was against myself
you were in my corner
cheering me on
helping me up
But when your promises turned to lies
my corner was empty
and when I turned against myself
there was no one to call me back

I’ll always be here / I won’t be here a year from now, a month from now, next week
We’ll get through this together / You’ll have to fight alone
I love you / But not enough

Any time you said “we”
I felt so safe, so secure
Any time you held me
I knew it would be okay
But when your promises turned to lies
when you left me behind
you left me broken and afraid
and very much alone

I’ll always be here / I won’t be here a year from now, a month from now, next week
We’ll get through this together / You’ll have to fight alone
I love you / But not enough
I love you / But not enough

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The Ghost of You

I wrote this poem based on how I was feeling when my ex broke up with me. I felt his presence in everything, like a ghost. I thought it was perfect for today’s daily prompt. I’m going to try and write to the daily prompts at least once a week. I’m sorry the poem is so small, I had to write it in a word document, then save it in a PDF in order to save it as a photo so I could add it with the proper formatting to show up.

The hardest partof a breakup is_1The Daily Post

Current Events Corner 8/16/2016

Self-Expression through clothing

Last week in Cannes, France, the mayor banned burkinis, claiming they are a symbol of Islamic extremism. A burkini is a swimsuit that covers a woman head to toe, allowing her to swim while maintaining her modesty. France also banned the burka and the niqab in 2011. Earlier this week, a photo about a so-called culture clash at the Rio Olympics made the rounds (I cannot include the photo due to licensing) which showed a woman from Egypt wearing a hijab while playing volleyball against a woman from Germany wearing a bikini. Up until 2012, the Olympics required all women’s volleyball players to wear a bikini, which prevented many otherwise qualified women from competing, or forced them to wear something that would make them uncomfortable or go against their religious and cultural values. Since 2012, the Olympic committee has allowed women to wear shorts, t-shirts or long sleeved shirts, or full body coverings. That does not mean all countries allow the same freedom; however, as Germany, for example, still requires its women’s volleyball teams to wear bikinis.

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Reaching Out and Dealing with Disappointment

One thing that I’m learning how to deal with is disappointment after reaching out. When I try my hardest to connect with someone and fall flat, when I reach out to socialize and my friend has other plans. When I do my very best, but due to circumstances beyond my control, something just doesn’t work out.

This subject comes to mind today for two reasons.

The first reason is that for the last few weeks

Photo by andrew and hobbes on Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/30235101@N06/

I’ve been reaching out to my friends on the weekends to hang out, only to find out they’re busy, or too tired. Now, those are reasonable things, especially since I tend to try and reach people last minute nowadays (when I used to try and plan ahead, people didn’t know their schedules yet. It’s a no-win situation). But that doesn’t mean I am not disappointed.

The difference, however; is that I am just disappointed. I am not thrown into a pit of despair. When I wrote “Disconnect” a few weeks ago, that marked a turning point for me. Before writing out that post, I would have felt as if I had no friends. I would have felt as if everybody was deliberately keeping me out, and hanging out with each other. I felt that they never reached out to me, and that I was always shot down when I reached out to them. None of that is true. I realize that now, and that’s a huge moment of personal growth. But it’s hard not to get discouraged when you reach out week after week and get nothing back. It’s no longer heartbreaking, but it is disappointing.

The other is a little silly. I made my first post in the Community Pool today. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a weekly post where bloggers go to get feedback on their posts and give feedback to others. It’s a great way to get your blog out there, while providing others with the same feedback that you crave. (Natalie of the blog, “But Why?” wrote a great post about it here). The reason this is relevant? I’m afraid nobody will click on my post. It took me several weeks to gather up the courage to actually post in the Community Pool, and I’m afraid my post will get lost among the hundreds of other comments. I’m afraid that people won’t like what I have to say. I’m afraid that it was just a waste of my time. Of course, there’s no way to know any of this, and I’m not suddenly expecting to have hundreds of hits on my blog or anything like that. But I’m putting myself out there and that always comes with some risk. I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get any comments about improving my blog, but it won’t be heartbreaking.

It will, on the other hand, be a little embarrassing. You know when you’re in a conversation with a group of people, and you make a comment that just falls a little flat? It doesn’t offend anyone, but it doesn’t contribute much to the conversation either and everybody just ignores it? Your ears burn a little and maybe you kind of want the earth to open up and swallow you for a minute, but you get over it eventually and continue the conversation. That’s how this will feel.

This is a huge step for me in my recovery, and a huge step for me as a person. I’m allowed to be sad, I’m allowed to be disappointed, I’m allowed to be embarrassed. But I don’t need to be unbalanced by it. I don’t need to question if my friends love me. I just need to accept it and move on. I’ll hang out with them next week, or I’ll try to post again in another week or two. Everything will be just fine.

 

“No” does not mean “Convince Me!”

I just had my first real experience with a guy who didn’t understand that “no” meant “no.” Luckily for me, it was all a virtual exchange via the OKCupid website and texting. I didn’t have to physically fight him off, and I wasn’t assaulted. But it was still a scary situation, especially considering (1) how pushy he was being and (2) how hard it was becoming for me to actually say “no.” I’m a timid person by nature, and I never outright said “no” – but I kept saying “I’m not comfortable with…” and “I don’t want to…” which equate to “no!”

Here’s the situation: I had scheduled a date with a guy I met on OKCupid. I do this all the time. It’s never been a big deal before. We had decided to get drinks. We exchanged phone numbers to start texting, because it’s easier than talking on OKC. But then he started being pushy about coming to my place after to “cuddle and watch TV.” I should have cancelled the date then, but I didn’t. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with that and he seemed to back off a bit. So we kept talking. Eventually the subject turned to sex, and our sexual histories. I’m fine with talking about that, honestly, so this didn’t seem like a bad sign to me. Then I told him we weren’t having sex on the first date and he kept trying to bargain with me. What about foreplay? I’m not comfortable with that. What about just using out hands? Probably not. I’m not interested in that. Then we talked about sex again, and I was beginning to get more uncomfortable. Ultimately I asked him if he would be okay with the fact that I didn’t want to do sexy stuff after the date. He tried bargaining again, saying if I didn’t like him and didn’t want to see him again, then that was fair, but if we are interested in each other then, “at the very least we should have some cuddle time and just foreplay without intercourse….Fair enough?” No, not fair enough.

It was at this point that I realized I wanted to cancel the date, but I had no idea how. So I just kept talking to him. I told him I’m not comfortable with that, and that the most I’d be comfortable with on a first date would be making out. He then took that as me saying I’d be comfortable making out if we hit it off. Which…isn’t totally wrong, but I wasn’t comfortable with this guy at this point. I wanted out of this.  I tried to use my roommate as an excuse – saying that we couldn’t go back to my place if he would be home. But that didn’t deter this guy. He just wanted to reschedule.

I told him at that point, “I’m honestly quite uncomfortable with how pushy you’re being regarding coming back to my place. Just because I’m theoretically open to something doesn’t mean that I definitely want to do it, and it makes me think that you might not believe that ‘no’ means ‘no.’” Then he told me he wasn’t going to drive all the way to [TOWN REDACTED] to get drinks and that’s it. He reminded me that I messaged him first, not the other way around (as if that makes a difference) and that he didn’t want to waste his Saturday if he didn’t have to. I told him then that I was not comfortable anymore, and we would not be meeting up. He told me I’m way too conservative and that the conversation we had had was an utter waste of time. And that was the end of that.

Now I’m looking for ways to block his number, just in case.

Overall, this exchange was comparatively harmless. Nothing happened to me, except I was uncomfortable and a bit frightened. I’m still a bit shaken up, actually. But friends, this is rape culture at work. I should have directly said “no” – then it would have been clear. But if it’s not a direct “yes,” then it’s a “no.” There’s no reason to believe that he would have backed off if I had said “no” directly, or if we had actually gone on the date, that he would have backed off if I said I was uncomfortable. Not only does “no” mean “no” ALWAYS, “maybe” means “no,” “I don’t know…” means “no,” “I’m not comfortable” means “no!” It doesn’t mean convince me. It doesn’t mean bargain with me to try and get something out of me.

And it was honestly really hard for me to say even what I did. I’m uncomfortable with confrontation, apparently even when my own safety is potentially at risk. It’s hard, because as a woman, I’ve been socialized to compromise, to not say “no.” This is not due to my parents or teachers or anyone directly telling me that, but just growing up in a society where that is true. I used to be better at standing up for myself. My sense of self and confidence took a hit when my depression got worse. And there’s no mistake, this IS a safety issue at this point. I need to know how to say no to people, especially in situations like this.

I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to make of this. I just know that I’m not the only person who has experienced something like this. And we need to start with teaching everyone that only “yes” means “yes,” anything else is not consent, and it means “no!”