I’m anxious.

I write this in a state of anxiety. Not quite a full-blown anxiety attack, but more of a well, low-key anxiety attack.

****

I’m a senior in high school. I’m ready to graduate and jet off to college. I’m over the rumors, the whispers in the hallway, the looks. I’m over the way I morphed myself into someone I didn’t recognize. As angry as I am at the way people looked at me my first day back to school, I know I did it to myself.

I never considered a myself a victim. I wanted to be — that was easier to come to terms with — the simple fact that I fell victim to a series of shitty occurrences in my life which were entirely to blame for the scars on my arms, slipping honor-student grades & a school that now labeled me as someone different.

I just want to leave.

I walk into the lobby my first day back. I clench my books close to my chest. Voices in the hallway are louder than usual. The stares linger. Tears start to stream down my face. I rush to the bathroom.

Wasn’t she tied down to a chair and put in a psych ward? Like in the movies?
I heard her mom’s a lesbian, that’s why she went crazy.
Is she going to have to stay back a grade?

I hear all of the rumors — even if no one thinks I do. I want to hate these people. They don’t understand. But I guess that’s why I never did hate them — they didn’t understand.

Maybe I’m not the talk of the senior class, but it sure feels like it.

My insides are crumbling.

***

I am holding the bottle of pills in my hand and locked the bathroom door of my house. My hand is shaking. There’s no practice drill for killing yourself.

My sister screams in the hallway as I drop the bottle in fear and watch the blue pills scatter on the floor.

***

The first time I was put into a mental hospital was the winter of my senior year of high school. I was depressed, suicidal & well, fucking miserable. To be honest, it’s like black hole for me at this point. I remember the events that led me to that state, but of course, we all have our shit. I just didn’t deal with mine particularly well.

I fought with my mom and counselor and begged them to let me stay at home. I knew I needed help, I knew there was something off that needed more attention but what would that look like? I felt the scratches on my inner arms and legs as the tears flooded down my face. By law, I had to go.

***

He visited me as much as he could. He’d drive on weekends, school nights. When I look back, he was probably the most supportive boyfriend I’ve ever had. I told I loved him, and I meant it. I just don’t think I was ready to love anyone…how could I? Never mind loving, I didn’t even like myself.

I have a post about him sitting in my drafts. I can’t publish it. Not yet.

With him, I was selfish. He loved me, took me in & was such an integral piece of my past who was unfortunately intertwined with perhaps the darkest part of my life thus far. I don’t know if I’ve ever properly thanked him. “Thank you,” doesn’t seem like enough. It’s not enough.

I didn’t deserve him.

I think about him a lot.

***

There were windows. An arts & crafts table. A bookshelf. No restraints. No one screaming. No padded walls. It was peaceful — in a fucked up, depressing kind of way — but it was an escape. One that I needed.

Go to all of the meetings and follow the schedule, that’s how you get of here. 

So I did. I’m not sure how much healing I did, but it wasn’t enough.

A couple of months later, I find myself in the same spot. I don’t remember which time I was more miserable, all I remember was the nurse telling me to stop crying, that I was triggering to other patients.

I whimpered and went to sleep.

My OT hands me a piece of paper.

Write what you want to let go of.

I drop the magic paper in the water and watch it disintegrate along with the words written in black pen.

I grab another piece. And another.

***

My mom cried behind her sunglasses. My Jersey Shore poster hung surrounded by photos of friends and family. I was only a 2.5 hour drive away, but it felt longer. At least, I wanted it to feel that way. I’m convinced that this is a fresh start. A solution to all of my problems. I’m no longer depressed. I’m fine.

I swear.

Two days in and I’m wearing a salmon sun dress. It’s a Thursday.

He told me I was pretty. And smart.

That was all I really needed. In a moment’s time I’m swept away.

He convinces me that I’m in love. I don’t need anyone else but him. Rather, I could never find anyone else better than him.

I’m too fat for him. We spend 1.5 hours in the gym 6 hours a week. I eat once a day and only eat foods approved by him. One “treat” a week. No yoga pants in front of other men. Am $8 box of black hair dye to hide my $120 highlights that didn’t look good. Well, I thought they looked ok.

I’m still sick. I come to terms with this moments after I slap him across the face after he insulted my mother. I forgive and take him back.

I love you too. 

I’m not good enough.

Eventually, I am free. Free from him, but not from my sickness.

***

Girls are mean.

My sister was bullied in elementary school. I was too young to remember all of the details, I just remember that I never wanted to be bullied. I saw my sister’s tears and heard my mom and dad demand action.

Years later, I’m a senior in college living in a house with six other girls. Over the summer, I had felt distant from most of them, questioning my decision to sign the lease to live with them in a few short months. I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m anxious. I find relief in the fact that I had my best friend. My person, as we’d call each other.

After 20 years of avoiding what my sister went through, suddenly, I feel her pain.

There’s a bully in my house. I, the victim.

I cure my anxiety with continual weight loss. I track calories in a notebook that sits on my bed. For some reason, this adds fuel to the fire of young-adult bullying that I had been dealing with for several weeks at this point.

Did you see the notebook on her bed? She’s like a fat anorexic.

I hear whispers from down the hall. Name-calling, gossip & words that punched me right in the gut. This was my breaking point. I spend nights sleeping at my friend’s house and the front seat of my car, feeling unwelcome in my own home.

Cunt. Bitch. Fat anorexic.

I don’t expect my best friend to fight my battles. Well, I guess I sort of do. I try to justify it. Well, I wouldn’t wish her wrath upon anyone else. So maybe that’s why she doesn’t say anything to her.

In a moments time, I feel my relationship crumbling with one of the most important people in my life. I cry myself to sleep, counting down the days to the inevitable break up with my best friend. I wonder if she hears me from the other end of the room.

I lose her. My person.

This is just a little tiff, you guys will be fine.

I know we won’t be.

***

He told me he loved me. That I was beautiful and smart and everything you want to hear.

The toxicity tainted every word, yet I held onto them to give myself some sort of validity.

I didn’t want to tell you this, but he said your body wasn’t his type.

Did you say that? I ask him.

No, she’s trying to get into your head.

He picks her. My white shirt is stained with my black mascara.

***

I knew he was interested the moment he announced he’s “back on the market” loud enough for me to hear.

He sits next to me and puts the brown bottle of lager up to his lips. My drunk eyes are fixated on his tattoo sleeve. I want to ask about them, but I’m not sure if it’s too soon.

He tells me about his trip to Burning Man. I tell him about my time in South Africa. Our conversations are interesting and engaging. It’s refreshing.

Hours pass and it’s suddenly 4am. My watered down whiskey sits on his coffee table as we leave the couch and head up to his bedroom.

My alarm sounds. It’s 9am.

I slip out of bed and my hand reaches for his naked shoulder to say goodbye. I hesitate, pull my sweater over my head and quietly close the door behind me.

Are you going to see him again? 

I don’t know, I never got his number. I tell my friend.

I’d like to see him again, but I then ask myself. What’s the point?

I’ve taught myself to expect disappointment.

***

I hit my three year anniversary of living in a new city.

I have so many amazing things to be proud of. I’m not where I want to be, but are we ever?

I make a list of things that make me happy. The list is extensive. I’m proud of myself and the the life I’ve created. It’s not hard for me to be thankful for these people and things in my life.

Most of the time, I am fine. I am fine until I think about the toxic relationships I’ve engaged in. The people I’ve let define me and the decisions I’ve made that challenge my moral compass.

***

I grow angry at myself.

I look down and stare at the fat rolls that hang over my jeans. i envision myself as a much happier skinnier human. Oftentimes I replace happier for skinnier. By accident.

While it hasn’t always been the forefront of my anxiety, it’s remained a constant the past 10+ years of my life.

I wish I could bring you into my brain. I recount my “happiness” list, mentally written in black Sharpie. I’m calm for a moment.

It’s like graffiti. Red paint wipes across the black marker making it difficult to read.

The red paint is all I see.

Am I making sense? I’m not sure.

My brain grows tired of continually trying to scrub it away, so I give up and let it be.

I accept who I don’t want to be and spiral into a fucked up mix of anxiety, anger & sadness.

I then find myself here. Starting from the beginning and trying to figure out a way to push through.

I take a deep breath.

***

Over the years, I have learned how to curb my anxiety far better than when I was 17. At times I wish I could go back and figure out how I moved past the challenges I once thought would never go away.

I find myself pondering if the stories listed above are a result or reason for my anxiety. Maybe both. I don’t know.

Part of me is almost positive my challenge with body image will go away, too. I have hope, but it really sucks. Then the other part of me firmly believes that it will never go away.

I’m not writing this post for sympathy or from the view point as someone who is a “victim.” Mental health is harder to combat than most things in life. Maintaining work, life, love, money, etc., all while maintaining a healthy brain is fucking hard. We all have a different story to tell, my experience is no better/worse than the other guy. It’s just my story.

I have accepted the fact that I can say thousands of positive affirmations in the mirror, read every self-help book on the shelf & meditate fifty times a day and STILL have my bad days. It’s just the way it is.

The way I manage these bad days has vastly improved over the years, but in no way shape or form am I “cured.”

How do I know? What used to be crying myself to sleep every night has now been replaced with other toxic habits: aka falling for narcissists.

One toxic behavior has replaced the other and at times I hate myself for it. What’s different this time around? I know I deserve better.

Like, you’d be so lucky to date me!!! Jk…but not really. But yet, I still find myself seeking for validation in men which leaves me vulnerable to falling for the wrong ones. This, in turn, certainly does not help with the whole body image/self-love thing I’m tryna work on.

Life comes and goes as it does. You can still love your life while being anxious all the damn time. You can be confident in your abilities, career decisions & overall self-worth and still feel like the world is out to get you. It’s a stressful dynamic at times, but it can happen.

I’ve been trying reaaalllyy hard to pinpoint my triggers and figure out what leads me to think the way I think which in turn may help me ameliorate my internal struggles. You may have to track back years and years to figure out where it all began, but as I always say, words are cool and super therapeutic.

I would tell you to love yourself and know your worth but I also understand that’s hard as fuck. But I will say this…

Write about it. Talk about it. Acknowledge it. Oh, and dealing with mental health issues in high school fucking BLOWS.

#endthestigma

***

This goes without saying, but I, obviously, am in no way shape or form a licensed professional. If you are in crisis, or feeling suicidal, you should get in contact with a crisis line such as the Samaritans, your doctor, therapist or a hospital immediately.  You may also try searching our database for contact details in your Local Area or, use a search engine to find emergency phone numbers.

When you go balls deep

I’m moving to California, ma!

I was so certain of my future before it even began.

Senior year of college I spent hours at my laptop researching jobs out on the west coast. I dreamt of grazing the warm sand with my hands and touching the Pacific coast with my bare feet. Lips pursed against the large straw of my happy hour margarita surrounded by new friends and exciting beginnings. My skin, bleached with the indoor months of winter, would soon be glowing with an olive aura twelve months of the year.

I’d work in a boutique PR firm, wearing bright colors and statement necklaces paired with metallic sandals. Namaste-esque lunch breaks with a fresh acaï bowl waiting for me at my desk topped with blueberries and freshly shaved coconut.

I dreamt of paradise. I dreamt of a seamless transition from college to the unknown depths of the real world…preferably surrounded by palm trees and toned men. One that I knew would come with its inevitable difficulties but uncharted territory that I craved nonetheless.

I soon realized this “paradise” didn’t necessarily have to mean to sunsets on the beach and rollerblading along the boardwalk. This dream to move out west made a swift change spring of 2015 as graduation quickly approached.

What was paradise? To me, paradise meant adventure. A blank canvas soon to be spattered with colors of the future that was soon to come.

I craved a masterpiece. But, like, not the perfect-looking masterpiece. I want the kind that doesn’t make sense but also makes so much sense at the same time. Like, the ones that make you think. The ones that make you step back, tilt your head and think “hmm…”

Ones that weren’t created as a result of a single experience but ones that have been through some shit. Some really really good shit but also some really really bad shit. And maybe some average shit too.

When I decided to move to DC, I knew the opportunities down here were endless. The President lives here. Finding a job would be easy. And it was.

DC would be my new idea of paradise, I decided.

My life is hard to keep up with. I know this. You know this. My parents know this. I’m always scrounging for the next opportunity, bopping around from thing to thing, keeping myself and other people on their toes.

I think about my dream back in college. Moving to California, working for a boutique PR firm in bright colors and statement necklaces and just think…holy shit. How did I get here?

I think about my first job in DC. Running events and marketing for one of the most popular bars on U St — portraying that I had it all but in reality craving something more. Then applying to grad school in the midst of bartending full time feeling miserable and confused for not knowing what I wanted. Landing my “dream” job only to realize that, still, there was something more out there for me. Deciding that maybe I should have a steady 9-5 while diving into the unknown of launching a business. Feeling uncertain with a fuck ton of new responsibilities I didn’t know how to handle.

How did that last paragraph read? Confusing, right? It was.

It is.

What am I supposed to do? I plead to my career management professor. To her, I admitted defeat.

I was working full time, bartending 25+ hours a week, going to class 2x a week while attempting to run a business and freelancing. Oh, and I also need to eat and sleep. And go to the gym. And sometimes have a social life. And maybe some time for myself too.

I was torn between the “safe” option and well, the risky one.

I knew the ~office life~ wasn’t for me. Am I only saying this because I’m an ignorant millennial who claims she’s “above” sitting in a chair 40 hours a week? Am I another cliché?  

I didn’t want to be a cliché. I’m not cliché.

I expressed these concerns to my professor. Weighing the pros and cons. 38% of my brain telling me to just suck it up and deal with a job you’re not thrilled with in your early twenties and just do your time. The other 62% said something totally different.

I envisioned the “masterpiece” I wanted to create for myself. The messy paint strokes that evokes a spectrum of emotions and and a healthy mixture of the good shit and bad shit that comes with life.

I think you answered your own question, she acknowledged. I don’t say this often, and I usually tell students to go with the “safer” option, but I think that you can do something with this.

At this point, my company was about 2 months old. I had a couple of clients, but it was definitely more of a side hustle — one that wouldn’t survive much longer with the schedule I was attempting to upkeep.

So I had a choice. A big one.

Do I go balls deep in this shit? 

I had the connections, talent and the means to make something out if it. I just had to do it.

I took the holiday to think about it. I stayed at my Dad’s and spent a lot of time on my own. Scribbling ideas in Nora (the name of my journal, after the OG badass Nora Ephron), writing what exactly this would mean for my future. Accepting the difficulties that were sure to come, but trying to figure out if it would be worth it.

I scanned LinkedIn for some potential job opportunities but nothing that made me as excited as the ideas I outlined in Nora. Nothing even remotely close.

I sat in my Dad’s living room on Christmas Eve and started developing a rough business plan from a random template I found online. Something that people usually do before launching a business, but like, I’m still learning, ok?!

I then started to sketch out a brand sheet. Asking myself, what do I want this to look like? What are my selling points? What is Socially Attractive by Beth‘s brand? What voice am I going to use? What’s the story I’m going to tell?

I started at a blank page for quite sometime. Attempting to create something that was a separate entity rather than a extension of myself.

I thought of why I started the business in the first place. How my clientele started to build. Where I noticed the demand and how I capitalized on it. Thinking but trying not to overthink.

I then started interviewing myself the same way that I interview my clients during a brand session.

How’d you get started? 

Well, I landed my first client while pouring a Jack and Coke while wearing a guacamole-stained shirt, ripped jeans and a nose ring. 

That was it. That was my story. That was literally the day that I decided to make a reality out something that I had been thinking of for so long.

So that would be the brand. Why work with me?

Work with me and you get professional services with a kickass personality behind it. I might have a guacamole stain on my shirt but I also have my shit together. 

I started writing out adjectives on this brand sheet.

Creative, passionate, edgy, high-energy…

My hand started to cramp as I started to feel the right and left sides of my brain co-mingle in a beautiful, imperfectly perfect harmony.

So, yeah, I decided to go balls deep.

Fast foward about a month later and shits still all over the place. But like, in the best way.

I don’t mind the mess that surrounds me because it’s something that I created.

The hustle is stressful, but its equally as comforting to finally feel like I’m doing what I’ve known I’ve always dreamt of doing.

People see the good side of my life — aka what I put on social media. Through my blog, I try and be real with you guys and outline both the beautifully amazing and terribly horrible parts of my life.

As my business grows, I’m running into things that I don’t have the slightest clue of how to deal with. I thank Google, friends and even some exes who have helped me figure shit out, but it’s not easy.

One thing I noticed right away was that I had to be OK with working for free. Keeping the end goal in mind, but knowing that it’s going to take thousands of hours to get to the point I want to be at. I’m not even close. While I might not have office job, I’m still attending grad school and bartending ~30 hours a week to make ends meet.

I’ve run into some pitfalls and dead ends that I don’t know how to deal with quite yet. I have zero business experience and I’ve spent tons of time attempting to understand the jargon that comes with it.

I’ve learned that I’m not “above” any type of project that comes my way. A small non-profit with a tiny budget wants social media consulting? Ok. I’ll do it. And I’ll discount the price.

Why? I’m new at this. With every client leads to new opportunities and learning experiences. My niche is food, but I’ve also learned to not limit myself. To take on things that might scare me, but nonetheless things that I know I can create into something totally badass.

An example? I just landed a new client. He is restaurant owner that is developing an app on the side that he wants help marketing. I won’t go into TOO much detail. But basically, I have zero experience in app development and have no idea what any of that language even means. While the app is connected to the DC food industry, it’s still something that I initially viewed as a project that was much bigger than me.

We met and I was petrified. I did the research and came prepared, but still felt like I wasn’t going to impress him. He’s a hardcore business man. Running restaurants while developing apps and other ventures on the side.

I’m just a 24 year old with a 6 month old business. 

I then went back to my brand sheet. He reached out to me for a reason. 

I was myself and openly admitted that I had no experience in the software development field.

I reached out to you after reading your blog and look at your website. You’re a go-getter. I want to work with a hustler like myself. 

I left that meeting with not one, but two more clients.

I’m not saying this shit to brag or put myself on a high horse. I’m telling you this because I think our generation is brilliant as fuck with skills that have never been seen before. With that, I also think that a lot of millennials see the good stuff and crave it but don’t want to go through the mud to get there.

On the outside, I’m a 24 year old entrepreneur who goes to Georgetown while running a small business. Oh, you fancy huh? 

Step into my apartment and you’ll see half of the avocado that I forgot to put back in the fridge and a bunch of random shit stacked on my work desk wondering how the F I’m going to pay 40k in grad school loans in a couple of years. Open my inbox and you’ll see hundreds of pitch emails sent to businesses with a ~2% response rate. You’ll see Nora sitting there, scribbled with goals and ideas but also filled with pages soaked in tear stains and uncertain thoughts.

This post isn’t saying “hey, quit your job and dive right into the career of your dreams!” Who the fuck knows what that even looks like at this point in your life? If you do, congrats! Teach me your ways.

I guess I’m trying to put my story out there in the hopes that it might inspire people  to do more things that they care about.

It doesn’t have to be a total career switch or some monumental “ah-ha!” moment, but all I’m trying to say is that things are possible – but the journey isn’t some bunny hill. It’s a double black diamond on a snowboard for the first time (speaking from real life experience).

If you want to see things happen, make hustling a habit and accept that life is not one perfectly ripe avocado. Sometimes, it can be the half that you leave out on the counter than quickly turns brown and gross. And that’s ok! Just try another damn avocado!

Do you ever read my shit and think like, wtf is she talking about? Because same. 

I used to be so scared of sharing my blog on my LinkedIn and including it on my resume. Did I want people to see this side of me?

After going back and forth with it for some quite time, I decided it was time to stop being ashamed of who I was and start embracing every part of me that makes, well, me.

People want work with me because they see a real person behind it all. Do I show up to meetings in a green sports bra and undone hair? Of course not. But I also won’t put my Instagram on private out of fear that they will see that side of me.

What’s the point?

Own your personal brand and don’t apologize for it either.

People have asked me, “How do I get started?” I am by no means a model citizen when it comes to this, because I still don’t really know what I’m doing BUT you have to accept that it’s just a part of the process.

However, there won’t even be a process if you don’t take the leap. It doesn’t even have to be leap. Maybe you just wanna take a step. Or a hop. Or maybe just a peak over the edge.

Just know that you have the option. It’s there. You just have to act on it.

DC was never my idea of “paradise.” Fast forward 2.5 years later, and I’m not sure I’ll ever leave. This city has given me endless opportunities and a chance to grow something that I never even thought about creating.

I just had to take the leap.

I am a storyteller.

I am a storyteller. 

“What’s up with a pretty girl like you being single?” he asked in a drunken slur.

“Umm, idk! You know men these days!” I replied four vodka sodas deep, “just not ready for a boyfriend I suppose.”

After a brief make out sesh at the bar before I realized I wasn’t in college and sloppy make outs aren’t really my thing anymore, I called myself an Uber.

“How was your night?” Taj with a 4.87 Uber driver rating asked me.

“Meh, it was ok,” *deletes drunk text to ex boyfriend*

“You’re going home awfully early! The night’s just starting for some people.”

I hit the side button on my iPhone. The screen lights up to read 12:15am. He’s not wrong.

I fumble with my keys before getting to my apartment. With 6% battery, I receive a FaceTime call from an ex (well, sort of ex). My finger hits the red button. I have season 5 of 90210 to finish, I don’t want to FaceTime.

I strip down to just a bra and underwear and hop into bed. I’m too lazy to turn the heat on, so I pull another blanket over my naked body.

“Hey, I miss you. What are you up to?” My phone lights up. Oh, hey, random bar guest that I briefly dated. Haven’t heard from you in a few months. I plug my phone into the charger and shut my laptop.

I stare at the ceiling. I don’t know if it’s the Tito’s keeping me awake or if it’s something else. I switch a Podcast on, Sleepy Time. It’s supposed to help you fall asleep.

Eyes blink. The ceiling lies ahead.

I pull out my brown leather journal and open to a bank page. “This is Why I’m Single” I scribble at the top of the page.

I continue to write. Bullet note-ing the shit out of why I’m single. Pathetic? Maybe. I’ve already started the list in my head, so writing it out isn’t much different. Here was the start of my list:

  • I’m busy.
  • I’m tired.
  • I’m not pretty enough. Stfu.
  • I’m overly ambitious for most alpha males.
  • I don’t have time.
  • I don’t feel like dating.

The list continued, basically listing every reason under the sun that you could think of. For about 20 minutes, I beat around the bush with excuses until the vodka sodas caught up with me and I started to nod off.

The next morning I opened my journal to that page. Rolling my eyes at my pathetic-ness I opened my phone and realized that I had also drunkenly deleted dating apps.

I nearly ripped the page from my journal and tossed it in the trash at second-hand embarrassment from my sober to drunk self. The list started back at me, why don’t you just admit the real reason?

For months I have been pushing away men who have shown interest, dropping the ball on Bumble dates, not feeling sexually attracted to people that used to spark my interest.

I’m just not, well, interested.

No, you’re just not ready.

It’s a sign of weakness to admit when you’re just simply not ready to do something. Whether it’s moving to a new city, moving careers, or moving on from a previous relationship. Society always expects you to be ready to take the leap.

Do I have guys lining up to be my boyfriend? No, lolz. Absolutely not. Not my point, though. My point is that, yeah, I do feel sorta weird having another guy in my bed. I do have trouble connecting with other men so I avoid first dates and “grabbing coffee” like the plague. Is shutting any opportunity a sad attempt at dealing with my past? Maybe. I’m not sure. All I know is that I’m just not ready. And I should be OK with that.

I lost myself for a while, trying to get over everything and attempt to piece together everything that had happened. And frankly, I’m still working on it. Slowly, but surely.

The next statement is about to come straight from the single white girl anthem song but the fact of the matter is, I’m working on myself. Working on things that I have control of. My blog, my book, my health, my sanity, my future. Things that have remained a healthy constant the past several years of my life.

A couple of months ago, I had a news outlet reach out to me asking me to publish my story. They wanted to interview me about it and feature it in a series of articles they had been working on.

I wasn’t ready. I politely declined. 

Was I scared? No. Nervous? Not really. I don’t have any other explanation for it other than the fact that I just simply was not ready. I wasn’t ready to rehash it. I wasn’t ready to talk about it again. I wasn’t ready to admit to myself and to others that I’m still damaged from it.

Damaged.

This blog was born out of the pure fact that writing helps me understand things my brain can’t quite figure out. For months I have been beating down this idea of feeling “damaged” from my past. Forcing myself to pretend that I’m over everything, that every moment of sadness isn’t valid. I fill my time with 70 hour work weeks, random guys, and night’s out with friends, barely giving myself anytime to breathe. To write. To understand my feelings and validate them on my own terms.

I joke with my friends often and tell them I’m going on a “30 Day Dude Cleanse.” It never lasts long, as I’ve found myself using guys as a distraction from the fact that I, Beth Cormack, might be a slight emotionally damaged. Who, me? Damaged? Nahhh.

I don’t know the answer to it all. I know “time heals all” blah blah blah, and that’s something I’ve been trying to do. Just giving it time. Staying busy. Letting the days pass by and knowing that each day, a piece of my past is less relevant than the day before. Assuring myself that there are bigger and better things out there for myself. These things I know and I understand.

But, is it better to pretend the past never happened or to acknowledge it and embrace the feelings that come along with it? Or is there even a right answer to that question?

I don’t know.

Relationships have always been difficult for me. Sure, I “date” people, but usually don’t let it continue beyond just that.

We all have experiences in our life that have influenced the way that we are today. While some people are more comfortable with sharing these things, I am not.  Sounds funny coming from the girl who practically broadcasts her life on a blog, however, there are anecdotes about my life that I keep to myself — ones that I’m not sure will ever even make it into this blog. Anecdotes that help people understand why I am the way I am.

There are a select few people who know these stories. I have been molding this circle of people who know these things my entire life. It’s been working. I have a perfectly constructed “circle of trust,” if you will.

Well, had.

When I was thinking to myself, why did this relationship leave such a strong ripple effect? The answer was hard to come by at first. In retrospect, it was never a healthy relationship. While there were many glimmers of happiness, they were only temporary, glimmers that were to be whisked away by the wind at any moment.

I lost myself.

I started recalling memories of long nights lying next to each other in bed, pillow talking until the sky turned orange. Drives down the highway with my hanging out of the window and his hand relaxing on my leg.

I realized something.

I let him in. I let him in the close circle that is so hard to break through. My circle, once so tight knit and carefully constructed is now a strangely reconfigured shape I can’t ever mold back into what it once was. My circle is damaged.

Damaged.

I’ve been working on refocusing my mind to things I do care about. People who make me better rather than drag me down. I haven’t been putting too much pressure on myself to go on first dates I don’t feel like going on. I haven’t been blaming myself for feeling “damaged” at times, because, yeah, life is debilitating and damaging at times.

My perfect, carefully constructed circle is not what it once was. By choice, I let somebody else in on the stories of my past; stories that I usually use as a part of my shield of self-protection and I can’t take it back. He knows my stories, and I wish he didn’t. He knows me. And at times, I wonder if I ever knew him.

That’s the scariest part.

I am a storyteller.

These are stories I do not tell. 

Blended thoughts on a burnt relationship.

Hey,

It’s me. Again.

I’m sorry to bother you. I would ask you how you’re doing, but I don’t remember the last time you asked me how I’m doing, so I won’t.

I guess I’ll just tell you how I’m doing instead.

Continue reading Blended thoughts on a burnt relationship.

Words.

The blind in the middle window of my bedroom is broken. I should get it fixed, but I enjoy Mother Nature as an alarm clock.

You cannot hit snooze on the sun. I’ve tried. Mother Naure is relentless.

I am relentless.

Continue reading Words.

When we manipulate.

This post is inspired from not only my pristine procrastination abilities, but also the book, Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay (add it to your list ASAP).

Continue reading When we manipulate.

I was intoxicated.

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I woke up in the passenger seat and his hand was down my shirt, cupping my breast. He moved his hand around the inside of my shirt, repeatedly feeling me up for several seconds at a time. I asked him to stop, politely. He asked me for money that I didn’t have. I apologized, then asked him to please stop touching me. He slowly put his hand on my leg, moving it toward my inner thigh. He asked me for money again, this time with more anger in his voice.

“Please stop touching me. I just want to go home.”

“Look, I have to pick up other people, if you don’t have money or any form of payment to give me, then get out.”

The vehicle came to a forceful halt. The door slammed shut as he got out and took my arm and vigorously pulled me out of the cab. My arms scraped against the pavement and I could feel blood on my right elbow drip down my forearm. He sped away, the tires forming a smoke cloud in front of my face.

I reached over and grabbed a dirty Dunkin’ Donuts straw wrapper off of the sidewalk to suppress the blood from the superficial wound. The blood soaked the wrapper quickly, so I sat there, unsure of what to do with myself. The streetlamp above me flickered, and I feared it would soon shut itself off. The street was eerily quiet for a Saturday night in Boston. I looked around me and there didn’t appear to be anyone in sight. I was confused and I was helpless. I heard car alarms and voices in the distance, but I couldn’t find the strength to stand. My eyes felt heavy, and my head started to spin. I could feel tears forming from my eyes, but I wasn’t sure why. Everything had happened so fast and processing it was too much of a feat for me at the time. Maybe because it was all just a sick dream, or maybe it was just because I was intoxicated. I was simply too drunk to prevent something like this happening.

If you’re expecting a post about the dangers of alcohol, you’re looking in the wrong place.

Alcohol makes us dance on tables, it makes us drunk text our ex-boyfriends and sleep around with guys who make us feel like shit. Alcohol gives us the courage get behind the wheel and drive our friends home, simply because we’re the “least drunk.” It aids us in finding the words to say when we have been struggling to find them ourselves. Alcohol makes it acceptable to go home with a random guy who we hardly know and allow our friends to do the same, because he seemed half decent at the bar we drunkenly met him at. Alcohol also makes it OK to get in a cab by yourself in the middle of the night, in my case at least.

Alcohol makes it worth the risk. It makes the risk one that we are willing to take.

I know how you are labeling me. I was “that drunk girl who put herself in a stupid situation.” But, I have to ask, does being alcohol-induced make me less of a victim? Less of a human?

We can sleep with whomever we please, stumble all over the place, and make that short walk home alone all while intoxicated. How many times have you asked your friends, “Should I got back to his place?” or how about “How did I get this huge gash on my leg last night?” Alcohol acts as a permission slip for our careless decisions. Decisions that are usually laughed about the next day, as long as you weren’t “too” drunk to fuck up. As long as you weren’t “too” drunk to have one moment of weakness that could lead to a consequence that was never expected. A consequence that we all risk happening to ourselves when we take a single sip of alcohol.

However, nothing bad could ever happen to you, right? You know how to control your liquor.

We’d all like to think we are immune to our drunken decisions turning into a horror story. Yeah, I thought that too. My horror story has been something that has been brushed to the side because I was “too drunk.” Brushed to the side because I had that one moment of weakness, one thought that made it OK for me to say “yes” to the registered cab driver who offered me a ride and made it known to me he just wanted me to “get home safe.” My bad.

This incident happened fairly recently. It’s difficult for me to admit that I feel judgement from my friends, family, and the law enforcement involved. I have been asked, “How?” and “Why?” and even “What were you thinking?” My question to you is, how exactly would you like me to answer this? Would you like me to try and explain what was going through my head? Would you like me to blame it on the fact I was drunk?

If it gives you some sort of tangible answer for why the cab driver thought it was OK to slip his hand down my shirt and toss me on the sidewalk, then OK, I’ll tell you it was because I was drunk. Somehow my drunken state makes me less of a priority and more of “just another drunk girl” case that has gotten lost in the mix of other instances similar to mine.

I was questioned about the badge number on his cab, his name and appearance, what kind of accent he had. Where and when exactly these bruises got on my arm. I was asked where he touched me and for how long. I was asked if any part of him was penetrated inside of me.

All questions that I struggled to answer at the time. My slurred words and tears rolling down my face made it difficult for them to understand me. I didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted to go to sleep. I didn’t want to sleep away the pain, though, I wanted to sleep away the alcohol. The alcohol that had been making it so difficult for me to piece together the incident that had just occurred.

Sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with 60% still being left unreported. 

I can’t change the law. I can’t change how you view this situation, or maybe you believe I completely made it up. You might believe I embellished the situation for a good blog post, or simply for attention. I can’t change what you think, or even begin to explain the cab driver’s fucked up decision he made that night.

That extra tequila shot made me comfortable getting into a cab alone. Just like it made you going home with that random guy, alone. Just like it made you comfortable walking home with random strangers from a bar because you all lived in the same area, alone. Just like it allowed you to justify getting into a car with someone who was just a little bit drunker than you were because you live just down the road.

My story is no different from yours. My story just had a different ending, simply because luck wasn’t on my side that night.

Alcohol acts a permission slip for all of these things to happen. I am not asking for you to feel sorry for me, and I’m not even asking to change your opinion on the situation. Sexual assault occurs more frequently than we’d like to admit.

It doesn’t matter if you said “no,” at first. Alcohol makes it easy to be persuaded, making whatever happened OK, right? It doesn’t matter if you were totally uncomfortable with sleeping with him, that feeling seems to be unwarranted for because you were drunk and “didn’t make it clear enough.”

If that’s the case, maybe I shouldn’t have fallen asleep in the cab. My closed eyes made me vulnerable to getting assaulted by this man. I was basically asking for it. I was simply “too” drunk and stupid to realize the consequence of my actions.

But, I have to ask, what makes your stupid drunken decisions any less severe than mine? What makes your “I don’t remember how I got home,” or “What the fuck did I do last night,” stories any different from mine? Is it because you got away with it?

If you don’t want to do it for me, do it for everyone else who have put themselves in a situation similar to mine, where luck didn’t fall on their side. Stop blaming it on the alcohol, and start blaming it on the perpetrator involved.

I’m sure some of you reading this has had a similar situation to mine. Maybe it was OK for him to slip it inside you even if you didn’t feel comfortable with it, but you were drunk, so it made it acceptable because you didn’t make it clear enough. Or maybe you got harassed that one time you walked home from the bars, but you were asking for it because vodka said so. There are so many things we let slide because our explanations seem to be clouded by the fact that we were intoxicated.

I don’t blame anyone for what happened, and I would go as far to say that I don’t even blame myself. Sure, my judgement may have been clouded by a couple of extra shots I shouldn’t have taken, but I’d like to ask you to divert your attention away from the alcohol. This post sounds like an attack, like an in-your-face “shut the f*ck up.” But, it’s not meant to be. I’m guilty of letting my friends go home with complete strangers, and not being as careful as I should be when it comes to making decisions while under the influence of alcohol. But, we all are. We’re all guilty of it. We all go out and trust the fact that nothing bad could ever happen to us despite the horror stories we hear all of the time. We’re untouchable. We’re immune to danger. That is, until we are proven wrong.

My About page tells you that my life is nothing short of entertaining. But I think all of our lives are. We all have a story to tell, we all have a secret to hide. The only difference with me is that I have decided to make my stories and secrets public. I make things public because I know some of my posts give some people a voice who feel uncomfortable talking about it themselves. Like I said, maybe some of you think I embellish stories for a decent post, but for those of you who relate to this story, I hope it can give you some peace of mind that you’re not alone.