I’m terrified of the pandemic ending, because then I have to expose my new lifestyle choices.
For months, I have noticed that I feel better when I abstain from alcohol. My anxiety decreases dramatically, my skin feels better, and I sleep better. During lockdown, I made it a point to stay sober, especially after my grandfather died of the virus.
Some parts were hard. I had learned to reward myself with alcohol after a long day. I learned that when I was stressed, I could drink, and that was acceptable. …
I am nomadic. I work online. I make my own hours. And what’s more — I like that lifestyle. I have had offers I have turned down, because I want to maintain this freedom.
It has meant a less stable income, but I have no kids, no dependents, yet. That may change, but for now, I enjoy and genuinely want to keep the life I have worked for years to create.
I’ve been writing online since I was 14. Xanga, LiveJournal, MySpace, and even Facebook notes, when they were still sort of a thing.
And I’ve gotten comments from men. Grown men, as a teenager finding my voice.
I didn’t set out to write feminist content…just to write about my experiences. But they label me a feminist, a writer for women. I get “othered.” Discarded. Yelled at.
I don’t reply to all of the men’s snarky comments on my articles. I have come to expect them, to ignore them, to laugh at them. …
He remembered his first job. He had a coworker who went legally blind trying to get everything done. He had been OCD.
Then there was another who cried after work, every day, in her car.
People in suits always talked about boundaries, balance, and mental health. But that was crap. Service industries relied on untreated anxiety. Service industries relied on people not getting better, and then having kids. The traumatized, the anxious, the people-pleasers, the ones with imposter syndromes, trouble setting boundaries, and difficulty ascertaining their self-worth.
Whole businesses relied on employees who had degrees but weren’t confident in their…
It’s just in your mind, they said. They wanted her to somehow be able to relax there. After all, it was her childhood home.
A childhood home was supposed to be filled with warmth, good smells, hugs, and safety. Home was none of those things for her. It was dread. It was a trap. When she was home, she just wanted to leave. As a teenager, she slept in abandoned buildings and in people’s yards. They labeled her a problem child, lazy, and unappreciative.
Sure, it wasn’t all bad memories. But the good times had only been a life raft…
A business didn’t fix it. A baby didn’t fix it.
She was learning a lesson many learned before her. Any older woman would have looked at the situation and rolled their eyes.
“Just move on,” they would have said. “You’re already doing all the work of a single mom. Just make it official.”
First, it was living together. That would fix it. A document, a legal, binding contract. That would do it. Then, he would be all in.
A house. A business. Then, a baby.
Where was the band-aid? Where was the cure for this?
It wasn’t his fault, maybe…
She was in her highest heels. The bar had closed. Curfew was still in effect, but she could walk home, and she did. But first, she had a phone call to make.
“I just had some things I wanted to say to you.” Her nails clicked against the phone. “First of all, I am not your fucking clown.” She went down the list of things he had done wrong. Events he had forgotten, and late child support, and passive aggressive digs about her clothes, even though they weren’t dating anymore. …
The documents were not mine. They were taking up space.
“It’s not your job to go through them,” my friend said with a cautionary tone. She was worried I was falling into old habits.
“I know. But if I don’t do it, it will never get done.”
It was a pile of a marriage frozen, shoved behind a TV. Five years ago, I had taken the pile and put it into boxes and plastic bags. I thought they would come back and sort it. They had not.
Bills, dreams, notes, legal documents, photos. The papers would sit and collect dust…
If this sentence gives you pause, or made you cringe, or made you feel outright revulsion, you might be like me: a recovering people pleaser, a person who diminishes their own needs…a person who maybe doesn’t even know what their needs are.
What’s more, even if you know your own needs, you may not be able to express them. You might think they’re small, stupid, insignificant. Worse — You may have learned that if you express your needs, someone will use them against you, instead of trying to help you. Your weakness will be mocked, teased, exploited. …
As someone who was traumatized young, I literally have no concept of how people plan.
I have lived, always, day-to-day, moment-to-moment. I jump from panic attack to numbness and back. I see other traumatized relatives do the same. They have kids, relationships, and perpetuate this cycle.
It’s a feeling of never really being in control. It’s why I feel the same way about life now as I did in 2019. Because I was never able to plan.
How do people do it? When I hear people plan their lives…when they want to have kids, the career tracks they want, where…