Friday, July 13, 2018

Futile Devices


I finally told Matt I am not interested in hanging out anymore and as expected he is not taking it well.

For the 4th week in a row he has hounded me about hanging out on the weekends to the point where I finally had to shut down the possibility of us ever doing so in that capacity again. It's so funny that he wants to resume our Sunday hangouts but keeps insinuating that it's just to help me out because I hate Sundays.


I do not dread Sundays. Like any normal person I tend to get the Sunday Blues right before bed because I don't wish to start another work week. But I love my Sundays. We are homies.

Of course this is just another example of Matt not being truthful about his intentions. And i mean this wholeheartedly. I am a person who is ruled by feelings so I understand how objective feelings are. But intentions are more clear cut and Matt has yet to decide what he wants from me.

Instead of saying that he wants to start hanging out again because he misses me or my home or even that he is bored and lonely on Sundays....he has tried to gaslight me into thinking I am the one begging to hang out. As if he is doing me some huge favor by coming over for 12 hours watching my tv and playing my PS4 while i count down the hours until he leaves.

His texts range from "let me know when you want to hang on Sunday so I can help you with your story" to "If we don't hang out soon i'm going to be too busy with my other summer plans" to my favorite "i'm just trying to do you a solid since you don't have as many friends as i do".

 Last Thursday, after i cancelled on him again, he wanted to know if I was available to hang out after work because there were cops in his apartment complex and he thought it would be fun for us to watch from across the street "You could stand by and watch as I interact with the cops. You could be my sidekick. "

LE FUCKING SIGH.

This boy is relentless, bothersome and a tab bit daft. When I told him I was going to spend the Fourth of July with [redacted] and his family he joked that it was probably a Get Out sort of situation and that I was only invited so they could "steal my sweet black genes".  It was this comment alone that cancelled any tentative plans with Matt the following weekend.

The only reason I want to remain on good terms with Matt  is because I know now that there is a mature way to remove yourself from a toxic relationship. In the past I have completely shut down and fled in fear instead of communicating and this has only resulted in bad blood. Because Matt and I have mutual friends in common I don't want to isolate myself from them just because of him. I don't believe Matt is a bad guy, he is just another person who was hurt once or twice and hasn't learned yet that you can grow from those experiences. Instead he is a jaded man child who can often be condescending and demeaning because of his feelings of inadequacy.

I will no longer internalize Matt's attempts to devalue me in order for him to value himself.  I literally heard this gem of advice from Instagram of all places and it just stuck with me. Matt knew he did not deserve my kindness or affection or even love so he went out of his way to dehumanize and devalue me once he recognized he had so little to offer.

I have spent the last few months hanging out with friends, enjoying my personal time and finding comfort in the life I have created for myself. I feel spoiled by all the incredible small moments that have taken place in such a sort time and none of it has been a result of having Matt in my life. So why should I continue to let him hijack a smidgen of my happiness because he won't be honest with his intention. His texts leave me feeling anxious and cranky and the idea of having him in my apartment again fills me with dread.

On Monday he asked again to hang out, this time attributing it to his "super busy schedule". He implied that if I didn't solidify hanging out the next few Sundays, he would be too busy with  awesome summer activities to squeeze me in. I must reiterate that I have not expressed a desire to hang out with Matt since February either in person or via text. I have never gone out of my way to ask him to Netflix and Chill since the disaster that was Valentines Day and after he forgot my birthday. And even prior to those disasters, hanging out on Sunday was an idea HE came up with and that I only agreed to because i thought he liked me.

I was okay before Matt came along and I will be okay long after him. I am beyond annoyed (and a little insulted) that he keeps insinuating that he is doing me some big favor by hanging out. Especially since he is the one that is so eager to come back around. So...I finally told him the truth. Or at least my very nice version of it. I said that I was okay not hanging out anymore. That I am equally busy with summer and [redacted] and that I wanted to devote as much time as I could to my happiness. I wished him a happy summer and that I was appreciated the few times we hung out but am no longer in  position to hang out like we used to.

I could have been nastier. I could have told him that the way he talked down to me was the main reason we will no longer hang out. But i'm really in a great place these days (despite my lapse in anxiety and dread every once in a while..i'm human ya'll) and it's not worth it. Matt's not worth it. Of course he sent me a snarky reply shortly after, followed by your classic guilt trip and then threats to not talk to me anymore. It is what is.

I feel so much lighter and happier now that it's over. I am learning so much about what I want from a partner and also what I have to offer as one that anything less than that seems like a waste of time which is so precious to me. Putting myself first for ONCE is such an eye-opening, humbling and euphoric feeling. I wish i had done it sooner.

Monday, July 02, 2018

The Week Ahead


On top of world falling apart at the seams, Matt is trying to creep back into my life as if he is feeding off my general malaise and despair these days.

A few weeks ago we both attended a mutual birthday for a friend. I was not surprised that Matt was going to be there because this boy will show up to any and all invitations and he is super close to my friend and his wife. Of course,I didn't want Matt's presence at the party to stop me from going. Why should I have to hand over all of my friends because of him. We weren't dating. No one in our small circle even knew we were hanging out so in theory we should be able to be at the same gathering today without any issue.

Should.

I have a longer more detailed entry about that night which I may publish eventually. I feel weird writing when I am so stressed by the world but I will find a balance. I have to. What I will say is that the night was another comedy of errors where Matt was trying to establish a connection again when no one was looking but the moment we were around other people he pretended as if he didn't know me. Classic.

Since then he has been blowing up my phone NONSTOP. It is consistent, annoying texts asking if we can start hanging out on Sunday's again. I do not want to hang out with this boy. Perhaps he realizes how much he misses Sundays at my house. The companionship and the conversation and the free food. Maybe he misses how I helped him with his attempt at writing a series of detective novels. How i gave him pointers and made the story better for him by fleshing his ideas out more.Whatever the case the boy definitely wants back in and is being too aggressive about it.

Matt is completely unable to conceptualize  that something is not the same between us. Even at the party he didn't ask  why i deleted him from FB, instead he asked me if I was taking a break from social media. Instead of wondering why I hadn't texted him back in 6 weeks...he wrote me an email and asked if there was something wrong with my phone. Instead of saying he missed hanging out with me, he said i'd struggle with the Sunday Blues without him and that he would  do me a solid by hanging out with me again on Sunday to help.

In his mind there is nothing he could have done that would cause this huge cosmic shift in our relationship.Absolutely nothing and perhaps I blocked him to see if he would put two and two together.I didn't do it because I wanted him to come groveling back at me. I wanted him to recognize something was wrong, take ownership of it and then make attempts to fix it.  He hasn't. He won't. Though I am a person who love words, I believe actions are stronger. And with Matt his words and his actions are shit.

I've been going over Tim's house every Tuesday for Wine and Pizza. When i get to his house he'll have a blanket on the couch for me ("because your feet get cold") , a bottle of chilled wine waiting for me ("I don't understand why you drink it chilled but i put yours in the fridge they way you like it) and pizza already ordered or in some cases waiting for us when we get to his house. He is perhaps the most considerate man i've ever meet who makes every attempt to make sure you are your most comfortable. And idk, there is just something about a friend who listens and pays attention and then applies that knowledge to good use that is.....necessary for me. 

It is how I express love and affection, so receiving it back for the first time is quite eye opening. Showing someone you care is more important to me than trying to have the right words. Matt has neither. He is full of knowledge but he is not kind or considerate. I should have known this when his words turned against me. When he kept telling me I wasn't good enough or tall enough or Indian enough or sexual enough or aggressive enough. I should have known when he mocked my desire to have kids and a husband and a few pets. But i think i was waiting for his actions to make up for his words and they never did. He forgot my birthday, ditched me on Valentine's Day, disrespected me in my apartment and watched me cry and do nothing.

But now he wants to come back into my life and suck all the energy I have left and I can't allow this to happen. I just can't. I have no interest in hanging out with Matt anymore. Not after everything. And I feel so cold and dismissive saying this but after everything Matt has said and done I shouldn't care what Matt thinks of me. On Friday though, I felt pushed into a corner by him and agreed to hang out so he would stop asking me. I felt worn down by his guilt and pressure.

"My sundays are free again. and you said you weren't doing anything the Sunday after the 4th of July so i don't understand why we can't hang out". So i agreed to and now I have to back out of this ASAP. I am trying to figure out why I attract these men. What vibe I am giving off that makes me so susceptible to these soul sucking men who are wearing me down. I think I am kind and compassionate which is often viewed as a weakness instead of incredible strength.

I plan on texting him today and telling him the truth. That i don't want to hang out next weekend or the weekend after that or the weekends that follow. I want to do it in a way that isn't rude or abrasive but just honest. I'm sure Matt is going to be the right guy for some girl but that girl is not me. I'm sure Matt is a decent friend but he is not one to me. So I have to just lead by both my actions and words this time around and be as up front with him so I don't end up in the same spot we were in a few months ago. Where I give and he takes until there is nothing left.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

FUCK!

every time i go to write something about what is happening in my life there is another breaking news alert that sends me into a deep deep depression.

Things are not well in America. We are severely fucked.

I want to personally extend a fuck you to anyone who voted for #45 or who didn't vote at all for whatever selfish reasons.

Elections matter. Elections have consequences. They effect your neighbors and co-workers and community as a whole. They effect individuals in the minority. They effect everyone.

I am a black women in her 30's who is TERRIFIED about the future. My country does not feel like my country anymore. I AM TERRIFIED.

TERRIFIED.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fatigue

noun
  1. 1.
    extreme tiredness, typically resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness
    I cannot express enough how utterly tired I am all the damn time.Physically, mentally, emotionally and in a weird agnostic way...spiritually.  Continuing news coverage has me down, social media depresses me, my job is a daily shit-show and my love life has sputtered to a complete and utter halt. I am not even sure it ever really sparked up to be honest. 
    I am a nervous wreck all the time and honestly this has a lot to do with the state of things in America. My country doesn't feel like my country anymore and I never knew how much of my identity these part 8 years was tied to political stability. I am not sure how my ancestors (African Americans) maintained their mental wellness during more turbulent times in our country but I am not holding up as well. There is a knot in my stomach all the time that never goes away and yet I still have to manage my day to day as if shit isn't happening around me. 

    I am sullen and moody but also constantly on alert for troubling news. I was once in a bubble that has now burst, replaced instead with a vacuum that I can't escape. And it doesn't help that social media has turned into a platform I no longer recognize. I just want to see pictures of my friends and family living their best lives and instead it's just another divisive tool . But i cant turn away, i can't delete, I still consume all of the information though it makes me weary and depleted. 

    Recently I saw something about News Fatigue and I may have hollered in agreement at the term. Because when I think about it and how I am feeling these days....it's literally exhaustion and constant fatigue. I am overwhelmed to the point of sheer tiredness and this has seeped into my well being and ability to take care of my self emotionally and mentally. 

    On top of that things everywhere else in my life are just out of whack. Matt has briefly resurfaced after contacting me via email because he has been blocked everywhere else. Instead of ignoring him of course, I responded  back to his very generic email and he texts me occasionally with neither apologetic of conciliatory approach to our falling out.  Of course, we both agreed to attend our mutual friends birthday dinner this weekend in the city and while I know I am going to look INCREDIBLE, i am anxious about having to be in the same space as this boy. 

    My friend Tim and I are growing closer than ever and it is strangely a healthy platonic relationship that i didn't know i needed. I have a tendency of falling for all of my guy friends and Tim was no stranger to my budding feelings. But i am learning that men and women can be friends without this romantic attachment floating between them. As I grow older I suspect I will outgrow ideologies that I once held firmly in place. I used to think it was absolutely impossible for men and women to be friends but I can admit now that I was wrong. It's hard but not impossible. 
    Tim and I compliment each other all the time, hang out at his house regularly, have intense and also very comical conversations. We share a slew of similarities but also differences that sometimes butt heads but are always resolved. And yet there is no there there. He is attractive and funny and a gem of a human being and yet I hope he finds a sweet person to settle down with and that sweet person is not me. And the feeling is mutual and yet without resentment and it's....eye opening really how much I am learning from this relationship. 

    And perhaps the tragedy of the Matt situation is that THIS could have been us. This healthy version of a male-female friendship, since I now know I am capable of doing so without it completely going to shit. I can tell with his dumb texts now that he is trying to reel himself back in with his very generic and safe topics but it feels too late to try and mend anything. I am too tired to even make excuses for what went wrong (primarily our inability to be open about what we wanted) and I am no longer interested in Matt as a partner. 

    But the distraction was nice. Because without it, the fatigue sets in more and more. I am tired at work, I am tired around my friends, I am tired all the damn time even though you couldn't tell from my managing facade. I have to help my friend Heather move in a couple of weeks, on-top of planning my own trip home in August. There are gatherings and get togeters that are being coordinated and a social life I am trying to fill up with as much time and fun as possible.
    But I needed to just take a minute to recognize how submerged I feel and that I am needing to find new ways to surface for air. 





Thursday, May 10, 2018

Side Effects of Dealing with Fuckboys


Y'all, the next time I get super bored on Sunday because I am sullen about how lonely I feel these days PLEASE remind me that that does not mean I should unblock certain fuckboy's who were recently banished to fuckboy island because I was feeling sad and despondent and lonely. Deal?

I am so annoyed with myself and lack of will. I recently discovered (aka was told repeatedly by multiple family members and close friends) that I don't set boundaries and this is why people take advantage and smother me to the point of exhaustion. And because I am on this continual journey of self discovery and growth..I naturally sulked as this truth floated to the surface with arrogant buoyancy. Fuck you truths, can you stop being a know it all for like 2 seconds!

There has been a drastic change in my life these last two years and for the first time in a while I feel...alone. Like I did in college, except worse because I now know what I am missing.  I don't have as many friends as I used to and my free time is endless. Gone are the days where I could barely squeeze in time to eat because I was hanging out with friends and dealing with Sean and working two jobs and going to the city every freaking weekend. Suddenly, there are quiet nights at home, weekend running errands and an occasional dinner date with friends if we can find the time to catch up.

But the level of activity has decreased ten-fold partly by my own doing but also because growing up comes with a lot of losses. People settle down, have children, move away and life just goes on. And while I know this, I live this, I must admit I am fucking miserable in my current state. I don't miss Kat or Matt or Sean but i do miss having plans and things to do and people to text regularly. I do miss being needed even though that meant being used.  In retrospect I was almost willing to accept the disrespect and the smothering and the meanness because they filled a space that was so empty before. I was so lonely and then suddenly I wasn't and for once I felt like I belong.

But those relationships weren't healthy: Kat was co-dependent, Sean was a sociopath and Matt...well Matt has narcissistic tendencies and he valued his time and sense of being more than anyone I have ever met. So I wasn't growing and evolving and living the best version of my life with those people in my life but am I living it now? Sure  I  made a swift exit from those relationships but I am now consumed by boredom. Utter boredom.

My day to day consists of: waking up extraordinarily early so i can make the rounds of all my social media accounts. I then get ready for work which involves giving myself a pep talk in the mirror followed by several instances where I utter " i really don't fucking want to go" before i drag myself to work. Then there are 8 hours of desk sitting, filed by maybe an hour of actual work but mainly just sitting and daydreaming and podcast and then music and desk sulking. Then i go home, prepare my lunch and outfit for the next day before falling asleep to ANOTHER Dateline marathon.

This is my life! And I guess this was kind of okay, when my weekends were filled with activity and interactions and friends but now they are sort of just filled with weekly Target runs and then self loathing. I am in such a transitional moment in my life and I am not adapting as well as I wish. I know that things will get better. I know that I am measuring my successes more harshly because FB keeps reminding me that people are "happy" and "coupled up" and living their best lives while I check my message-less phone and eat popcorn for dinner for the second night in a row because I am too lazy to microwave anything.

I know that there is so much in store for me and I just have to be diligent and also patient. But while this occurs, I miss certain things, I want new things, I crave stability while also wanting to just upend the status quo. And yes these are all contradictory wants but I am bored, oh so very bored. I am annoyingly looking for affirmation in all the wrong places and on Sunday after spending most of my day in bed watching another British cooking show, i started making excuses for Matt's poor behavior and disregard and general lack of respect because I feel...alone.

I know this is not a good reason to make any decision and since that lapse in judgment, I have installed all of the block measures again (except for the FB block because there is a 48 hour grace period to mourn your dumb mistake) because I deserve better.  What i wanted, didn't match up with who he was and what he wanted and he was wasting my time which is a huge offense.

The other day I was listening to the  podcast Small Doses by one of my favorite comedians Amanda Seales. She continually drops life gems on her Instagram page that punch me in the stomach with it's relevancy. So naturally it made sense to subscribe to her podcast for weekly advice and life lessons. Yesterday's podcast was about Fuckboys and the literal damage they are inflicting to the dating world. Until recently I did not think Matt fell into this category. He was a nice guy after all, well educated, culturally and socially woke on the surface, and champion for women.

But now that I look back on all of our interactions, I think Matt was the epitome of a Fuckboy because of his nice guy Schick. He'd talk openly about the #Metoo moment and respecting women but than would go into an hour long spiel about he couldn't really like a girl until he had sex with her. He constantly described what he didn't like in women which almost exclusively was looks based. She couldn't be too short, she could only have long hair, she couldn't wear rings (because he preferred bangles), she had to smell a certain way and wear specific colors, she had to also be a brown girl who didn't want to have children nor cats.

Under his "i'm a feminist" facade he constantly crossed sexual boundaries with me, that I let slide. He was never EVER physical but now that I look back on it, we talked about sex inordinately. And don't get me wrong, I love talking about sex but the only person who needs to know how many sexual partners i've had and whether I like "going down" should be a person who I am or will be in a relationship with. My platonic male friend should not ask the questions Matt asked of me and I regret that instead of shutting the inquiries down, I laughed and mistook it for affection. I mean he once asked me (in the  middle of watching a movie)  how many holes i'd be open to having filled in a sexual encounter and when I showed general discomfort at the question he laughed and said he liked girls who didn't embarrass so easily. 

He talked openly about his physical love for minorities and mainly brown females but expressed little sympathy for brown skinned men while also reverting to typical stereotypes to show superiority. He used to tell me all the time that he loved {insert specific dark skinned race] because the men in [insert same specific dark skinned race] don't treat them well. He'd say Asian men had small dicks and Hispanic men were not smart and African American males were prone to laziness. All of "these" men treated their women so poorly he was in theory "saving" brown women by loving them so much.

 It was always "god, I love black women BUT i don't understand why black men aren't smart and rely only on {insert black male stereotype} to get by. He made me as a black female feel like I should be grateful  that he took an interest in my beauty which society has been slow to accept. But his interest seemed more like a fetish than anything else.

I am fuming over these realizations now. It's been a month since I last talked or saw Matt but I clearly saw the signs early on but  i sort of just (as I always do) made excuses. I am still making excuses.  Once I have made up my mind about a person (either good or bad) I am too stubborn to change that initial perception even when presented with that facts. And I wanted Matt to work out for my own selfish reason.  My mom was happy that i found a guy and my friends were excited that I was finally about to be coupled up. And seeing that happiness from my friends and family were overwhelming. Like the only thing I was missing in my already decent life was a man. So i was willing to try and have him fit that mold until...well it and him crumbled under his fuckboy reality. 

But I cannot place all the blame on Matt. I have to take responsibility for the fact that I saw  past obvious red flags. It was weird enough that he reached out to me after a 5 year silence. Especially since we weren't that close at the store and had had several miscommunications while we worked together. It was strange when he called me his best friend after hanging out for a month. It was also weird that he wanted to regularly hang out at my house for 12 hours straight but had no interest in dating me. He was a time waster and it is not only clear that he reached out to me out of desperation but because he knew I'd respond. Like I always do because that is who I am an emphatic person who loves a good sob story.

But moving forward, I have to set boundaries and have standards and hold people accountable when and if something is crossed. I have to stop being so damn accommodating. For someone who can be opinionated and forceful with her words when I need to be...I tend to give romantic prospects the benefit of the doubt. I become submissive and passive and unlike my real self out of fear that they will reject me if they knew how strong I was. But who gives a fuck? Especially when this passive approach makes me susceptible to assholes.

So I am making a list. An Oh No list to figure out what my boundaries are so that I can be more explicit about them moving forward. I am sort of a a boundary-less person because I am a people pleaser and I want to be accommodating because I have mistaken it for showing devotion. But fuck that life. No more going out of my way to live up to someone else's expectation when all I am given back is scraps. Or worse....they do not live up to my own expectations.

So outside of the general "Oh no" deal breakers like: someone who is mean to children or animals, someone who expresses any sort of racism or discrimination or general cruelty to people, someone who is nasty to hospitality workers AND anyone who is a Trump Supporter (this does not mean conservative, this just means Trump supporter), I need to have a concrete list of unacceptable things that cross a boundary for me. I can only hope in doing so I can avoid these landmine of assholes in my periphery and maybe even pave the way for something greater. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

H O M E

There are very few things I actually miss about working in retail, cause lets be real....once an old lady with what can only be surmised as Alzheimer tries to physically fight you at the cash register because you remind her of some bitch from 1920's who stole her boo at the speakeasy, the minimum wage and employee discount really don't seem worth it.

I haven't worked in retail in almost 4 years and it's insane to think that I slaved away in the aisle of the bookstore for as long as i did. There used to be this time, not so long ago, when I worked two jobs, the latter at crazy hours with customers who included a guy who smeared shit on the bathroom mirrors so frequently we donned him the phantom pooper. The 3rd time it happened, I remember we all just stopped working so we could run to the bathroom in disgust and fascination at the balls on this guy for having poop as his calling card.

Now that I am a slave to the cubicle life, I sometimes look back at my time at Le Sad Store and wonder how i did it for so long. Especially because there were almost no perks to the job.

For one, minimum wage is a bitch and anyone who complains that we shouldn't raise it have never worked a "real job" a day in their life. While working a cushy office gig pays your bills and weekend off ....you get a warrior badge if you survive working retail. Because a lot of people don't.  I started at Le Sad Store making $9 per hour and post college, this seemed like a gold mine of a hourly wage. I had just come off working $5 at my school library which allowed me to buy weekly foot-longs from Subway while I played the sims to kill time. So of course the $4 bump seemed like my first real step towards financially security. I was a fool!

Realistically $9 aint shit when you have actual bills to pay and add rent on top of that I barely had enough money for food at the end of my paycheck. Despite this I still went out regularly, was a frequent buyer of tattered Forever 21 clothes and abused the shit out of that employee discount by funneling most of my paycheck back into the company with all my  unnecessary book, dvd's and cafe purchases.

Secondly, working on the weekend should be banned! You go through most of your life taking advantage of Saturday and Sunday that when it is stripped away from you it feels like a death. For almost 8 years, I worked on weekends to the point where Tuesday and Wednesday's were my day of rest. But there is something sacred about Saturday and Sunday. It's hard to explain. Saturday just feels like a Saturday. As does Sunday. The two days are supposed to be about relaxation or fun if that is your choice. Working should not even be a thing one has to do.

Towards the end of my time at the bookstore I was clocking in only around 28 hours a week. EVEN THEN, most of those hours were spent working on the weekend. And idk, it's just sort of awful. Saturdays should be for errands and hanging out and movies and naps. On Sunday, I should only have to wake up enough to maybe put on pants and find something binge-able on TV. I should not have to work for 8 hours surrounded by people who openly choose to be at my place of work! it's offensive.

But the real crux of working in retail is the customer because most people are trash. I am an insanely accommodating shopper because of my time spent being harassed, embarrassed, demeaned and once again PHYSICALLY assaulted by the general public (she brought the cane out!). I try to buy things only online so I don't even have to set foot in any retail establishment (except Target. I love Target) because I know how awful people can treat retail workers. I also judge potential friends and romantic partners by how they interact with severs, cashiers and other "hospitality" workers. If you don't say "thank you" or are dismissive or leave a shitty tip you are a trash person who i do not want to know. There are way too many awful customer stories to detail but just know that it's worse than you could ever imagine.

And while the actual customers are terrible what's even worse is the entitlement people hold over you. People assume you work in retail because you aren't qualified to work anywhere else. That you should just get a real job. That looking for books and ringing up customers is super easy. And to give them credit, a lot of it is easy but that doesn't mean anyone who works in retail isn't busting their ass. I was in the best shape of my life at the bookstore because I was on my feet all day. Between shelving books and finding books and chasing teenagers out of the store, I burned more calories at work then I ever did in mandatory PE classes. I also had to sacrifice holidays because people love to shop. We worked all the Eve's and never got any government holidays off just so you could buy the latest New York Times bestseller.

Also, working parents would often leave their kids (babies) at the store as if we were a personal daycare center and while it wasn't our responsibility to watch them we legit kept watch over children left to fend for themselves at the store. We also had to deal with "regulars"...well on the regular. People who frequented the store so often they might as well have lived there. They talked to us repeatedly as if we were their friends and most times we were empathetic ears to lonely and worn down individuals. So yea, finding someone the Secret for the 7th million time isn't that hard BUT spending 7 long hours on your feet, making less than $10 an hour as people continue to berate you because you can't find "the book that has a red cover" can be a daunting if not noble venture.

I must have a form of PTSD from my time in the bookstore because even though it has been four years since clocking in, I do have a tendency of watching Youtube videos of customers freaking out in public. My Youtube history is full of videos of customers behaving badly while people stare on horrified and appalled and yet still paralyzed to do anything.  At first I thought this was just me being a huge ass weirdo, but I confirmed with another former bookseller worker that I am not the only one who does this! I did not become a lifelong retailer worker but there is a smidgen of guilt for the life and friends I left behind and maybe having a reminder every once in a while is how i leave pay my penitence.

Because if I can be honest, while almost every fucking thing about retail was awful and dreadful and stress inducing....I miss my coworkers tremendously. I miss my friends who I will always consider family even if I no longer speak or see them. There is something about working in a shitty retail environment that creates a bond between the people that is impenetrable. It is Us (employees) Vs. Them (customers, corporate, managers) that inspires the same level of teamwork as an old school Field Day event.  My coworkers and I used to work in near perfect tandem because we liked working together and being around each other and supporting one another.

Someone having a bad day? We'd pill them with hugs and snacks from the vending machine and jokes until the person felt a little better. I once was so poor I couldn't afford lunch at le sad store, so my friend brought me sandwiches from home until our next pay period. When I offered to pay him back he was offended. It is the first time I have ever tackled someone with one of my hugs. Our friendships (all of them) were definitely messy, overwhelming, annoying and of course when we all started dating each other very incestuous but I am convinced it was the most authentic love I have ever had with my peers. We were a team in and outside of that store and anything less than that feeling of fidelity feels like a disappointment now. 

The next time you go to Target or Walmart or hell even that little clothing store in mall, look at how the employees interact with each other. Sure they are rude towards customers and flee in the other direction when the see a dumb question coming their way....but i bet your ass you will almost always see them smiling and laughing in interactions with each other. I'd put my next paycheck (not really, i have to get my car fixed) that they are friends and want to see each other outside of work. Retail teaches you about teamwork and camaraderie and dare i say...friendship the way it should be.

So yea, I don't miss the late hours or the low pay or the customers who think you are property along with the things your store is selling. But i miss the shit out of walking into work and checking the schedule to see if my favorite people are working with me. I miss walking into the break room and being greeted with "hellos' and "I missed you" and continuation of conversations that happened only hours later.  I miss looking over at one of my friends as a customer is acting a fool and sharing a look that only the two of us understand and will no doubt discuss in length afterwards. I miss my people, my tribe, my ride or dies and lifelong friends. I miss them painfully.

I bring this up because honestly outside of a handful of people at my current job, I loathe the majority of my co-workers. This isn't to say they aren't fine people but they aren't "my" people. They aren't watching great TV shows or reading interesting books of finding new and dope music they have to share immediately. They are investing in stocks, talking about mortgages ,placing illegal bets and playing a legitimate game called CORNHOLE during work hours. Do you want to know the point of the game? You throw a ball in a hole. That's it. They have spent hundreds of dollars betting each other on who can win the game. How do you even have enough money to place such bets? I have bills to pay and rent to pay and any extra money is not going towards winning or losing a game called Cornhole. It's going to Target.

And who would have thought that liking the people you spend more than 40 hours with throughout the week is super fucking important.  But holy shit it is almost pivotal to my work life balance....and happiness. Outside of the Matt fiasco my personal life is pretty okay. Sure, there could be improvements to my every day but for the most part I am in love with the baby steps I am making. Last week I went to Whole Foods (like an actual adult), purchased some healthy meals, stood in an indiscernible aisle and stared at the nutritional information on the back of the cookie box I was holding. I'd seen someone do this earlier is a more appropriate and less snack food aisle and I figured I'd mirror her actions too because this is what adulting is like. Though i walked out spending way to much on "organic" food there was something very mature about the whole trip. Only four years ago I was slaving away at le sad store, renting a room in some lady's house and buying frozen meals that couldn't adequately feed a toddler. And there I was on a Saturday in a Whole Foods that I drove to  in my own car buying food for my REFRIGERATOR to eat during the actual work week. Ya'll i have a fridge.

But there are only two days during the weekend and my organic cookies and almond milk can't make up for the fact that I spend the bulk of my time and life at a job that hate with people i'd openly ignore in public. And it's weeks like this when I am feeling extra nostalgic and homesick for my old life. I'd almost take another near asswhooping from a gal name Betsy too deep into her Alzheimer to realize I am not in fact her childhood rival as she manhandles me to the shock and fear and even amusement of my co-workers nearby. I'd relive that moment once again, just for the comfort of seeing my friend turned families contorted, anxious but familiar faces again that were as home to me as home gets.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Nice Girls Don't Finish On Top


I am unabashedly a nice girl and I am starting to think this title is doing nothing for my social life. Don't get me wrong, my mamma didn't raise no fool. I am not a pushover and have surprised many a people who thought my bite wasn't as big as my bark. I can be a fearless girl and I have not always been an incredibly nice woman when backed into a corners.

In high school I was angst filled and aloof to the point of coming off cold to my peers. Marie and I were queens of sulking and side-eyeing anyone who did us wrong and I was told more times that I can count to stop being "mean" to [insert names here]. When you are young, the moment you learn you are quick witted, it's hard to contain the sass. So even though I was a nice girl, I am also a smart ass to a fault. I said and did dumb things to prove points that didn't need proving. 

In college, I was hard-headed and stubborn. I was often accused of thinking I was "better" than my peers because of my disdain for commonality and small talk. Having anxiety didn't help disprove this misconception. I'm not going to lie, even with this blog detailing my most embarrassing years, I don't think I can stress enough how weird and awkward i was. Because I was really fucking awkward. I really didn't try enough to make friends  and was unable to openly just be myself like i craved....so I would come off as weird and brooding and full of tension, despite the fact that I was listening to Shawn Colvin on my CD player and reading romance novels in-between classes.

Being less anxious these last few years has definitely increased my self confidence and how i present myself to the world. I am still awkward but in a fumbling, comical and delicate way rather than mouth breathing, sweaty and off putting counterpart.  I am much too old to constantly worry what people think about me (as I write a post about what people may think about me. The irony is ever present) which has allowed me in many ways to be just be who I am without fear of embarrassment. But now that I am less anxious, the layers that have been stripped away just reveal that I am an incredibly kind and nice human being. And it's nauseating.

While I do have moments of sassiness and "bitch-like" bravado.  I am  your quintessential good girl. People NOW tend to find me adorable and relatable to a motherfucking fault (oh, and I curse a lot...which is probably not a good girl thing but whatever). I am called sweetheart by damn near everyone i met, children are not intimated by me and one time a dog feed me a treat. I wish I was kidding but perhaps thinking i was in need of it's care, my friends dog passed up her treat and brought it to me...as if she were doing me a favor. Le fucking sigh.

The problem is....because people mistake me for being a good girl, I am not often met with the same level of respect from men and and often infanticide by my some of my female peers. It doesn't matter that I can rap to Cardi B lyrics like a motherfucking boss or that i rehearse arguments in the shower on a regular basis (you must always be prepared)....at the end of the day, the secret about me is always at the surface. I am incredibly nice and soft which often comes across as naive, gullible and lacking experience.

And to be fair I am a fault for my nice girl image. I am the most accommodating person you will ever meet and I am not even admitting this fact to toot my own nice girl horn. I am annoyingly optimistic and never openly judgmental of anyone. People have admitted some weird shit to me but instead of shutting them down, I want to take the time to learn more about their interest.When I claim you as a friend I will go above and beyond to shower you with love and affection. And while this has it's benefits, I am also too trusting, too forgiving, too polite and thus susceptible to shitty people. It's as if my kindness lures them in and then WHAM, I have to go through another blocking spree because I cannot have such negativity in my life.

Today was that such day and another crushing realization as I went to Matt's FB page and Instagram page and blocked the crap out of him. I used to think blocking individuals was a un-good girl aspect of my personality but honestly it's a necessary tool for me to accept the end of something. Sometimes I do so out of a necessity (Sean and his family), other times the decision is hasty but still with my best interest at heart (Kathleen). Matt is a combination of both. Despite how shitty he has become, I am a person who forever holds on to what if. What if, he eventually comes around and realizes he has been treating me terribly because he is deeply in love with me. What if he has been ignoring me because life has become super busy but I am still at the forefront of his mind. What if he really does want to be my friend but just doesn't know how to be in my life they way I want friends to be in my life.

The problem is these "what if's" don't matter because they never came into fruition. If he wanted to be in my life, he would be and if he just wanted to be friends he wouldn't be a complete and utter asshat and towards the end he was less and less present but more of an asshat. So I blocked him. I removed myself from the situation. I packed my good girl qualities into a suitcase and sashayed out of the equation.

And while I feel okay about using my block powers to remove myself from the situation, I am beginning to worry about the relationship patterns I find myself in.  Cause it feels like an "Oops I did it again moment" but less cooler. I often connect with a people immediately.  We become inseparable and super reliant on each other and then before you know it the crazy starts. People tend to own my time and my space and want 100% access to me. And because I am a good girl I allow this even when I shouldn't. There were many times when Matt has said or done something inappropriately that I didn't call him on his shit because I didn't want to come across like a bitch. But I should have, thinking back on it.

I don't know how to stop being such a good girl but as I replay what has gone wrong in the past with friendship and romantic possibilities and my current falling out with Matt I can't help but think my niceness is a huge part of the problem. I come across as impenetrably delicate because I am impenetrably delicate so people take advantage and I let them. 

This doesn't mean I want to stop being a nice girl cause lets be real the idea of being unkind gives me all sorts of agita. I just feel like I need some alter ego, a non nice girl entity who comes out when i need her most. I need to go from Sandra Dee to "Sandy! asap because Sandra Dee is mocked and pilfered and almost always damn near feathered because of her nice girl ways.  You know how Beyonce created an alter ego called "Sasha Fierce" who takes over when she performs on stage? A sexier (as if she can get any sexier), Fiercer (as if she needs and fierce mojo) and more Dominant  (I bow to her willingly) persona? I need her.

Anytime, I am being excruciatingly nice, I need that bitch to put her stilettos heels down (bad bitches wear stilettos?) and stop me in my tracks. I need her to be more assertive and forthcoming and dare I say...even a little mean when it's appropriate. Because this nice girl stuff is no longer working in my favor. I just don't know if I have the energy to be Sasha Fierce when all i want to do is keep being me which includes a lot of annoying necessities and cat naps.