Feelings

Do you know the exercises that we did when we were little where a teacher would show you a face and you responded with which feeling it displayed? It was commonly happy, sad, angry, confused, and afraid. In school, we are constantly taught to recognize others emotions and how we are supposed to respond to them. But why am I 22 years old, able to recognize others emotions, help them when they are in need, but I couldn’t tell you my own feelings and I can’t seem to help myself? (Man, I need to go to therapy.)

I am in this class. I’ve spoken about it before. Diversity and Advocacy in Education. Our final project is due in five days (eep) in which case I have to submit an art journal that expresses my emotions about race, gender and class but also bullying, shame, and vulnerability. Let me just share with you what my vulnerability page looks like: It is a brick wall from top to bottom with a hole smashed through. An arm pokes out holding out a heart that is beaten and broken. This is what vulnerability looks like to me and as of now, I am in my fortress and that hole has not been broken through yet.

We are taught that being vulnerable means expressing our thoughts and feelings with someone else. However, all I can do is sit in frustration (that’s a feeling!) because I’m too confused (there’s another one!) about what my feelings even are. Just like elementary school, I can tell someone when I am happy, sad, angry, confused, and scared. But what is it when all I want to do is laugh while I’m crying? What is it when I am so angry that I scare myself? What is it when I’m sitting on the kitchen floor, staring at an open refrigerator trying to decide if I am hungry? What is it when I’m driving in my car trying to decide if it’s worth driving off that bridge?

AND IF I CANNOT FIND WORDS, HOW IN THE HELL DO I TELL SOMEONE.

Therefore, I turn the feelings off. I pack them up in boxes, put them in the back of the closet, close the doors, lock the key, throw that key off a cliff, weld the lock, and move out of the house.

I am a cold person. I keep a straight-face. I am classified as uptight, determined, and unfeeling. That might be because no one knows that it’s me writing this. Looking at my posts, there are a lot of feelings. But no one can know about them. That causes expectations. Expectations to tell people I’m having a bad day or even a good day. Expectations to smile when I see someone I know. Expectations to share. I like being on my own and I want it to stay that way.

I am that 13 year-old emo kid. I just wear adult clothes now.

Keep to your roots,

Southern Charm

 

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Graduating to More School

I’m going to be walking across the stage in a mere eleven days to receive a diploma from one of the best universities in the Southeast. I have spent four years here and they have been filled with love, laughter, tears, and sadness. More importantly though, the girl who is walking across the stage in eleven days is not the girl who was high school valedictorian four years ago. This place has changed me – mostly for the better, I hope. However, as I listen to stories of people going on to adult jobs and adult lives, as my Facebook feed fills up with engagements and wedding photos, I am apartment hunting for a place to live as I go on to yet another university.

It doesn’t seem real. I don’t feel this joy of graduation. I don’t feel like I’m moving forward, at least not much. I’m moving to a new city, sure. I’m going to have another line on my resume, of course. But is my life really going to change that much? I’m still going to be carrying a backpack with me as I walk down an early-twenties populated street. I’m still going to be spending my nights sitting in bed reading or writing a paper. I’m still going to be filling my grocery basket with Ramen and Capri Sun (I might still be in elementary school).

But at the same time… I’m going to miss this place. My friends are the most brilliant humans I have ever met. They are caring creatures who can demolish food like no one I have ever seen. They have great taste in beer and I owe my six-pack to them because of how much they make me laugh. (Albeit, that six-pack is hiding under the Ramen and Capri Sun.) How can I be excited when L will be in New York, C will be in Virginia, and N will be God knows where (Lord, please help him find a job.)? As excited as I am for them, I am dreading the day we all say “see you later” but “see you later” will mean Skyping and expensive plane tickets.

There are so many feelings that go into graduating from college. It’s the most bittersweet experience. Every time I walk out of a final I want to click my heels while I wipe tears from my eyes. My professors have been mentors since day one. My classrooms have been dungeons and funhouses. My library has been my bedroom for several all-nighters that I just don’t quite make through. The Quad has been my playground and the soccer fields have been my body’s demise. How can I find these things when I move to the city? How can I move to a state where football is below basketball on priority lists? And more so, what does a chemistry degree mean when I am trying to file my taxes?

I am not ready for this next step but in eleven days, I’m being pushed down the stairs.

Keep to your roots,

Southern Charm

#Commitment

Do you remember when we were little? When we spoke of growing up, we played house, and just couldn’t wait to find our soulmates so we could have our happily ever after? Do you remember how the real grown ups would look at us meaningfully saying, “Stay young while you can.” I remember and I wish I could go back to being eight years old when commitment meant sharing the cookies my mom would pack in my lunchbox with the cute boy that sat next to me.

I might have met my soul mate. A month ago. And a few days ago I ran.

He’s wonderful – smart, sweet, good-looking, and I can talk to him for hours. I can also sit with him in silence for hours. I love how I fit in his arms and I shared with him things about me in that short month that I hadn’t shared with people I had known in years. And he continued to care about me despite my feeling like a defective human being. He teaches me about life and history and ethics and movies and baseball. He listens to me talk to him about chemistry and education and football and my favorite Netflix shows.

But I’m only 22. I have so much more I want to do with my life. I graduate in two weeks from college and am going to graduate school. I don’t want a boy distracting me while I learn how I can change the world. But part of me wants a boy there to support me when I feel like I’ll never be able to do just that. But what if he leaves the moment when I need him? And then I regret ever needing him in the first place. He called me this morning, demanding answers.

“I thought we were so good. I know it wasn’t very long but I didn’t think this would end. There was nothing wrong. What is it that you don’t want? What did I do? Give me something more than ‘I just can’t do this.'”

Oh, how I wish I could. I sat there thinking about all of the lies I could tell him to make him hate me. I don’t actually like you. It was all a game. I’m actually in love with someone else. My parents don’t think you’re good for me. I don’t trust you. I don’t think you’re going to make me happy two months from now. There was so much I could say to make it easier for him. But I couldn’t lie to him. I promised I never would. So all I could do was tell him that relationships scare me. And I am not ready to face that fear yet.

Why are we so ready to find our husbands when we are eight years old but then the moment I turn eighteen, I am terrified that my husband will enter my life because I know I will never be able to accept it. It’s all too hard. I can’t trust him. I can’t make the commitment. I just am not ready. And man, it sucks. But tonight, I go to sleep alone. My phone will be turned off because I know no one will contact me. And I’m oddly comfortable with it. And I think that might be what worries me most.

Keep to your roots,

Southern Charm

Body Issues

This semester, I have been in this course – Diversity and Advocacy in Education. It’s a brilliant class. I have grown so much because there is a lot of “feelings” talk which is something that I don’t do on my own time. The semester started with discussion of Brene Brown and the genius that she is. If you don’t know her, go listen to one of these Ted Talks of hers: Here and Here.

Each week for this class we talk about different aspects of society, specifically those with problems. This has been race, gender, sexuality, or disability to name a few. However, this week is Body Issues. If you have read any of my previous blog posts (specifically this one or this one), you know that I am not prepared for this. I am sitting at work now and not able to focus because I cannot stop thinking about how I do not want to share.

I don’t look like I have an eating disorder. I used to be considered the purge subtype of Anorexia Nervosa because I was so underweight. But now, I look like your typical college student so I have been redefined as a bulimic now that I weigh more than 120 pounds. I’ve gained some insulation and there’s still some definition in my muscles from all of the sports I played in high school. But you’d never think that I spent time throwing up in a bathroom as a part of my daily routine. I think that might be why I’m worried. I’m worried that I’ll open up about this and people just won’t believe me. Of course the first thoughts in my head are “She’s too fat to have an eating disorder.” My inner thoughts are controlled by terrible people obviously.

I also know that having an eating disorder is a problem. I am so ill because of it. You would think that after all of the health problems I have gained from this condition, it would be motivation enough to quit. And it’s better. So much better. It’s not even a weekly thing anymore. But it happens. And I feel weak, and guilty, and all-around pathetic. And how in the world am I supposed to talk about this in a class? Especially when I know for a fact there is a girl sitting two seats over from me who has recovered. And I’m still struggling.

It’s all very hard. Life is so hard. And not just for myself, I know it is for everyone. And maybe I am a weakling for not handling it the right way. I really probably am. And I’m trying to be better. But they call it body issues for a reason, right? It’s an issue. And sometimes I cry because I think it always will be.

If you are ever considering beginning an eating disorder, I pray and beg and plead that you never do. It’s a dark road and I know I’m on a one way track to hurting myself and possibly even dying. Get out now before it’s too late because it’s a difficult climb back to health. If you are struggling with me on this journey, I pray that we make it.

 

Keep to your roots,

Southern Charm