Being a Girl

Okay my lovelies, tonight I am sharing a piece I wrote for a class with you. This poem was one I wrote for my creative writing class. It is meant to be a spoken word, but I think just reading it gets the main point across. As many of you have probably figured out by now, I am a huge feminist and often speak out about the struggles that can come with being a female. This poem highlights some of the day to day difficulties we, as women, face with societal expectations.

Being a girl is easy. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Don’t be too different, but don’t be basic.

If you don’t cover up, you’re a slut, but don’t cover too much, you prude.

Never put guys in the friendzone, but stop being a tease.

Don’t be too fat, but don’t be too thin.

Being a virgin is the worst, but having sex makes you a whore.

Don’t talk about wanting kids, but never say you don’t want them.

Wear makeup, but don’t wear so much that it makes you fake.

Don’t flirt with guys, but if you if you ignore them, you’re rude.

You can be smart, but not too smart.

If you’re emotional, they’ll say you’re PMSing, but it you’re stoic, you’re a bitch.

Don’t be boring and stay in, but don’t be a party girl and go out.

Stop being desperate for love, but make sure you don’t enjoy being single.

Don’t be too girly, but don’t be too manly.

Make your own money, but don’t be too successful.

Don’t be easy or sleazy, but stop playing hard to get.

Stop hating yourself, but don’t love yourself either.

See, being a girl is easy. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 17.

As you can see, we face a lot of paradoxes. Most of us hate them, but yet we all, boys and girls, help enforce them. We all play into ever single one of these paradoxes. We need to stop judging each other for everything little thing we do, and start focusing on accepting each other. Nobody’s completely nonjudgmental, but doesn’t hurt to try. 

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Pleasantly Medicated

I want to take this time to address an issue I have noticed these past few weeks; the issue of shaming people for using medication for their mental health disorders. First of all, unless you have a mental health disorder (or have a PhD in the field), you cannot understand what it’s like to have one. I don’t care how many psychology classes you’ve taken or how many people you know that struggle with mental health- you will never understand what it is like until you have lived it first hand. Your internet research does not give you the right to tell people the right and wrongs ways to treat their disorders. Forcing people to do things that make them uncomfortable does not help them “get over it” because it is not something you can just get over; it’s a disorder, just like lung cancer.

Secondly, those of us who struggle with mental illness are just as fed up with it as you are, in fact we are 100 times more fed up with it. We are constantly begging our brains to just give us an hour, a minute, even a second of peace. We are well aware that our brains are broken, but that doesn’t mean we know how to fix them. We are extremely aware of our disorders, but that doesn’t mean we can make them stop. You’re annoyed that your friend can’t go out to dinner because she is too anxious? Think of how annoyed she must feel. You don’t want to invite your friend along because you are sick of him always being depressed? Do you honestly believe he isn’t sick of it too? You wish your friend would just stop having mood swings all the time? So does she! We do not choose to live this way, but that doesn’t mean we are able to just turn it off.

Now, I know that some people are able to overcome their disorders without the use of medication. Some use different types of talk therapy, some use meditation and other relaxation techniques, some engage in self-help type things, the list goes on and on. But some of us use medication to treat mental illness. I am one of those people. I want to tell you my story and how I got to where I am, but first, let me make a few things clear. I am not ashamed of who I am. My brain has limitations that most people’s don’t have. It happens, and that’s not a bad thing. If people are going to treat me differently, judge me, or avoid me because of this, then that’s fine; those are not the people I need in my life. I do not want to hear how I should “stop taking that crap,” and how “medication is a ruse created by doctors to get more money,” or “how mental illness is all in my head.” Yes, it is all in my head; that’s the weird thing about mental (which means brain) disorders. My disorder is a part of who I am, and people will just need to accept that.

I sought medication to treat my anxiety and depression a little over a year ago. I had tried just about everything else, but nothing was working. I had even made a list of “Anxiety Accomplishments” in one of my journals, where I wrote down the things I had done despite how anxious they made me. What was on that list? Things like “Went grocery shopping alone, even though the store was busy,” “Made a doctor’s appointment,” and “Ordered at Subway alone, even though there was a long line.” These are the types of things my anxiety inhibited me from doing; simple, everyday tasks that most people don’t think twice about doing. I decided something more needed to be done, so I went to get a prescription for some kind of medication to help.

According to my screening, I had severe anxiety coupled with moderate depression. It is likely that my anxiety caused and fueled my depression, but that wasn’t definite. However, it was clear that something needed to be done about my anxiety, because even my doctor couldn’t believe I had been functioning as well as I had been for so long. After nearly a year of trial and error of different drugs, different dosages, and even a different doctor, I know take 60 milligrams of duloxetine every night before I go to bed. I have been on this medication with this dosage for almost a month, so it’s not definite yet, however I have noticed many changes. The most obvious being that I can finally sleep. I used to toss and turn for hours before finally falling asleep and wake up several times during the night. Now, I fall asleep at a decent time and stay asleep. This alone has helped me immensely.

Other things I have noticed? I can talk to people, I can order my food without panic, I can sit next to a stranger in class without freaking out, I can go my chiropractor without thinking about it obsessively, I can actually say how I feel about certain things, I’m not afraid to disagree with my friends, and that’s just scratching the surface. I haven’t had an anxiety attack since June, which has to be a new record for me. I don’t get stomach aches every day, and I can finally breathe without feeling like something is sitting on my chest. I can sit alone without feeling self-conscious, and I can share my blog with people I know. I can talk and write about my anxiety and depression without fear.

I know medication isn’t for everyone, and there are side effects- some of them scary ones. For some, they just don’t work very well. Sometimes other options work better for some people. I’m not saying medication is the greatest thing ever and everyone who struggles with a mental disorder should try it. All I’m saying is that it is perfectly fine to need it. It is fine to feel better from it. It is fine to take it in order to function normally. There is nothing wrong with using medication to treat your mental illness. We need to stop making people feel like there is. People aren’t ashamed to need allergy medication, because allergies is something they can’t control. It’s the exact same thing with mental illness; you can’t always control it, so you shouldn’t have to be ashamed of it. You shouldn’t feel the need to hide the fact that you need medication for your own mental health. People without these disorders have the same neurotransmitters in their brains as the ones that come from your medication; you just need a little extra help getting them. Stop worrying about becoming reliant on your medication, because neuro-typical people are just as reliant on their neurotransmitters as you are on the ones in your medication. If you can’t make your own neurotransmitters, store bought is perfectly fine.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Quirky

With Halloween rapidly approaching, we have entered the time of year where our quirks will be deemed more acceptable than any other time of the year. We all have things we do, say, and enjoy that would be considered weird by most of the world, but when we begin to peel back our layers to reveal the strangeness that lies beneath, we become better at seeing everyone as just being a human. We are all a far cry from perfect in a variety of ways, and it can be hard to embrace that. I believe in leading by example. I have a lot of bizarre habits and peculiar behaviors, but that’s not something to be ashamed of. Halloween is the holiday for abnormality, and that’s exactly what I am (maybe that’s why it’s my favorite holiday). For this post, I thought I’d share some of my quirks with you, and hopefully inspire you to peel back a few layers of yourself, and let people see the beautiful weirdness that lies beneath because it is that beautiful weirdness that makes you who you are. Without further introduction, here are my top 10  weird “things.”

  1. I like to wear shoes that make noise when I walk. When they don’t, I tend to step in a way so that they do. This makes me feel powerful, important, and confident. It’s so empowering to hear myself walking down a hallway. I like the sound of my shoes on the pavement, the tile, whatever the floor is made of. I don’t know why this is or when it started; all I know is that I like it. Believe me when I say I have a lot of shoes, I mean A LOT, and I have gotten very good at walking noisily in most of them.

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  1. I love butter, especially when its covered in sugar. I don’t know what it is, but the two mixed together are absolutely delicious. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit around and eat butter rolled in sugar, but sometimes a little piece is just what I need, like when I’m beating it for baking and some flies out of the bowl. I always lick the butter off the knife, and slather my toast in it. I have even dipped an Oreo in butter (to be fair, I was heavily intoxicated), and it was better than you’d think. I enjoy butter far more than the average human.

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  1. Speaking of odd eating habits, I also love the taste of pickles dipped in peanut butter. It’s a perfect combination of salty and sweet. I love peanut butter and have definitely downed an entire jar of pickles in one day (including the juice), so putting them together just makes sense. Many people are grossed out by this, until they try it. Once they eat it, many people also find it quite appetizing. So, don’t knock it until you try it. I promise it tastes a lot better than you’re imagining.

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  1. I have a pretty impressive collection of nutcrackers. I have lost count of how many I have. There are Christmas ones, Halloween ones, and some that are just fun ones (like the Thor one I just bought a few days ago). Not too weird, right? Well that’s just the beginning. They also all have their own names sharpied onto their bases. Getting weirder… but wait there’s more! I also introduce them when people come over. I think they are so beautiful and interesting. It’s a wonderful, colorful collection to have that sometimes serves as a great conversation piece.

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*Actually part of my collection. 

  1. I like to name objects. The vacuum in my apartment is Lester, my car is Aegon (thumbs up if you know that reference), I named a stick Carl- I could keep going, but I would like to keep the little friends I have. I refer to things by their given names, and many people join in (which is the best part). I find that things are much more cooperative when you refer to them with their own name, and treat them as a being. Does my car actually have feelings? Of course not, but I also got four months out of a car after the mechanic told me she was a goner, so I may be on to something here.

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*This is Lester.

  1. I like rooms dark. I am currently typing this with my bedroom light off, the sun down, and the only light being my computer and a candle. I don’t know why, but I feel more comfortable in the dark. I have always preferred the night, so it seems logical that I would enjoy sitting in the dark as well. I know most people prefer to have lights on, but that’s just not me. As I like to say, I like the room to be as dark as my soul *insert evil laugh. *

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  1. I love having my feet tickled. Believe me when I say, I HATE being tickled… except on my feet. I don’t know why I find this so enjoyable, but I really like the sensation. I guess there are things that are far more out there to find pleasurable- looking at you Mr. Grey- looking not judging ;).

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  1. I have an extreme addiction to smellys. When I say “smellys,” I mean things like perfume, candles, lotions, etc. I have candles everywhere, a ton of wax melts for my wax warmer, a ton of different shower gels, and a whole lot of scented lotions. I love things that smell nice. Bath and Body Works gets a lot of my money, and I have almost every single one of their perfumes (except the new scents, which I have every intention of buying tomorrow). As of right now, I own 46 bottles of perfume (I just counted). Out of those, five are overlapping scents (normal sized and travel sized). I don’t know how to stop… at this point, I don’t think I want to.

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*Just a portion of my perfume collection. 

  1. One of my weird hobbies is memorizing things. I like to find lists of things just to see if I can commit them to memory. An example of this is the Greek alphabet, which I still can recite. I also know all 45 presidents in order, because one day I decided I wanted to memorize them. It’s an odd quirk, but it’s also kind of fun to see how far you can push your brain, plus it can make a great party trick!

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  1. I make celebrity prayer candles. Yeah, you read that right. I like to replace Jesus or Mary’s head with a popular celebrity (sometimes an animal), put it on a candle, and give it as a gift. The candles started as an anomaly with my friends, but now they get excited when they receive one. If you’re lucky maybe you’ve gotten one, if not stay tuned, yours may be underway.

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*The Morgan Freeman prayer candle I made for my roommate, which now sits on the back of our toilet. 

So now you know some interesting things about me, some a little more surprising than others. We all have these types of things- the key is to stop trying so hard to hide them. It’s okay to let out some of your crazy. Learn to embrace who you are, and everyone else who matters will embrace you too. Keep working on loving your perfectly imperfect self, and I will continue to work on loving mine.