Men Are People Too

Dear Readership,

Wowzers! Did I ever drop the ball on blogging over Christmas break. I’m sure you were heartbroken, but have no fear! I’m back.

I imagine you’re all tentatively scrolling with your trigger finger delicately posed on judgment blasters, just waiting for a post like this with a title like that to be political (maybe even a #metoo story). It’s not. Maybe it could be, but really it’s more of a writer’s block confession.

I have, for the past two or three weeks, been trying to write a post about my recent encounter with what I am 96.5% sure were alien lifeforms undercover at the world’s most perfect (i.e. too perfect) gas station. I have some pretty rock-solid evidence, but I guess it’s a post for another day because every time I sat down to write it, it was choked out by another story. My story?

I have always struggled with being comfortable around men. I mean, always. From neighbors to family friends, classmates to strangers, waiters to cashiers, even some of my own friends–they’ve all made me uncomfortable at one time or another. All through high-school my palms would sweat and my heart would race if my friend’s dads or brothers tried to converse with me. My freshman year I asked to please be placed on an all-girls floor (which didn’t happen). My sophomore year I had a panic attack every time I went to see my university assigned male therapist (no, the irony of that is not lost on me). And any time a male professor called on me I forgot how to string words into sentences (ask me about how I’ve made a total ass of myself every time my favorite professor has endeavored to speak to me. It’s a real cringer). Somewhere along the way though, it got better. And then somewhere in the last two months it got infinity worse again. I’m jumpy, paranoid, and unsocial. I have opted to stand in long grocery lines to avoid the open registers of male clerks, I’ve walked to class so I don’t have to say hi to the bus driver, and I’ve washed dishes at a party (more than once) so I didn’t have to mingle.

Do I know why I’ve relapsed? No, not really. Am I tired of being afraid? Very. Men are just people. Just half the people in existence. Half of the people in my life. People I have to talk to and interact with.

If I’m being honest, this post is more for me than you. I’m trying to figure it out too. I can trace different threads of potential triggers — going through periods of high strain on my relationship with my father, being in past relationships with guys who needed to be told ‘no’ before I realized I had the voice to say it, being objectified or grabbed by strangers, enduring belittling comments from men I didn’t have the energy to argue with, etc. etc. etc.. I guess those are all valid reasons to explain my anxiety, but they’re not new reasons and they don’t explain the last few months of renewed fear. They don’t explain why I can’t sleep; why I’ve been anxious; why I’m fearful about going outside at night; or why I’m perpetually afraid of being followed. Those are not normal things to feel, and yet they’re my norm. I do feel a little better after having it all written out, but I don’t feel any closer to understanding what’s going on or why.

Anyway, that’s me these days. That’s the reason I haven’t been writing. Every funny or clever thing I wanted to say has been dammed up behind  a whole big lump of fear that I don’t know how to deal with and can’t avoid. I was sort of hoping that if I went ahead and acknowledged my problem then my anxiety would politely tip its hat and amble on its merry way to ruin someone else’s creative energy. Fingers crossed that that’s still what happens and I’ll be back to writing soon. I guess we’ll see.

Until next time,


[Insert Adage About Raining and Pouring]

Dear Readership,

You know those days that just aren’t that great and no matter what you do you can’t seem to make them better?

I have a lot of those.

Wednesday was not one of those days.

Wednesday was the kind of day that was so jam-packed with irritatingly bad nuances that it should be expunged from the annals of history (not to mention my life) so I can avoid intense trauma therapy.

It all started with a final presentation (doesn’t it always?) that I had to give right on the heels of a 24 hour throw-up virus. I had been up until about 2am the night before frantically cutting it down because we had a hard and fast 9 minute deadline (speaking of, who the heck makes a presentation deadline 9 minutes? That’s the most maddeningly odd number. Would 10 have killed ya?) and mine was a solid 14 minutes long. I spent the wee hours of the morning cutting out slides willy-nilly before deciding to take the L if it wasn’t good enough and passing out.

Wednesday dawned and I had had about 5 and 1/2 hours of sleep which I know is not that little, but I’m a strict 8 hours kind of gal. Anything less and I turn into a gremlin-like she-monster — malicious and more than a little ugly. I begrudgingly rolled out of bed and began to make myself presentable. It didn’t require a lot of mental energy (thank goodness) because I have exactly one presentation worthy outfit (a gray knit dress, purple tights, and some killer cute heels). Unfortunately, my dress was hanging next to the DampRid in my closet (because, you know, everything I own gets covered in mildew if I don’t hang that water-sucking, chemical-laden bag in there too) and it now pungently reeked of fake floral cleaner. I didn’t have time to scrounge together another semi-professional outfit so I spritzed myself with some extra body spray (as if that would help) and ran out the door. It had been in the 50s for a few days, so I felt like I was wearing a reasonably weather-appropriate outfit; however, when I stepped outside I was dismayed to discover that it was below freezing and not likely to warm up much past that all day.  So I hobbled — half-frozen — to the bus in my completely impractical outfit, and then proceeded to have one of the longest, busiest days on my feet that I’ve had this entire semester. Parts of it were really cool (like attending the raising of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee flag ceremony in the student union), but they were overshadowed a little by the fact that my feet were swollen from marching around a mountain in heels for nine hours, by having hives on my hands and face from the unexpected cold, and by the rash developing on my belly from my DampRid-soaked dress.

All days must end, however, and my incredibly looong day finally did too. I put on my comfiest slippers to appease my poor feet and decided to reward myself by buying a McDonald’s ice cream cone on the way to study at my boyfriend’s house. I pulled into the drive thru, rolled down my window, and *THUNK* it broke. The pane had detached from whatever mechanism roles the window up and down and fallen down inside the door. What was the worst part about all of this?

It was really hard to enjoy my ice cream cone while being pounded by the cold night air.

But broken windows are just a part of the adventure of driving a clunker, right? I could get through this. All I had to do was bundle up and blast the heat whenever I drove until I could figure out a good way to rig a cover. I convinced myself that all would be well and was determined to be an optimist about it.

Little did I know a mini-blizzard was on its way the next day to dump nine inches of snow on Boone town and my lil ol’ windowless car…

If your Wednesday (or any day) was worse, please, do share.

Until next time,