Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Reason that Mean Girl Might Not Be Your Friend... Reason #1

When you've ordered pizza for your friends (because pizza is your love language) and you treat the delivery person like a human by saying hello and making eye contact, and your friend says, "Guys! Guys! Guys! She KNOWS the pizza guy!" 

Because you're fat and love pizza. Worth it. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

You Might Have Low Self Esteem Because... Reason #4

Upon meeting your new physician and discussing that you're wanting to try to get pregnant, she responds with, "You know, diabetes can really affect fertility."

And you're not diabetic. 

And she hasn't opened your file yet.

They Just Want to Hang Out (and Just Dance with Bad Girls).

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, it has been called to my attention that Lou Pearlman, the man that gave you NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys and (the weird cousin that no one talks about) LFO has died. I am listening to NSYNC as I prep my Sunday school lesson. 

I don't have my glasses on - which one is Lance Bass? 

While listening to NSYNC, I am reminded of my beautiful soul sister, Libby, and how very alike we are despite not being related by blood. 

There is a song by NSYNC, which is our die hard forever favorite boy group because screw you, Nick Carter, that is very obviously about doin' it. 

The first NSYNC album came out when we were 13 and I Just Wanna Be with You was on that album. It's a pretty great song but... not subtle. And one day, we were talking about the song and one of us made a remark about it being naughty and Libby was absolutely affronted.

"What?" she asked, her eyes wide with the realization. "They just wanna hang out!"

That line, "They just want to hang out", has become a part of my vernacular that pretty much only 3 people in the world understand. Maybe 4. 

But flash forward almost 20 years later, my husband has to remind me more than once that two of my favorite songs are either about getting roofied at a party or prostitution. (Artists in question are Lady Gaga and M.I.A.

I was a musician for several years, and have published poetry but apparently my authority on the subject of symbolism does not surpass that of Lady Gaga.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Home Safe

My husband turned (age redacted) yesterday! Happy birthday, hubs! And because I am a complete narcissist, I gave him the best gift that I could think of that would improve his life:

I started therapy. 

I've got great insurance and I really have no excuse to not be in therapy at least once a month. (Apathy isn't an excuse?) 

I took the day off (he is off on Fridays) and we spent the day together. The clinic where I was assigned to told me to walk in and they would get me to an intake specialist. It was first come, first served, so they told me to get there early. I got there at 1pm because I'm really good at putting my needs first and not avoiding my problems. (Wait.)

The job of the intake specialist is to decide what kind of therapy I am suited for as well as making sure I am matched with the right doctor. So after filling out a mental health questionnaire, I was brought into a room with the intake specialist and we started to talk. 

Something that I never realized is that I am really very well suited for therapy. It's my favorite thing: talking about myself and having my feelings validated.

I kid. But only a little.

I had to explain to my specialist (who is an MD) that I am mostly terrified of men and have to have a female doctor because if I have a male therapist I will only spend the entire session trying to ascertain whether or not he hates me. Or, trying to figure out how to make him love me while completely downplaying my problems because I "don't want to be a bother".

And then he asked me if I wanted to see a female intake specialist. And I told him that I thought he wouldn't like me anymore if I said yes. 

And that was within the first 3 minutes. We were at an impasse and I said, "I'm sure you're very nice. Do you have kids? Men with kids are nice. Dads are nice. Well, not my dad, but I think as a rule that fathers are nice people." 

Yes, he had kids. He asked again if I wanted to see someone else. But I told him that I was okay. 

As we went through the symptoms that were listed on my questionnaire, he was surprised with how much I had written down. While I have many issues, he asked me to maybe narrow it down to 1 or 2 issues that I wanted to work on at first and then maybe we could address the other 15 once I had set some goals for myself.

So, after an excruciating 45 seconds of my trying to prioritize my unmanageable symptoms, I explained to him that it boiled down to my needing help with anxiety and having anxiety about having anxiety. 

Yes, he laughed. 

He walked me through all the things I feel anxious about: finances, health, stability, friendships, schooling for my son, parenting, school for me, etc. He explained that he ascertained that I was extremely interested in the happiness and comfort of others and didn't allow myself to have the same needs. And he asked me if there was anything in my life that I didn't feel anxious about. 

And for once, I didn't have an answer. I couldn't answer him because it was a hard question. I was anxious about everything, but there are degrees of anxiety. I don't necessarily feel the same amount of anxiety as I do towards something more significant. But as I took those few moments to answer the doctors question, I did come to one very important conclusion.

My safe, unanxious space is my husband. My husband is the place where everything is completely safe. My husband is my home. My husband is my safe place. 

I don't think that I realized until then how profound a gift that is. 

It wasn't always this way. We've been married nearly two years and I've only recently arrived at the conclusion that he will never leave me or abandon me or stop loving me. 

Not to say that all is perfect or that he is some kind of rare specimen that I need to brag about constantly, but I am proud of this conclusion that I have made. Deciding that you are worthy enough to be loved and safe and wanted is a big hurdle when you have spent most of your life being resigned to hopelessness.

So I guess you could say I think I am on the right track. 

Also - I definitely had to tell the intake dude that I wasn't a serial killer like... 4 times. Apparently that is a really big concern of mine. Maybe we should look into that... 

You Might Have Low Self Esteem because... Reason #3

When every birthday, your grandfather asks you, "So, what are you up to now? 200? 300 pounds?"

Friday, August 19, 2016

You Might Have Low Self Esteem because... Reason #2

After being photographed while on vacation by a complete stranger who may or may not speak English, your exceedingly thin, more than likely anorexic grandmother says to the stranger, "We don't look alike," referring to you, her only granddaughter. The stranger, either just being polite or agreeing with her gleeful comment about her morbidly obese grandchild, nods in agreement. 

See Also:

The Year of No (Unnecessary) Apologies

My name is weird. I don't know why my parents didn't like the traditional spelling of Alicia but they didn't. So I am constantly explaining to people what my name is.

"Alysha. It's like Alyssa. But completely different." 

"No, not Alison. I know Ally is a nickname for Alison. But it's Alysha."

"Alysha. Not Ashley. I know. Same letters, but not exactly."

"Nope, still not Alison."

"... It's Alysha. Eh-lish-uh isn't a name."

Whatever. First world problems, right?

So, I get an e-mail with my name written as Alyssa. And I want to ignore it but I didn't. So I wrote back and said, "Hi. Got your e-mail. I'll let you know. Also - my name is Alysha. Not Alyssa. Sorry to be a bother!" 

And I look at that last little sentence and think to myself, "What in God's name is the matter with you? Why are you apologizing for wanting to be called by the right name? It's your NAME." 

I delete the last sentence and send the e-mail. And (quelle surprise) no one dies. 

At one point in my life, like a lot of people I am sure, I had a job that I really didn't like. And they didn't like me. I didn't fit in. I wasn't pretty. I wasn't bubbly. I was super mousy. I wasn't someone you wanted to have a beer with. And they didn't have any trouble letting me know.

So, as you can imagine, I walked around that place like a dog waiting to be kicked.

I prefaced pretty much every interaction with anyone who worked there with, "I'm sorry to bother you." When I buzzed a phone call, I would apologize to them for interrupting. When I would walk past them in the copy room, I would apologize. When I would stand in someone's doorway to ask a question, I would hover and apologize before even saying anything. This would absolutely infuriate one of them and he called me out on it regularly. To borrow from one of my favorite shows, Parks and Rec: 

He finally said to me, "Why are you apologizing for asking me a question? That's not an apology - that's something else."

And it's taken me until now to realize what he meant. I wasn't apologizing for asking him a question - I was apologizing for breathing. I thought so little of myself and my own needs that I would consider my very existence an inconvenience. 

I turned 31 on Monday and I have been this way for as long as I can remember. This type of codependent behavior is typical in the adult lives of children of addicts, children that have been abandoned (emotionally or physically) by a parent, or who come from unstable backgrounds. We're always wrong, we're always at fault. But really what it boils down to is low self-esteem. Or, rather, no self-esteem. At all. 

I live a very stable life now. I have a wonderful husband and a good, stable job and a stable life. I've worked very hard for these things: I don't have any reason to have low self-esteem. And frankly, I don't have time for low-self esteem! I have stuff to do!

So in preparation for writing this blog, and taking on this challenge, I took an inventory of every single time that I said I was sorry in a single day. Highlights Include: Asking someone to give me some information about an event. Talking to my friend about an event that we needed to reschedule. Asking for a wifi code. Asking for an e-mail to be forwarded to me. Passing someone in the hallway on the way to the bathroom. Asking for a phone number. Asking my husband to hand me a glass so I could get some water. 

You get the picture. I'm ridiculous. 

It's such an absolute waste of time and it's also a horrible example it is to my son. I am not a pushover and I no longer have anyone in my life that is domineering - he shouldn't have to see me that way! 

ALSO: I also don't want him to think that apologies don't mean anything. He is eight and still learning about consequences and empathy. When he steps on me or knocks something over or interrupts me, more often than not, I have to prompt him to say that he is sorry. It's getting better but I do want him to realize that "sorry" has a time and a place and my throwing meaningless apologies at things that don't matter does not help him. 

So this year, I am exploring why I feel the need to apologize for things. Why I constantly am worried about being liked or being too demanding. In each instance that I discover, I will ask myself my reasoning and ask myself if I am really at fault or if I am just masking my real feelings because I have something else to say that I am not ready to deal with or handle.  

I hope to get to the bottom of my obsessive need to apologize for my own needs and find out new things about myself. I hope to find out how I can better tap into my own strength and find more productive and positive ways to handle situations within myself that can empower and encourage others to thrive. I cannot change my past or the years that I have wasted feeling inferior, but I can set an example and an example I shall be.