Awkward things I’ll definitely do at my support group

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As a young millennial who’s tried several different ways to find help for their anxiety/depression/suicidal tendencies, and has yet to find an effective and affordable solution, finding a support group has both induced relief and anxiety, because there’s not much else beyond this. This has to be it.

But what’s the worst that could happen? Instead of thinking of ways I could get in my own way in this respect, I’m mostly just worried about making a fool of myself.

I’m going to smile uncomfortably while speaking.giphy

I’m going to cry during someone else’s share and try to hide it.giphy (1)

I’m going to want to hug a stranger, but will ask first.giphy (2)

Can I bring doughnuts? Not just for myself, but for everyone.

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I’m going to fight feeling terrible about my pathetic story after hearing someone’s really powerful one.

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I’m going to be self-conscious talking about suicide with my husband in the room.giphy (4)

I’m going to want to flake out and not attend one, or multiple nights, but I’ll go anyway.giphy (5)

It’s going to be aggravating, embarrassing and painful, but no matter how much awkward or how much derp I am, it has to work.

More reactions to everyday sexism

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I just returned from an interview as part of my job as a reporter, to which I’d decided to walk, because it was only a 10-minute walk and it’s spring. But of course, I experienced what I was raised to expect and tolerate; assholes.

In a short 10-minute walk, I experienced an entire list of things that are way too common for anyone to have asked for it.

1.When you feel like you HAVE to say hi to a guy when they say hi to you, even when they definitely aren’t making eye contact.

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2. When you can feel your skin crawl while some old guy who probably has children stares at you.

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3. When you start to question your definitely-not-come-hither outfit just because some pervert hooted at you.

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4. When you Google Maps directions to walk somewhere, and rethink going because the directions take you off heavily-trafficked streets.

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5. When you make the conscious decision not to make eye contact with anyone, because that may be too inviting.

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6. When you’re walking down the street alone, in broad daylight, but still feel the need to walk  closer to another person so you aren’t singled out… again.

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7. When you’re relieved to see other women.

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8. When you have to clench your fist not to flip a cat caller off because you’re alone, and he’s a man.

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9. When you realize part of the reason you loved this haircut was because you thought it wouldn’t attract pigs, and you were wrong.

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10. When you realize the moment you get back to work/home/a familiar place that you were clenching your teeth the entire time you were outside.

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Things I now know

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One thing I already knew: I’m sort of a feminist. Well, not just sort of, but kinda really. I tend to get pretty gung-ho about it, and about what it represents. Equality. Among everyone. I know, what nerve I have, right?

One thing I wasn’t completely cognizant of: I’m pretty soft spoken. Literally. I have a very soft voice and it takes quite a bit of effort to reach any sort of volume. People have suggested this in a subtle way my entire life, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized my voice not only helps me come across as the kind and understanding person I am about 40 percent of the time, but it also makes it difficult to take me seriously. For instance, it’s come to my attention that when I get worked up about something and use choice swear words, that it sounds like Mickey Mouse with Tourette syndrome.

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You can imagine this can be problematic as a kinda really gung-ho feminist journalist who has things to do and people to talk to.

Exhibit A

One thing you should know: I and my work-colleague-slash-work-friend run a health and fitness initiative at our newspaper, and just ended a summer of fitness classes held once a week. She has a soft and squeaky voice, too. We commiserate.

A story you definitely do not know, and I’m now telling you: A couple weeks ago, we held our second-to-last class in the city square. It was a wonderful concept; we were going to hold a yoga class with our usual attendees and attract passersby who normally wouldn’t be able to make it to the newspaper building to participate in the square.

Looking back, I have to admit. That was a pretty idyllic concept that considered no consequences or assholes.

Because that’s what happened. Assholes. They happened.

Maybe I’m naive. Actually, as jaded as I can be most of the time, there’s still a large portion of me who’s naive and likes to think that everyone at Starbucks will just give you the drink if you don’t have the 50 cents to complete the purchase.

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Anyway, to no one’s surprise but our own, it wasn’t long before the all-female group of yogis was receiving cat calls and honks and stares from not only males but females as well.

My partner and I were immediately enraged. She had taken the time to get a permit for the time we were there, and we felt that if this were a bunch of men practicing yoga, the reaction would not be nearly as crazy. But beyond that, we just wanted to allow people to do some yoga in the space we’d paid for in peace, dammit.

Another thing you don’t know: The city square is surrounded by benches.

These benches, no surprise, are public just as the square is public. So people were occupying these benches while we were occupying the square.

But I’ll be real with you, it was men who were occupying these benches, and they were mostly smoking, and staring at the yogis.

For the most part, they didn’t stay longer than a cigarette before they moved on, and while it annoyed the ever loving out of me and my partner, we let it slide. Because, ya know, we had to – we were in a public space.

And then this guy comes over; he was unkempt, he was stumbling and he had a sandwich and plastic cup filled with what I hope in my naive heart of hearts was simply water.

I completely understand that it sounds like I was profiling this man. But that’s only because he made it all too easy when he sat on the bench directly behind the group of yogis and began checking out their profile during their downward dog.

My partner saw this and said something to the effect of, “Do you think he’s doing that on purpose?”

To which I responded something to the effect of, “Yeah.”

One thing you should know: I’ve struggled with confrontation my whole life. I don’t like it, and when I finally muster up the courage to make a confrontation, it’s usually the result of pent up frustration, blown out of proportion and I end up telling myself something to the effect of, “Well, I’m never doing that again.”

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This instance, to my terror, was not like that.

This instance was completely justified. We watched, for about 10 minutes, as this man gnawed on his sandwich in a teetered position on the bench, as if trying to take in the full scope of the yogis and their yoga efforts.

The mood to that point among the yogis was that of slight amusement and of an eye-rolling, high-road mentality. It was impressive, as I could not imagine taking the high road as a jerk burned a hole through my bum while I was in the warrior pose.

My partner said something like, “I want to say something to him. We have a permit to be here, and he’s kind of disturbing that.”

And I said something like, “Yeah.”

I may have used a swear word, as she got the impression that I felt pretty strongly about this.

“Do you want to say something?” She asked.

I looked at the permit, not entirely sure that just because we had this in our possession that it meant we had full reign over the entire – public – square. And then I looked at the grody guy on the bench who continued leering at the yogis as he mashed that sandwich in his mouth.

I took the permit, took in a breath and said something like, “Yup.”

So I walked over, observing this guy a little more. He had ear buds in, so I was probably going to have to speak up.

“Excuse me,” I probably said. “We have a permit-”

“What?” He kind of yelled.

“We have a permit and-”

“Oh, no, I’m allowed to sit here. I’m not moving,” he said.

OK, I thought. He’s in a public space. But…

“You’re making my people uncomfortable,” I said. I used the word “people,” mostly because I was flustered and had no idea how else to refer to them, but also because I felt they were my people. My people are those who expect to be able to do things in life without being objectified or made to feel inferior. So there.

“I’m just looking. I’m allowed to look. This is a public space,” he said.

OK, I thought. He’s right. But…

“Listen,” I said. Keep in mind my squeak. “We paid for our time to be here, and you’re making my people uncomfortable. You need to respect them.”

He rolled his eyes and kind of snarled in disgust. I could see some of his sandwich. And lack of teeth.

“Go away,” he said.

OK, I said to myself. You lose. Go away.

I almost did, and then the pent up frustration happened. I completely forgot that I was representing the company I worked for, and that I was a leader who was supposed to do things like be respectful and take the high road. I was mad, and that was all.

“Just respect my f—ing people,” I said. And then I walked away with my heart in my throat.

He left a little bit later.

One thing you should know: I didn’t tell my partner I said that. I didn’t tell anyone I said that. I was – and am – terrified that I made a poor decision in that instance.

Nonetheless, I stand by it.

What I now know: As a leader, and as a human, I believe it’s important to hold others to the standard I hold myself. And that’s to respect others. That’s it. And I believe both myself and the yogis were being not only disrespected, but also objectified and treated as inferior during the time we were in that city square.

And you don’t do that. Just don’t.

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… I’m boring

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We all have crazy stories from when we were young, before we knew better and really had to hunker down to become responsible, hard working people who contribute to society.

Except I don’t.

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Freshman year of college was great, but aside from that time I discovered I’d walked back to my dorm room in someone else’s shoes (albeit drunk), and never found out what happened to my own, I wrapped up my wild and crazy period pretty quick.

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At 24, I didn’t expect to have accomplished basically everything I’d set out to in my career, have a person ready to marry me, have two dogs, a nice apartment, (a pretty rockin’ bod if I do say so myself), a decent wardrobe… and absolutely no life.

The most exciting thing I did this week was change the color scheme in my bathroom.

Most people my age are still figuring out what their career should be, or are trying to kick it off. Most of the people I talk to were trying to get their life on track at my age.

I’m basically Doogie Howser, but less exciting.


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So, sure, it’s like, “Boohoo, ya jerk. That’s a pretty nice life.” But it’s also like, “I gotta let my freak flag fly. Just let me live.”

This would be easy if my fiance weren’t five years older than me and had already lived his life, and if my friends weren’t wrapping up that chapter of their lives/busy living them.

So what do I do? Do I go to the bar by myself and try to stir up trouble? Nope, because rape and abduction are real things. Do I send out a Facebook post asking for drug dealer recommendations? No, because jail is a thing, too.

I could go on vacation… har har, yeah, right. I’m a journalist, and make journalist money.

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I only have a few good years before my metabolism completely craps out on me and I have no choice but to settle down and be a married bore (no offense, fiance and married people). But I don’t know how to get my fun train on the road without doing something illegal/outside of my pay grade.

Yes, it’s a #firstworldproblem, and I should be happy. But… shut up and get your life together.

‘Just One Day’: The story of Blayne

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Bridget Jones once said, “I already feel like an idiot most of the time anyway; with or without a fireman’s pole.”

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And while I am fully aware of better literature out in the world, I’ve never been able to find a more fitting quote for my life.

This is mainly because my life has a built-in system of making sure I don’t get anywhere without realizing it’s probably a miracle I got there alive. And when I say “get anywhere,” I don’t mean simply traveling, but accomplishing things in life as well.

Oh, sure, you might say. I trip over my own feet, too, sometimes. Sometimes I’ll dribble a little bit of food on my chin when trying to eat quietly in the office as well.

That’s cute. That’s the first 30 minutes of my morning alone, and I normally don’t consume food until lunch. So what does that tell you?

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I’m that person who doesn’t realize she shouldn’t have put her wool skirt through the dryer until she’s trying to hide under her desk the fact that she’s stapling her slip together so it doesn’t show.

I’m that person who chokes a little bit on her coffee, and ends up snotting everywhere.

You trip sometimes? Several times a day, I put on a production similar to a newborn giraffe biffing it for the first time. You can’t count on Old Faithful the way you can count on me eating the sidewalk.

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Hardly a day goes by in which I wouldn’t prefer to use one of those talking keyboards instead of subjecting everyone I interact with to my mush-mouth. I just want one day where my mouth doesn’t work faster than my brain, and something intelligible – not funny or witty, just understandable – comes out.

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I’d like to keep it together for just one day, so that my fiance can see me as this super smooth, mysterious lady, instead of sending me texts like, “Were you in a hurry today? Clothes next to the toilet. Toilet not flushed.” And all I can respond with in hopes that he’ll somehow still find me attractive is, “I swear I’m not an animal.”

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If the rest of the world can just realize how truly blessed they are to be in control of their life and body, it’d make me feel so much better when I’m just trying to get in my pants without falling over.

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We Need to Talk…

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I’m leaving this institution and this state in a couple weeks, so I’m going to get several things off my chest. Are they a little dorky and borderline neurotic? Sure. But you don’t have to read them if you don’t want to, OK?

1. Do NOT show up 15 minutes late to a class that only lasts 45 minutes. Just stay home and pretend you have respect for the professor. I realize you’re simply late to class, and not a fascist dictator, so you shouldn’t be chastised. But actually, you should. What would your mother say? I want to record you strolling in and looking at people like, “What?” and email it to your mother with the subject “LOOK WHAT THEY DID.”

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2. Do your work! Just do it! Don’t come to a class (probably late) in which you have to turn in work, or contribute in some manner, and say, “I didn’t do it” when asked to ante up. You are a grown-ass person who’s made it–SOMEHOW–to college. Just do your work, and then it’ll be done, and then you will no longer be an idiot.

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3. When someone holds the door open for you, say thank you! In this country, it’s considered polite to hold a door open for someone behind you, and the polite response to such an act is bleeping gratitude. Don’t just look at the person who waited for your ass to mosey over to the door as if it was their duty to God and their country to hold the door open specifically for you. Jerk.

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4. Be nice to the lady making your food. Seriously. The attitudes I see toward the people in charge of feeding college students who should know better is embarrassing. Use “yes ma’am,” “no ma’am,” “yes, please,” “no, thank you” and just plain “thank you” throughout that entire interaction, or so help me God, I will lose it. You deserve every long black hair or missing piece of your order you get.

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5. DO NOT go on a social networking rant if you cannot use proper grammar. I mean it. If you don’t know how to use there/their/they’re, to/too, effect/affect, commas or punctuation, just keep to yourself and let the big kids take care of things. You must have thought you were a real cool S.O.B. in school with your faux-hawk, frosted tips or racist clothing brand, but in this day and age the nerds are in charge, and you’re just a dummy with too much gel in his hair and incorrect tattoos.

I’m done.

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