All, this blog is no longer updated. I have always loved having places to talk about about what is going on with me, but unfortunately my boyfriend’s ex-wife is obsessed with me and stalks me online. Given that, I can’t feel comfortable expressing myself and my feelings in a public forum. I also need to be more private due to the nature of my career, I’ve decided to close this blog. I’m back-dating this due to the fact that it hasn’t been updated in over a year anyway. Lots of love, Lady Lamia xxxooo.
For the last six or seven years, I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a menstrual cup. They’re reusable, they’re better for the environment, they’re so awesomely anti-mainstream consumer shove some bleached out cotton and chemicals up there… I really wanted to want to be one of the people that used them. I read blogs written by acquaintances about their experiences, the bad, the good; I’ve read articles on Jezebel and XOJane; but I kept putting it off for the longest time. Mostly because: gross.
If anyone was going to use one it would be someone like me. When I was 18 I was part of a feminist blogging collective c*nt.net, except it was spelled khunt.net because c*nt is one of those rare domains you can’t register. Every month we had a subject prompt that everyone wrote a post on. It was always “controversial” feminist things like masturbation and abortion, and one month it was your period. I knew everyone else would be writing things about how beautiful it is and how great it is to be a woman and have the ability to bring life into the world or some shit. I did not want to write about periods. It was so long ago, I don’t remember what I wrote. Maybe that I wrote that I didn’t get it, that I thought it was gross and not beautiful – that sounds like something I would do, especially when I was younger and much more blunt. Up until a couple months ago, the grossness factor was my main stumbling block. The last two or three months, I thought “I should finally buy one.” So I went to gladrags and cruised around. After a couple minutes of feeling morally superior (I’d totally use cloth diapers if I ever had kids, you know?!) like I was finally going to be that awesome bohemian feminist I’ve always dreamed of being – I used to subscribe to Bust AND Bitch magazine! I street teamed for Ani Difranco back in the 2000s! – I realized, there are a hell of a lot more options that the Diva cup and the Keeper. Sometime in the last fifteen years, this has gotten more popular.
So I took this handy-dandy which menstrual cup is for you quiz and ordered a Lunette from gladrags. Then I promptly left it in the box for two months gathering up the courage to try it out. This month, I took it out of the box. It wasn’t scary like the SoftCups I’d tried before taking the more expensive reusable cup pluge. I had tried two softcups, left them each in for no longer than five minutes because I felt like I had to pee the whole time. The Lunette was small, squishy (silicon) and did not have the giant scary plastic lip like the SoftCup. It was time to be a woman and do this shit.
Otherwise known as the “how to really freak out your boyfriend” post. 🙂
The holiday season, which seems to now stretch from Halloween through Valentine’s Day, is apparently a time when a lot of people get engaged. There have been plenty of really funny, viral photos that have to do with this phenomenon. While listening to the news on the tv as I did my makeup the other morning, I heard no less than 3 jewelry store commercials during one break and I thought “Oh yeah, Valentine’s Day is coming up. If you want to propose on the most trite day possible.” Sorry if anyone reading this was engaged on V-day, but it is pretty cheesy.
Then, I saw on facebook that an acquaintance who had gotten engaged around the holidays made it facebook official. I “liked” the post and forgot about it until a day or two later when she posted that she had to take it down because her parents objected to it. I didn’t ask, because um yeah that would be tacky, but I imagine that it was likely because she’s engaged to a woman and we all live in Mississippi. Whatever strides marriage equality is making in the United States, however the supreme court battle ends up, just being legal is unfortunately not going to make it any more legitimate in some people’s eyes. How sad, I thought, that two people, who have managed to find each other, who love each other, who already own a house together, who want to put up with each other’s shit for the rest of their lives should be begrudged that by anyone, simply because they happen to be the same gender. I commented some encouragement and I started to think about something I’ve thought about for the last couple years – I think I want to get married again… Someday. (Which is kind of funny because as I typed a title to the photo below, my fingers automatically typed bridge. I can’t even type bride.)
When my first marriage ended, I said that I would never get married again. I was 21 when I got married, and we split after 13 months. There were a lot of mistakes that were made leading up to that event, situations that made it clear that it would never last, and tough decisions that I couldn’t make at 21 that I would at 34. We fought all the time; he wanted kids and I didn’t; we were much too young and immature; and we couldn’t even agree on the details of the wedding. I wanted to wear a red dress but he wasn’t ok with that. I wanted to walk down the aisle to my favorite musician Tori Amos, he did not want that but I refused to be traditional and do the wedding march so somehow we settled on Charlotte Church singing “Pie Jesu.” I can’t even remember how that became the choice. I got a book about wedding planning and was horrified when one of the authors said that she used to sleep with her journals in a fireproof box near the bed, but now it housed her wedding albums – yet I let what Martha Stewart Weddings magazine told me that I had to do seep into my head. I didn’t even want to be anything traditional and suddenly I was worried about favors and spending way more money than planned on the small wedding in my hometown, where we didn’t even live. By the time the wedding rolled around, I didn’t want to go through with it but I felt like I had no choice. I wasn’t ready to break up with him, I loved him after all, and I felt like too much money had been spent and there was no way to get out of it. So I got married.
13 months later, my parents came up to Ohio to pack up all my stuff so I could move out of the townhouse that my ex-husband would keep living in until the lease was up. I was too much of an emotional mess to pack myself. I felt like I was going to die. I had never lived alone before, I had went from my parents’ house to my girlfriend Sally’s house to living with Kevin (the husband/ex-husband) and I was terrified of being alone. The year that followed was one of the most difficult of my life. It involved a lot of drinking vodka alone and watching Queer as Folk & Sex and the City and occasionally waking up on the bathroom floor where I had passed out. Ultimately, Kevin and I were both better off without each other, and can actually have friendly conversations on facebook now and then these days. There were a lot of things I had to face on my own to raise my self-esteem, to build my resilience, and to strengthen my bravery, living on my own was just the first of many things. I didn’t really see the point of getting married again though. Getting divorced was a pain in the ass and it was just a stupid piece of paper. Fast forward a few years, and I found myself back in Mississippi and getting involved in activism right around the time of the Prop 8 repealed marriage equality in California.
I found myself not only at some of the protests that happened simultaneously around the country, but later actually planning a protest outside the American Family Association (AFA) in Tupelo, MS, who had donated half a million dollars to help pass Prop 8. I didn’t want to get married myself, but I figured that I was holding those signs and chanting not for myself but for all of the wonderful gay and lesbian couples who absolutely deserve(d) equal rights. As a queer woman who mostly falls in love with women but occasionally falls in love with men, I have never understood why I can marry someone who is male, and that’s totally acceptable, but for me to marry someone female it’s an evil sin and we should all burn in hell. What’s the difference? Why does anyone care? As I continued to get older and wiser, I began to see the fight for marriage equality as both a necessary step and also a cause for the privileged. I think it’s important to have equality because it lends legitimacy in the eyes of the law and some people, but it’s just one tiny step in a journey toward true equality for the LGBTQ community. Marriage is a battle, not the war. I also realized that even though it’s still a stupid piece of paper, it’s still way more than that for anyone who is queer. Including me.
As a feminist, I know that marriage is a patriarchal ritual, a throwback to a time when women were property to be exchanged from man (father) to man (husband). An archaic reminder of when women couldn’t vote or own property or pursue higher education or work outside the home or make her own reproductive choices. I know that there’s really nothing special or that traditional about a diamond engagement ring (didn’t want one then, don’t want one now.) In fact, Salon recently reported that more heterosexual couples are choosing not to get married, but instead just adopting the terminology to reflect their commitment level. I reflected on how that’s something that gay and lesbian couples have done for years. As marriage equality has become the defining fight for LGBTQ equality in my lifetime, it has also morphed into something very different than its misogynistic history – it’s become one of the most tangible ways that gay and lesbian Americans are classified as second class citizens. It has led heterosexists and homophobes to believe that “rights” are something that they can give and/or take away from those deemed somehow lesser, that we don’t deserve to be treated as human beings. Some religious fanatics see us as walking sin, demons who choose to be different than the mainstream in order to lead children away from God, or some shit. It’s interesting to watch how for straight couples, rejecting marriage is just as revolutionary as it is for LGBTQ couples to marry. And it leads me to the conclusion that I have come to in my 30s – for people who are in love, how we choose to define our commitment should ultimately be up to us. I’m not sure why the world thinks there’s only one way to be – straight, grow up, get married, have kids, work a job, buy a house, retire, play with grandkids, die. Somehow anyone that deviates from that, or even wants to deviate from that, is regarded with suspicion. Even if you want exactly that but happen to be gay. I’ve kinda always been a weirdo and always will be, because ultimately I’m not just like the norm and it’s not because I’m queer, it’s because I define my life in ways that deviate from the norm.
Still, I am a romantic and I find something quite beautiful about wanting to stand up in front of the people that mean the most to you and tell the person that you love that despite the odds, you want to try to stay together until one of you dies. It actually makes me choke up a little bit. Because love, true healthy committed love where neither of you takes away from the other but gives, and where you’re somehow even better together – that shit is rare and beautiful. It deserves to be celebrated, however it comes into our lives, because it’s miraculous.
In one of my all time favorite shows, Sex & The City, one of the characters, Samantha, who is adamantly against the idea of love and marriage, tells the protagonist, Carrie, “wrong ring, wrong guy.” I thought about that a lot after my first husband proposed to me with a yellow gold ring. I only wear silver and white gold jewelry, and that he didn’t realize that seemed at the time to be a glaring warning sign that he wasn’t the one I should be marrying. In hindsight, it was one of many small things that was telling me that we were making a bad decision. I focused on something pretty inconsequential because it was indicative of something larger that I was frightened to admit, even to myself. The truth is, I never really wanted to get married, not even back then. I loved the idea of getting a beautiful piece of jewelry, I loved the idea of wearing a big fluffy dress and being a princess of a day, and I loved the idea of having a day that was mine where I got to be the center of attention and everyone fawned over me. I wanted a wedding for sure, but I never really wanted a marriage. I had no idea how to have a healthy relationship at all. Thirteen years later, I still love big fluffy dresses and pretty, colorful, non-diamond jewelry, but I think that I would like to have a marriage. Not a day where I’m the center of attention (and omfg why is it the bride’s day, not the couple’s day?!?! Traditional marriage is so fucked up when you really think about it) but many days where my life is made better by a person that I love and their life is made better by me.
I don’t know if I will ever get married again. I can’t see the future, and I don’t really want to. Mindfulness helps me live in the present and not worry too much about the future most of the time. I know if I do ever do it, I will be doing it for really different reasons than I did the first time around and I know that I won’t do it if I have any doubt at all. For me, it would be a truly revolutionary act. Not just because I’m queer and not just because I’m a feminist, but because I have struggled my entire life to get to the point where I can trust another human being enough to actually love them without reservation. To make a lifetime commitment to another person would be the ultimate exercise in actively trusting, trusting them and trusting myself. Politics and history aside, I can’t think of anything more brave than that.
This is the piece that preceded the “Why I Stayed” post. I shared it in a note on facebook but then I lost the nerve to post it publicly.
It’s taken me a long time to be able to type these words:
I was sexually assaulted.
It took me a long time to be able to call it what it was, even before I could say it aloud.
I’m the biggest feminist, supporter of women, of survivors, but when it came to myself I kept coming back to “I should’ve known better.” As though the world should not be presumed to be a safe place, as though those we have once cared about should never be trusted again once they’ve betrayed it.
I was sexually assaulted by an ex, and I should’ve known better.
Because dating someone means they have access to my body without my consent for the rest of my life? No, that’s silly, but that’s what I thought. She was my ex,that means it wasn’t sexual assault. I believe in marital rape – the idea that just by marrying someone, one does not grant them unlimited access to sex whenever they desire it – but I thought it was somehow less a violation because I had consented sometime in the past.
She– oh that’s another thing. Could it really be sexual assault if we are both women?
There are probably many people who say a woman can’t sexually assault another woman.But does an entire gender or sex, 50% of the population have unfettered access to me because we happen to both be female? No, that can’t be right. 50% of the population don’t have the right to touch me if I say no, but yet I couldn’t name it for the longest time.
I went over to her house of my own volition. So I must somehow be culpable. I had alcohol to drink. Because going to someone’s house and having alcohol means in itself that I consent to sexual activity. No, that’s not right. My brain knows these things don’t add up. That if someone else was saying them to me, I would be saying “No, you can go to someone’s house and that doesn’t mean you consent to sex just by showing up there.” I couldn’t say it to myself for a very longtime. None of these things, none of these things mean that no doesn’t mean NO.
I do know that.
The person I am now would not date her. I do know that, too. It’s everything that led up to that night that makes me feel culpable in what happened. I was instantly attracted to her when we met. She was good looking, physically, and she was smart, really smart. She was funny, a feminist, more butch than me, she was everything I was looking for in a partner. I should’ve been frightened when she showed me the bookcase she shattered one night when she was angry. She said she had left it there on the floor so I knew what I was getting into. I thought she was tortured and I could get her to see how amazing she was, because I could see it. Instead everything good had a scary flipside. The night we danced to “Brown eyed girl” over and over in her dining room, restarting it every time it ended; the night I locked myself in her bathroom contemplating whether or not I could crawl through the window to escape her rage.
You would think that would have been the end, but it wasn’t. My fear always evaporated in the daylight, when her smile was warm and my heart told me that I had misunderstood, overreacted, that it wouldn’t happen again. That the anger that erupted over me getting takeout from the wrong place was an isolated thing; that it wouldn’t happen again. Maybe I didn’t know that I deserved anything better than that. I hadn’t always been a good person, I had treated people badly, maybe I only deserved the laughter and fun and sex with the anger and fear attached. Maybe some of us don’t get one without the other.
You would think that all of that would have kept me from going over there that night, six months later. It should have. That’s probably why I felt responsible for so long, but the thing about abusive relationships is that we brainwash ourselves into believing that every act of violence, every outburst, every out of control situation is an isolated incident, a fluke.
Even when we stopped seeing each other socially, our paths still crossed. We had both attended a conference out of town, and I was still processing some of the things that had happened there when we spoke. I don’t know if she texted me or I texted her, it’s long enough ago that I simply cannot recall how we began talking that night. After a while, she asked if I would like to come over to talk in person, and so I went over to her house. I didn’t think that it was anything more than that. I had a girlfriend, a girlfriend that she knew, who I was in a committed monogamous relationship with. I actually thought that maybe we could salvage some sort of friendship, it was naïve looking back, but I still didn’t see the big picture clearly. I went to her house, and she made me a cocktail the way that she always did. We sat on her front stoop and we talked about the conference, until she said, “Where’s your girlfriend tonight?”
“At work.” I said.
“Does she know that you’re here?” She asked me.
“She trusts me.” I told her. And then she leaned in to kiss me. I pushed her away,with both hands. I said, “No. I didn’t come here for that.”
I dropped my hands and I turned away, I guess that I thought that would be enough.
Again,she said “Where is your girlfriend?” and then she kissed me.
I pushed her away and said “Stop it!” and she picked up the empty beer bottle at her feet and smashed it against the steps.
I don’t know if she wanted to intimidate me or just show me she was angry, but six months had given me the strength to stand up and walk away. I wasn’t scared of her anymore, she didn’t have any power over me. I got in my car and I drove away.
I told my girlfriend what had happened, and she was understanding. She believed that I hadn’t been asking for any of it. I told a couple people about it after it happened, people that I thought might be able to help. I wasn’t concerned for myself so much as I wanted to make sure that it didn’t happen to someone else.I had gotten strong, somewhere between the shattered bookcase and the broken beer bottle, but I wondered who would be on the stoop next and I didn’t want her to have to be strong. I wanted her to be safe.
As it turns out, no one knows what to do about this kind of thing. Not feminists, not people who are supposed to be doing something about all the shit that happens to women. No one knows what to do when a woman sexually assaults a woman who happens to have consensually dated her at some point. So I got tired and I got quiet. I got sick of always being the person who is making the fuss and causing the problem. I pushed it all into a tiny place inside me that stopped aching after a while, as long as I didn’t push on it. Eventually someone else got loud and spoke out about the woman who had done this to me,but I was still too wounded and felt too alone to care about whatever she had done to anybody else. No one really wanted to listen when it was me and I just didn’t have the strength to be anyone else’s advocate. Years went by and we all went on and you know the sickest part? She got away with it. What she did tome, what she did to the women after me and what I’m sure she will keep on doing because no one knows what the fuck to do about an adult female who preys on other adult females. No one really seems to know what to do with anyone that preys on other people, but doesn’t do it in a way that’s overt enough to make us feelgood about labeling them.
If you’ve gotten this far, you already read through my reasoning. Dating someone doesn’t give them unlimited rights to my body for the rest of my life. A woman doesn’t have the right to violate me because we happen to be the same gender or sex. Going to someone’s house and having a cocktail isn’t consenting to sex, or even to a kiss. I know these things and this is what I would say to my sister or my best friend or my daughter if I ever had one, this is what I would say to her if she experienced that. I still blame myself a little. My heart knows that it is rape culture though. I don’t remember what I was wearing that night, but it’s not relevant. Nothing we do or say gives ANYone the right to do something to us against our will, there is no implied consent. I lost a lot of my faith and my idealism during that time, but what I never lost is my voice. I will not be ashamed anymore. I did nothing wrong.
Last Tuesday, I noticed a post on The Militant Baker’s facebook where she shared a photo of herself with a google autocomplete pop-down over her face. It linked to a post on her website called “What Autocomplete Will Tell You About Fat Hate and Why it Needs to Stop”.
I thought, in quick succession, “how awful is that?” and “how cool is that?” Awful that these things are what people search google for most often (why are you googling looking for someone to back-up your opinion that fat girls shouldn’t wear leggings btw? I feel like the only people googling are fifteen year old girls…) and how cool is it that she’s combating it in such a bold and fierce way.
After a little while, I noticed that in my feed there were images popping up that were obviously not professional photos, like the first few. Jes, the Militant Baker, was asking people to make their own posters to share, so I did.
Here I am, in my faux leather leggings.
The story of the leggings actually begins four days earlier, the Saturday after thanksgiving. I’ve re-lost about 15 pounds, weight that I’ve lost before, gained back, and lost again, so I call it re-lost. I’ve worked hard and I’m still working. I’m proud of the weight I lost, and re-lost, and of my body. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I will be. My clothes are too big, and I feel good. I’ve blogged about my struggles with eating disorders and body hatred before, so I won’t get into that, but running is the only thing that has made me look at food in a somewhat healthy way. As my clothes have gotten baggy, buying some new things has been fun.
I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I follow the 2 least annoying Kardashians on instagram (and one Jenner, shhh.) but I started really wanting some of those faux leather leggings like the ones in the Kardashian Kollection. I make no apologies for it. There’s not a Sears in my area, but luckily they are fairly trendy so I tried on a pair of Vera by Vera Wang leggings at Kohls, liked how my ass looked, and said – why the hell not.
The plan was to wear them out bar-hopping, but when bar-hopping was postponed because of my sister’s possibly fractured foot I decided to wear them out to dinner instead. I spent about a week picturing them with different items from my wardrobe, and finally decided to dress them down a little with an AC/DC t-shirt and the flowy jacket I bought to wear with them. The outfit exactly as I pictured it, is above. I got dressed for dinner, and I have to admit, I felt hot. It was a very “tell me about it, stud” kind of moment. No matter how I looked to anyone else, I felt amazing. And then I got body shamed.
I happened to have a houseguest over Thanksgiving, a good friend of many years. As I took my bound-for-facebook selfies, she asked “Is that what you’re wearing?”
And the world came crashing down.
Suddenly I was catapulted back to when I was about twelve or fourteen years old and I would get dressed for church. I would feel like I looked nice, but then I would come out of my bedroom and my mom would say “Is THAT what you’re wearing?”
It happened enough times as a kid that the simple phrase now throws me into a spiral of self-loathing and despair.
So I started changing tops. Long tops, tunics, longer tunics with the flowy top over them. I chose one and asked “Does this look ok?”
The response was “Well if YOU think it looks good…”
but I didn’t. Nothing could look good on me. I was fat and shamed. I should never have bought those faux leather leggings. I’m still fifty pounds heavier than someone who should wear those kinds of leggings.
I hated myself, I hated my body. I hated her for knocking me back to childhood emotions that she had no way of knowing one simple question would evoke in me. See I’ve always been fat – in my mind I was fat at 115 and I was fat at 215 and I’m still fat at 190. There isn’t a number where I get to be not-fat. Whether or not other people viewed me that way, even with 100 pounds between my heaviest and my lightest weight I always saw myself as “pretty, but too big.” it didn’t matter if I was restricting food or binging on ice cream.
Finally I left for dinner in a longer shirt underneath the flowy jacket. “Cameltoe” hidden. 45 minutes late, I arrived at my parents’ house, with a bag full of other outfits. I had longer tops, a thigh-grazing sweater, and if all else failed a pair of jeans. They told me I looked cute, so I didn’t change. I didn’t feel cute though. I felt a little naked, but I think I probably would’ve felt that way even if I had never been questioned on my outfit.
When I saw the post from The Militant Baker, I wanted to contribute a photo. I tried to think of what photo to use, what phrase to google, and then I realized – my faux leather leggings. I knew that by googling “fat girls shouldn’t wear” that “leggings” would come up. I had a choice. I hadn’t posted this particular photo to facebook, because I was too self-conscious about the pants. Even though when I took the photo I felt hot as hell. So I had a choice – would I be brave enough to send this photo to a blog that has 27,000 fans on facebook? It only took a minute to decide. I slapped those google searches on there and I sent it. Now the whole world got to see my fat thighs smushing together in faux leather leggings. Even if I had wanted to take it back, I couldn’t.
The silly thing is? I don’t think I look fat in that photo. Maybe you do or some stranger on reddit, or whomever, but I don’t look fat to my own eyes. That’s a pretty rare and recent thing. I feel better at 190 than I felt at 115 – more confident, more sexy, more fabulous. It hurts me how quickly I can go back to that place of shame, but no one said you have to love your body 100% of the time, without wavering, in order to truly love your body. I will probably never love my body 24/7/365. But I worked really hard to be where I am today in all aspects – in body love, in self-acceptance, in weight, in healthy eating… Should I not celebrate the 15 pounds I lost because I have 25 pounds more to go (and 50 pounds if I want a “healthy” BMI?).
This is me. Almost 33, and for the first time in my life, I actually really like myself. So the next time I’m going out, I’m putting on those leggings. And if you have a problem with my fat thighs, keep it to yourself.
I’m a big fan of the inspirational quotes on pretty graphics that seem to make up about 20% of all my friends & liked pages facebook posts. It’s nice when having a rough day to see a quote from Depak Chopra or something from Rumi to put things in perspective. Maybe even a song lyric or Audrey Hepburn insight to brighten a dreary day. If it’s on a pretty background, hey all the better!
I realized something the other day though. You have to be really careful what you deem “inspirational” because you can paste just about anything on a sunset or graphic of a jumping silhouette and make it seem positive if no one reads it closely enough. Such is the graphic that I spotted posted on a friend’s facebook page the other week:
Now, at first glance this seems like your typical, albeit not super pretty, inspirational graphic. However, most of what is on this isn’t inspirational at all. Yes, the part about falling and still getting up is indeed, a good plan and should be celebrated, but the rest of this is really dysfunctional crap. If you love someone that doesn’t love you, don’t keep daydreaming. You’re not going to get the happy ending you dream about by loving someone that doesn’t love you back. In fact, you’re not going to get a happy ending by dreaming – period. There’s nothing wrong with being a hopeless romantic, most days I consider myself one, but don’t be a brainless romantic.
If someone doesn’t love you, pining for them doesn’t make you a hopeless romantic, it makes you a person who is clinging to a hope that is unrealistic. We don’t win people over when it comes to love, you shouldn’t have to convince someone that they want to be with you. Sometimes we look at things like these quotes, or songs, or books, or other people’s blogs to give us an excuse for inaction – “other people have felt this way, so therefore it must be ok for me” we say. Yes, it’s ok to feel what you feel but don’t pretend that refusing to let go gives you some sort of courage or nobleness. Refusing to grieve the hurt of not being loved in return is a decision to stay mired in pain, loneliness, and imagination. Daydream, but don’t daydream that she is going to turn to you one day, out of the blue and say “It’s you, it’s always been you. My God, why didn’t I see it before?” after you’ve waited for years and years for her to “see” it. She’s going to turn to you and say “Do you mind if my new girlfriend comes to the movie with us?” and you will be crushed, yet again.
No, refusal to move on is not being a hopeless romantic. A hopeless romantic cries for her broken heart and still believes that even though she thought that this one was the one that would stick, that someone is still out there. One that will love her back and meet her needs and not make her feel like a failure or too fat or not pretty enough or like she should’ve been “better” in order to “deserve” their love. We have no control over the emotions of others, or their actions. We want to believe that we do, so we tell ourselves if we were _________ they’d love us back and want to be with us. Even if that were the case, if you changed everything about yourself so she would love you, she wouldn’t be loving YOU.
So ignore the crap that reinforces your negative habits. Half the inspirational crap about love and relationships is codependent. “If I had to choose between loving you and breathing, I’d say I love you with my last breath” is pretty, but it’s also pretty fucked up. I choose breathing, I will find love again. (yes, that is a real saying that has been turned into a graphic!)
Try this one on instead:
The other day I was having a conversation about career and job search with a friend on facebook. I post a lot of political and socially liberal articles, quotes, and other things of interest on my personal facebook account – I like to think of facebook as a way to share information and learn/read, in addition to playing candy crush saga of course. I like to encourage discussions on my posts, especially links to articles that people read and then comment on. I posted this article, There are 3 unemployed people competing for every job opening followed closely by Confessions of a conservative “deadbeat”.
The friend, who has been out of work and searching for a couple months, commented with, ” I’ve applied for admin jobs (my last 3 jobs were in the field), I’ve applied for retail jobs, I’ve applied for anything I think my skill set will support…and nothing. I had one interview last week and a phone interview this morning, but I’m not expecting to hear anything positive from them. Of course, that’s not counting all of the other applications I’ve submitted since mid-May. I’m to the point of considering Wal-Mart, which is just…ugh.
Oh, and you know what I dislike? When you get asked in an interview (this has happened twice) what your career path is and how this job fits into it. I’m like, people, I just want a job so I can pay my bills and not lose my house. Career path be damned.”
A lot has been written the last few years, about how the job market is different than it used to be. For Gen Y (born 1980s – 2000) “career” does not look the same as it did for any other generation, even Gen X the one that came before us. We crave purpose and fulfillment in our jobs, something that Gen X seems to have pioneered – yet we have much more difficult economic circumstances in which to try to achieve this. For those of us in our 30s, life is not an episode of “Girls”. We are past the point where we can even dream of being able to blunder through life, relying on mom & dad for help while we “find ourselves.” Most of us know who we are by our 30s, thankfully. Some of us even know what we want to do for a living, but that doesn’t make doing it it any easier. Although pop culture would have us believe everyone in their 20s and early 30s lives in Brooklyn or Portland; treats drugs and sex as casual hobbies; and is hoping to make it big in the arts, the vast majority of us live in the real world.
By 30, you realize you have to pay the bills and if music/writing/painting/photography/performance art/acting/dancing/blogging/youtube/urban gardening/political and social activism isn’t going to cover the rent then maybe we want to get a job beyond whatever low paying crap we were doing trying to make all that work for us. Trying to become the next youtube phenom while being a cashier at a deli is awesome at 22, not so much at 32. Roommates, while a staple of life for all but the most wealthy in NYC is something that you’re pretty much done dealing with by 30 if you live in a place where a one bedroom rents for less than $1,000. Some of us even want to think about getting married, having kids if we don’t already, maybe even owning something one day. The fact that I’m 32 and don’t have a 401K haunts me on a weekly basis. Yet, even if we want to sell out, you begin to find out really quickly that there isn’t anyone buying anymore.
Articles written by freelance journalists juggling paying gigs and scrimping to make ends meet tell us we have to treat internships like entry-level jobs, be willing to do just about anything for pretty much nothing, and be professional all while hoping beyond hope that we might actually get paid very little to do something resembling a career one day. Those of us that have jobs seem to be chronically underemployed – I work a part time job in my field that expects me to treat it like a full time job. When I first started I planned to get another part time job to pick up the slack but you know what? I’m 32. I’m tired at the end of the day, I want something resembling quality of life. I’d like to spend time with my dog and go to zumba. I spent my 20s working 3 jobs and going to school, and I didn’t complain about it much. I had a one bedroom apartment that wasn’t exactly a basement apartment, it had some windows but you walked down seven steps from ground level to get to it. I worked during the week as a part-time secretary, evenings and Saturdays I did telemarketing for a mortgage brokerage firm cold calling people asking them to refinance their mortgage (this was before the real estate bubble burst!) and I still picked up a shift here and there at Jc Penney. This was while carrying a full time class schedule in college. I’ve paid my dues, do I really need to pay them again?
I have ten years of customer service experience – five in call centers and 3 in retail; type 75 words per minute on a bad day; have a bachelor’s degree in social work; have worked in the non-profit sector for five years; have extensive experience in social networking, content writing, event planning, and even design a print and email newsletter for my current position, but I can’t get a callback for a job at an accessories boutique chain. I crafted a lovely cover-letter for a part time receptionist position at a spa explaining why someone as ridiculously overqualified as I was applying, but I didn’t get any response at all. Over the last year I have spent countless hours sending out resumes, writing personalized job-specific cover letters, working my network, all trying to get a position where I’m not “under employed” and all for naught at this point.
Are the members of Gen Y going to have to scramble for the rest of our careers? Do we just need to accept that we are going to have to work multiple jobs to pay the bills? Should we forget about the possibility of retirement? Is being financially comfortable a thing of the past, reserved only for those who are either in their 40s+ now or just ridiculously lucky and talented? Scrambling in your 30s isn’t like it was in your 20s. I’m tired now, I need a solid 8 hours of sleep, I’m in bed by 10pm most nights! If I want to work out I’m up by 6:30 at the absolute latest and let’s face it once you’re in your 30s you need those workouts if you want to maintain your few extra pounds let alone lose any weight! My body aches if I sleep wrong; my feet hurt if I stand for hours on end. I can get a hangover from 3 drinks. I see gray hairs between coloring. I no longer consider a career in alt-porn an option. My mortgage is $200 less than my rent was but somehow I have less money. Oh and yeah I am still freaking single… aaaaaaargh!
Let’s not even talk about the 200+ emails I get every week about how all the animals are dying; fracking; the keystone XL pipeline; how nestle is stealing our ground water and thinks no water should be free; solar power could save us but no one cares; the GOP trying to close all the abortion clinics in america with TRAP laws; obama loves us, obama hates us; ENDA, DOMA, and Prop 8; obamacare, medicaid, medicaid expansion [all while I have had no healthcare or insurance at all since 2008]; how to love my career, how to advance my career, how to get a promotion, how to earn more as a woman, the wage gap, what women do wrong in the job market, what women do wrong when talking to their boss; why I need six months salary saved, what I should be contributing to my 401K; the non-profit I WORK for asking me for donations; how there are 10 million homeless animals and why can’t I adopt them all because they will mostly be killed because some SOB didn’t want to pay to have his dog fixed; GMOs, Monstanto; signing a petition so some bank won’t foreclose on a veteran or a single mom; signing a petition so that someone can get an operation; and my undergrad student loans want all my money now and for some reason ignore my paperwork saying that I’m going to graduate school in the fall.
Oh yeah, graduate school, what now seems like the holy grail that in two years will probably seem as hopeless and fruitless as my undergraduate education was. I am fucking tired y’all.
I think, what’s difficult about trying to navigate career at this time, in this economy, in your 30s is that it feels much more hopeless than it did 10, 20, 30 years ago. We pay more in taxes than corporations that make billions, we probably always have but now we know about it. More and more I keep hearing people say that they just want a job. We have worked hard, we have gotten educations, we have paid our dues, worked crap jobs, cared when we should not have, compromised our boundaries, been treated like crap by bad bosses and entitled customers/clients and taken it; wasn’t this supposed to be the point where we began to find enrichment in our jobs? My dream job five years ago was helping people, giving back to the world, making a difference in people’s lives in some small way. My dream job today is one that is full time, offers benefits, and doesn’t make me feel like I’m in some way prostituting myself.
I’d say that this is discouragement and depression talking, but I hear the same sentiments from my peers. Maybe we are all discouraged and depressed.