depression, gratitude, healing, mental health, self awareness, weight

What Depression Looks Like

“The longer I do this, the more I realize that there isn’t a specific type of patient afflicted by this,” said my psychiatrist. I was in the hospital, recovering from my first and only major depressive episode. Just days after my birthday, the quiet storm of seemingly unrelated events that had been brewing for months – in some cases years – like my lack of motivation, weight gain, sudden disinterest in social activities, and screwy sleep patterns had turned into a tornado of 911 calls and a trip to the hospital, leaving those closest to me collectively baffled.

I had been gut punched by depression and I had no idea it was coming. As an advocate for mental health, I have to say, I was and still am a bit embarrassed. I should have seen it coming. It should not have escalated to the point it did. But as I am taking time to learn about shame from the incomparable Dr. Brene Brown, I know that shame survives in secrecy. And while the more personal details of my story will remain with my closest friends and family members, I think it is incredibly important to use my platform as a flare gun of sorts, letting my readers know that I’m here, that I’m okay, and that there’s danger ahead if you’re not careful.

As I work through understanding what this means for me in the grand scheme of things, I fully admit that I don’t have the answers. I didn’t even want to write this but my friend encouraged me to, even though I have nothing to say. Writing was my first form of therapy, after all.

In hindsight, I suppose I wish I had been kinder to myself, allowing room for error in an imperfect world that I willed to be perfect. I wish I knew that having a six figure income, house, travel plans, massages, etc. was not the true definition of self-care.

But I know now, at least. And I guess that’s as good a start as any.

Adri

 

break ups, dating, love, relationships, self awareness, sex

Sometimes, you do it to yourself

Froth: worthless or insubstantial talk, ideas, or activities

In light of today’s daily prompt and recent celebrity gossip, I’ve decided to tell the straight-shot-no-chaser version of the scandal that is Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian.

Some may consider celebrity gossip mindless fodder, or froth, but I often see and identify the meaning within these types of stories. This one is no different.

Here’s the breakdown: Khloe Kardashian began dating professional basketball player Tristan Thompson at or around the time his former girlfriend was heavily pregnant (his son is 15 months, so you do the math). They soon attended star-studded events together, were seen publicly almost daily (at least I think so), and a few months ago, announced that they were expecting a daughter.

Yesterday, allegations, along with videos, arose depicting Tristan in very compromising positions with women who were not Khloe Kardashian. Khloe is in Cleveland while she prepares to give birth any day now. Apparently, the Kard-Jenner clan is shocked, with a source noting that they, along with Khloe, did not “know how deceptive Tristan could really be”.

screen-shot-2013-11-25-at-14-00-23

Aight.

I’ll start off by saying that under no circumstances should a pregnant woman, or any woman, go through the stress and pain of cheating.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of way…Khloe…girl.

GIRL.

This woman is 33. I am having a hard time understanding how she could, with all of the money, resources, and fame at her fingertips, make a conscious decision to enter a serious relationship with a man who was expecting a child. Life and romance rarely play out like in the movies where everything would be perfect if not for a case of good guy, bad timing.

If the timing is bad, then so are the prospects of the relationship.

Which brings me to the title of this post. It is important to exercise accountability at the end of almost every relationship in order to reflect on how you either contributed to the demise or could have avoided the relationship altogether. This goes for personal, professional, and romantic relationships.

Personal accountability should not ever be conflated with blame or shame. No one deserves to be met with a terrible partner who is abusive, dishonest, or unfaithful. They are, however, responsible for guarding their heart and being mindful about who they trust with it. Yes, a man can switch up and become the worst kind of partner. It happens every day. You cannot control another adult’s actions. You can, however, control yourself and your response to poor treatment.

Khloe enjoyed nights on the town and fancy dinners while her boyfriend’s recent ex was giving birth. No amount of finessing should have convinced her that that was a good idea. Perhaps she thought that “the heart wants what it wants” or maybe that “true love wins”.

Maybe this is all an elaborate publicity stunt. Maybe there’s no merit to the claims. But there is a very real innocent life about to be born into a media storm and that’s the biggest concern in all of this.

It’s just a shame that it took something like this to throw a monkey wrench in Khloe’s plans.

Sometimes, you do it to yourself.

via Daily Prompt: Froth

body positivity, health, self awareness, weight, workplace

Fat and Fit: Body Positivity and Weight Loss

In October, my knee was killing me. I chalked it up to the heavy lifting I’d been doing since moving into my home. It wasn’t strained or swollen. It just hurt.

I’m not sure exactly when people started using the phrase “body-positive” as the catchall phrase for physical acceptance, but it likely stems from the fat acceptance movement of the 1960s. The content of my women’s and gender studies classes are a bit hazy, so I won’t go into details, but essentially, the fat acceptance movement (which intersects with the women’s movement) brought to light the many issues in fat-based discrimination, anti-fat stigmas, and aggressive diet promotion.

It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with my weight and have written about it, as documented here and here. But it wasn’t until more recently that I really understood how insidious fat-shaming is and how it’s quite literally the only generally acceptable form of discrimination, especially in the workplace. Yes, fat people have a harder time finding work and getting paid more. And as of September 2016, Michigan was the only state with anti weight discrimination laws in place. These kinds of biases can affect even the most self-assured person, making them question their self-worth in a world that has told them that thin is in.

So when plus sized models like Tess Holliday and Ashley Graham and yogis like Jessamyn Stanley and fashion bloggers and designers like Gabi Fresh began making waves by showing that fuller bodies can be sexy, strong, and attractive, many women were encouraged to love themselves and embrace being #bodypositive.

I have followed a few plus sized fashion bloggers and vloggers throughout the years and have seen how many of them have gained-and lost-a significant amount of weight. And it’s the latter that I want to discuss.

Is it possible to be body positive while also actively trying to lose weight?

Some believe that the two cannot coexist. When supermodel Ashley Graham posted a photo of herself appearing slimmer, many comments were peppered with “it’s a shame you turned your back on us”. Gabi Fresh posted a picture of herself that made her appear as if she’d lost at least 50lbs and similar comments came pouring in. Plus-sized blogger PassionJonesz lost 100lbs after undergoing the VSG procedure and lost subscribers, with people saying that she abandoned the community, and at least one follower saying “everyone is losing weight and you just had to go and be like them.” Is losing weight or even wanting to lose weight an indication that one doesn’t accept their body? I believe the answer is yes- but no.

There’s a bevy of research that shows that morbid obesity is at best, unhealthy, and at worst, deadly. We can dive into why the BMI is a flawed metric but with tools to help us measure body fat percentages, waist-hip ratios, etc., we can effectively say that outliers aside, an individual carrying an extreme amount of excess weight is likely to experience weight-related health challenges. Does this mean that they should be subject to unsolicited comments, insults, or discrimination of any kind? No. Does it mean that we can’t have plus sized models? Absolutely not. So when someone (I’ll use myself as an example) decides to lose weight to improve my overall health and fitness, I am doing so because I want to change. I am, by definition, no longer accepting my body in its current state because I want it to be leaner and stronger.

I think that’s ok.

Embracing my desire to change is not synonymous with hating my body, my size, or anything about it. It doesn’t mean that I look down on others who are also overweight. In fact, and I’ve made this argument before, any healthy approach to weight loss has to start from self-love. I know a thing or two about dangerous weight loss methods and in those moments, I was feeling anything but love and respect for myself. I didn’t forgive myself. I didn’t make room for mistakes. I didn’t embrace my body. Over the last few years, I’ve lost and gained weight as stressors like moving twice in a year, being in a horrid job situation, and dealing with anxiety wreaked havoc on my weight. The wine and takeout and Netflix binge-watching sessions didn’t help, either. So I decided to approach fitness slowly, taking time to meet with doctors and keeping my workouts cheap, fun, and different every day of the week.

I have certainly had moments where I didn’t like the way my body looked. Those times often ended in binge sessions. But these days, I’m more concerned with how my body feels.

It’s been a few months since my pesky knee trouble. I’ve worked out daily and shed a few pounds since then, too.

My knee also doesn’t hurt anymore.

Adri

break ups, dating, feminism, insecure, love, marriage, relationships, self awareness

7 Tips to Ruin your Livelihood in Love and Relationships

The 1950s. A decade filled with A-line skirts, the dawn of rock ‘n roll, and good ol’ American segregation. Mad Men glamorized this era, where the men were powerful and their doting housewives drowned in depressants to keep afloat- with not one strand of hair out of place.

‘Twas a simpler time, indeed.

When I read the article below, I laughed heartily. Not because the tips are ridiculous, but because I knew that men who came across this blast from the past would be chomping at the bit to go back to this time – when women catered to their every need.

tips to look after your husband

But this entry isn’t about that. It’s about how seemingly progressive, feminist women get stuck carrying the emotional weight for their relationships and partners.

Black women experience stress-related weathering at the molecular level. And it’s killing us. We literally cannot afford to do this kind of stuff anymore if we want to be alive and thriving.

You may not be in a scurry to freshen your makeup and clean up before your partner’s arrival but you may be doing these 7 things that are detrimental to yourself.

  1. Saying “yes” when you mean “no”. Every time a woman says “yes” when she doesn’t mean it, an angel loses its wings. We are conditioned to be a man’s “peace”, and for many men, peace means subordinate. If you don’t want to do something, say it with your chest.
  2. Not sweating the small stuff. “It’s just the trash,” you mutter, as you haul the garbage out in your PJs while your partner watches his team play ball.  You’d asked him to take it out at least 4 times that day. Some other relationship coach may tell you let sleeping dogs lie, but this ain’t that. When you don’t sweat the small stuff, they don’t disappear; they grow. The “small stuff” thrives on resentment.  Bring it up. Talk it out.
  3. Playing detective. You’re likely not a detective, and if you are, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to spend unpaid hours investigating your mate. If you have suspicions, then you need to pony up and address them head-on. Be smart. But routinely looking through his phone, email, social media, etc., only makes you look like the crazy one. Then you end up feeling guilty and taking the blame, which brings me to number 4.
  4. Conflating accountability with blame. Accountability is a crucial component of any whole and loving relationship. Each partner commits that they will uphold their end of the bargain. They make a concerted effort to honor their commitments and apologize when they fall short. Accountability is not saying that everything that goes wrong in the relationship is your fault. It is not a pity party. Sis, it’s not always you.
  5. Playing therapist. One of the most irritating things about that 50’s article is that it instructs women to place the emotional health of their husbands above their own. His long day at work warrants a quiet and clean home upon his arrival, with nothing to greet him but docile children and a smiling wife. Meanwhile, anyone who has children or has looked after them knows how something as simple as getting them dressed can turn into a puddle of tears.
  6. Your job is not to help solve his problems, unpack his emotional trauma, serve as his whipping boy, or address his resentments.  I don’t care what meme or video you saw floating around that said the opposite. You are not his therapist and that boundary needs to be firmly in place.
  7. And before you object with the very real importance about being a supportive partner, take this into account: there’s a reason why therapists charge $150/hour and don’t treat people they know.
  8. They know their time and barriers are valuable. Why are you volunteering?
  9. Telling your business. Long after you’ve vented to your close friends and family about the terrible thing your partner did, they will remember. And while you may have forgiven him, they haven’t. It’s important to note that this one is often overlooked because women tend to confide in one another. The problem is that long after the dust settles, your closest companions will feel used and robbed of their time. You have an issue? Either fix it internally or vent but be prepared for your friends to have a vested interest in what happens next.
  10. This is often how emotionally abusive relationships strengthen. When I was in a relationship with someone that was a habitual cheater and verbally abusive, I vented to my friends until the did not want to hear it anymore. This made the man I was with my only confidant. He and I kept our mess quiet while I died internally. I touched on it here.
  11. Taking your foot off their neck. The modern woman is often told that she is too demanding, bossy, or picky. I argue that we are not assertive enough.  Relationships often start with him pulling out all the stops to woo you and once you agree to be in a committed relationship, the romance and good behavior fades away. Sometimes, it’s gone so quickly, you wonder if the good behavior was all an act. ( Spoiler alert: It probably was). And so you end up trying to bring the relationship back to its former glory, as if that’s something only one person can do, when your partner acted like they had a real interest in being with you.
  12. I learned a decade ago that the true test of your will is not how many flowers you get or public proclamations of love after a fallout; it’s in the little things he does daily to honor you, himself, and the relationship you both agreed to be in.
  13. If you saw “Fences” starring the incomparable Viola Davis, you remember the monologue that secured her the Academy Award. After her husband (Troy) of eighteen years reveals that he’s not only been unfaithful but also is expecting a child with another woman, he then goes on to explain how he’s felt trapped and unfulfilled in life. He’s “been standing in the same place for eighteen years”.
  14. Rose (Viola) then goes on to say “I been standing with you! I been right here with you, Troy. I got a life too. I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot with you. Don’t you think I ever wanted other things? Don’t you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me? Don’t you think it ever crossed my mind to want to know other men? That I wanted to lay up somewhere and forget about my responsibilities? …But I held on to you, Troy. I held you tighter. You was my husband. I owed you everything I had. Every part of me I could find to give you. . . . I gave everything I had to try and erase the doubt that you wasn’t the finest man in the world. And wherever you was going . . I wanted to be there with you. Cause you was my husband. Cause that’s the only way I was gonna survive as your wife.
  15. You always talking about what you give . . . and what you don’t have to give.
  16. But you take, too.
  17. You take.”

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Peace & Love,

Adri

gratitude, self awareness, success

Talk Yo’ Sh-t: Unapologetic Pride

On July 10th, my birthday, I got the email that confirmed what I had been diligently working towards for several years- my offer was accepted and now under contract.

Sixty days and plenty of paperwork and repairs later – I showed up to the title company’s office with my parents in tow – to settle on a house. At 28, I achieved what I set out to do years before – I became a homeowner before 30.

For the first time since probably my grad school graduation – I was bursting with pride, joy, and gratitude. My parents, who had both grown up extraordinarily poor in Jamaica, were able to be with their youngest daughter as she bought a home by herself. I’d spent months denying myself certain luxuries to get to this point and yet shortly after I made the announcement on Facebook – I deleted the post. Nearly 100 people liked it and I thought “This is too much. I don’t want to look like I’m bragging.”

I wish I could undo it.

I’m not well-versed enough in human behavior to properly dissect how and why we came to be this way – but people are conditioned to wear humility – no matter how disingenuous it is. I’ve only recently made a conscious effort to stop downplaying my accomplishments. You know how it goes:

Them: You did such an amazing job!
Me: Eh, half the work was done already.
Them: That’s such a pretty dress!
Me: Really? I got it from a thrift store.

I felt myself doing it and couldn’t stop myself as the words tumbled out of my mouth. Of course I worked hard and I was glad to be recognized for it. Of course I selected a dress that I thought was pretty and would suit my figure nicely – regardless of where it came from. In my mind, fully accepting your accomplishments, gifts, and talents meant that you were bragging. And bragging makes you obnoxious.

It wasn’t until I really thought about why I felt the way I felt that I started to shift. I was only diminishing my success to make other people feel comfortable. I didn’t want them to think I was feeling myself too much – or worse- that they were not good enough.

There’s this pervasive idea that you shouldn’t make mention of any wins, so as not to have people wish you harm. And as someone who is very spiritual, there is some merit in that – but it’s mostly bunk. There’s certainly a middle ground between keeping mum on life’s joys and snapchatting stacks of cash in your new house – with the address visible.

It should go without saying, but bragging and owning your accomplishments are not one and the same. I can own my accomplishments without letting them define me or be used as a weapon to disrespect or dismiss others.

So, yea.

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Peace & Love,

Adri

break ups, dating, love, relationships, self awareness

Stay Low and Bullsh-t

“We can stay low and build.”

These words were texted to a young woman who was questioning the direction of her relationship with someone. You may be familiar with the phrase because during a fit of a rage/sadness, she shared the text conversation on Twitter, citing it as evidence that she had been played and mistreated.

Long before #uberbae  and #hurtbaethere was the #staylowandbuildbae.

And much to her chagrin, few people rallied around her but rather used the text thread against her. It was pretty obvious that he was playing her with “stay low and build,” right? Well, maybe.

Long before staying low and building, women have been told to “keep it on the down low,”  “keep things quiet,” and a host of other creative ways to basically shut the hell up about the non-relationship. But discretion doesn’t automatically equate to nefarious intentions. Sometimes, it’s just about the personalities of the people in the couple-ship.

For example, I’m relatively low-key about sharing details about my significant other, both before and after we decided to be in a committed relationship. No one but us knows personal details and we’re keeping it that way.

It may also be a good idea to keep your dating situation on the low if you’re dating several people who are in the same social circles. Running your mouth prematurely may (read: will) jeopardize your prospects with others who don’t want to be associated as 1 out of the several that you’re dealing with.

So how do you know if someone is moving in silence because they want to keep things simple or to string you along?

  1. Ask them about their intentions. Early. If you know you’re looking for a committed relationship, say that (without demanding one), and ask him directly what he wants.
  2. Pay attention to how he acts when you’re out in public. Are you going to places that are in the cut? Is he often looking around, as if he’s on edge?
  3. Does he remember key details about you or are things pretty shallow? I don’t mean if he remembers your birthday – does he remember that you prefer tomatoes on your sandwich, or vodka over cognac? Random details are hard to keep track of if you don’t take an actual interest in a person.
  4. Is there any progression in your relations? Have you met key friends, family, and associates?
  5. Has he asked you for things that are “girlfriend-esque” but never discussed a commitment?

The main things you want to look for are transparency and sincerity. And neither of those traits can be proven by saying a few words. Words, action, and consistency should all be working together to show you that the person you’re dating is taking you seriously, whether he’s shouting it from the rooftop or not.

But be honest with yourself. Are you keeping things hush-hush because that’s how you move or because that’s how you’ve been told to move?

 

Peace & Love,

Adri

 

dating, feminism, relationships, self awareness

I’d Rather Be Crazy

When was the last time someone called you crazy? And I’m talking to the women here.

Think about it.

I’m willing to bet you didn’t have to think that long. I’m also willing to bet it was by a man. Perhaps a man you are/were dating. Either way, I decided a while ago that I’m not going to be offended by the oft-misused epithet.

Why? Men default to “crazy” when a woman expresses herself in ways that they deem extreme. They use it to gaslight and dismiss women. They use it to ignore the message and demean the messenger. To be clear (because I know how y’all like to misconstrue things), I am not justifying behavior that is violent or manipulative.  A woman who calls you 50x back to back in a non emergency situation MAY have some issues. But men call women crazy so often that it hardly even means anything.

Take this scenario: Jamar shows up late for the fifth time to your date. This time, he doesn’t even bother apologizing. You’re left standing outside of the movie theater feeling disrespected as he walks up 15 minutes past the starting time. You want to say something but the last time you brought up his tardiness, you got emotional and your voice cracked, betraying your hurt at the situation. You were never the type to get loud and yell, but in moments of frustration, you tend to cry. In that moment, however, he rolled his eyes and said “yo I don’t like that crazy shit. What’s there to cry about? I said sorry, damn!” So this time, you say nothing. You don’t want to be crazy like all of his past exes. (By the way, men who swear that all of their exes are crazy, are usually the problem).

Crazy is just another tool used by men to avoid taking ownership over their own issues. And since it’s so popular and rarely questioned, women often take personal responsibility for being the most sane, most levelheaded person- even at their own expense.

I’m tired of it. I am a human being who won’t bust out your windows, call you 100 times, or scream at you. But I have a right to express how I feel in the way that is truest to me. Sometimes that means I’ll write, or cry, or shut down to collect my thoughts. And I will no longer apologize for any of that. It’s what makes me unique and beautiful and worthy of someone who can respect all of that, so we can move forward with a newfound understanding of one another.

So if I have to risk being called crazy or assume a role that makes my partner feel comfortable, I choose the former. I’d rather be crazy.giphy

Peace & Love,

Adri

healing, love, relationships, self awareness, Uncategorized

I am Lemonade

Disclaimer: This is not a thinkpiece. This is a me piece.

“Your grandmother had a very hard life, you know,” my mother said. I’d just learned that my grandma had been hospitalized for a minor issue that was a symptom of a chronic condition. I was taken aback. I’d always known that my grandmother, an assertive, sometimes tactless, but always encouraging woman, had not been dealt the best cards in life. Growing up in the 1930’s in abject poverty in Jamaica, she was pulled out of school at age twelve to begin working. There was no electricity. She was very dark skinned. A “coolie” with textured hair. Opportunities ranged from being a stay-at-home mom to a domestic worker. She married a man who struggled with his own demons that often revealed themselves in a bottle or a balled up fist. I’d known this, and yet, I had never heard my mother say it so plainly. Perhaps she knew more than I did and had chosen to keep more of the painful details to herself.

When I spoke with my grandmother later on to check on her, the conversation was different. I spoke with her differently. I listened more intently. She always ended phone calls with a relevant bible scripture and encouraging words and that day was no different. “Work hard, Adriana. I never had the opportunity. But I prayed and asked God to make sure that my children and their children did. I pray for you. I pray that you find a husband and that I live to see you have children.” I took those words to heart. I worked harder this past week in the office, pulling around-the-clock hours. I focused more intently on projects. I prayed more. Not for a husband- but for peace and discernment.

And then I saw Beyonce’s visual album “Lemonade” last night.

Readers have either seen it or will see it, so I won’t even  attempt to discuss or summarize the feature at length. I found it to be one of the most stunning visual representations of a love on fire- be it romantic or love of self. It spoke to me in ways that were certainly intentional but came at a time when I thought I had it all together. I suppose that’s the perfect time to have your world turned on its head. When presented with a mirror of your own cycle, your own broken record of “intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, hope, forgiveness, reformation, reconciliation” can you look at it with a steady gaze and straight face? Can you say “yes, this is who I am and who we are and I’m okay with that?” I could not. At least not honestly.

I suppose that as a black woman living in this country at this time, I look great on paper. Good income. Good job. Educated. Genuine friends and family. Good health. Gratitude is something that I practice daily, yet I found myself attaching myself to men and getting into ill-fitting relationships because it was the “right thing to do”. As much as I am comfortable with who I am, I seek partnership this is real and true and a reflection of what I think and feel about myself. But I have sold myself short several times. I have overlooked moments where I was made to feel less than. Or problematic. Or “hard to love”. I have often cried myself to sleep, wondering if a man was cheating on me. Then cried more when I knew he was. I have broken things. Thrown things. Called women who called them. Then once I decided I was done, deleted and blocked them in every way possible, put on my “I’m a bad bitch” cloak and repeated the same story starring me and featuring the same characters with different names.

I am in the midst of healing from all of that, tending to my own garden and watching as the fruit of my labor begins to sprout. “Lemonade” for me doesn’t center around romantic relationships.  It’s about my relationship with myself. It’s about knowing and loving yourself enough to know that sometimes when life hands you more lemons than sugar, you do the best with what you are given. Then you pray that your daughter, should she be handed a few lemons, will make a lemonade sweeter than yours. And that kind of lemonade isn’t made overnight. It may take months. It may take years.

Life handed my grandmother lemons. And while I have been handed a few of my own and am not sure how to work my magic to make something out of them, I am grateful knowing that I am the lemonade she prayed for. And for now, that is all the sugar I need.

 

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Peace & Love,

Adriana

 

 

 

break ups, dating, relationships, self awareness

For Chosen Girls: When You Are Enough

Boy I gotta shake it off

Gotta do what’s best for me

Baby and that means I gotta

Shake you off

I have never outright told a friend that they should break up with their boyfriend/girlfriend until very recently. And even in that case, it wasn’t a direct “girl, you better drop that fool”. It was more like “this isn’t healthy for you. It seems like it would be best for you if you ended it.” I try to be balanced. Few things are more aggravating than being a staunch supporter of your friend’s breakup, only to have her mend things a few days later. So I play it cool. Only she knows when enough is enough. And that’s what I wanted to discuss.

Sometimes, the instincts that tell you to blow that popsicle stand are right. And they don’t have to kick in due to mistreatment, abuse, or infidelity. Far too many of us have been conditioned to believe that those are the only reasons to end a relationship. In my experience, I’ve seen more women stay in dead end relationships because they cling to the title of being someone’s girlfriend/fiance/wife. Being “chose” is something too many of us view as an honor. Like damsels in distress- we wait to be selected and ultimately base our sense of value on how often it happens. And because of that, we hold on to dead, toxic, or unsatisfying relationships for way too long.

“He may bore me to tears but at least he treats me right.”

“We’re worlds apart and don’t have any of the same passions but he spoils me.”

“He may be emotionally detached but I can count on him.”

Enough.

Sometimes, the “fight or flight” instinct is activated for a pretty damn good reason. It’s up to you to know whether the situation is worth fighting for or if you should flee from it. Now, I know some of you will take my view with a few grains of salt. I’ve already shared that I tend to end things, sometimes prematurely. But what I haven’t shared is that I spent my early twenties holding on to dead situationships as if it was a sport.Red flags would be in front of me like a full blown color guard routine and I remained blissfully stuck in my ways, with rose-colored glasses super glued to my face.

I know what it’s like to be on the other side.The gut feeling you have that you push to the recesses of your mind when he dismisses your ideas, or ignores your call, or simply annoys you by being around- it matters! Address it all. Women sometimes fight desperately to ignore the red flags because we don’t want to have to start the search all over again. We don’t want to have to ceremoniously take down the “coupley” pictures on social media. We don’t want to explain to our loved ones about what went wrong, yet again.

I’m not here to break up a happy home or make you cast doubt on your relationship. I just happen to know how difficult it can be to end a relationship with someone, who for all intents and purposes, is a good guy. But you’re not looking for someone who’s “good enough”.

 

You are good enough.

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dating, friendships, healing, relationships, self awareness

Fight or flight

A few months ago, the following conversation took place between me and a close friend:

Friend: Hey Adri, how’s it going with [insert guy’s name here]?

Me: Who? Girl, please. I had to cancel that.

Friend (to another friend who had joined the conversation): Man, Adri cuts these guys off quick. You don’t give anyone a chance.

Me *shrugging*: Hey. I don’t waste time.

Fight or flight: a term used to describe the automatic, inborn, physiological mechanism in the body that enables humans to mobilize a lot of energy rapidly in order to cope with threats to survival by either fighting or fleeing (flight).

Confession: I always am in survival mode when it comes to relations, platonic or otherwise. And I rarely apologize for it. I take the quote “when people show you who they are, believe them” to heart. The reality is that like many, I’ve experienced hurt and have decided to take an active role in preventing it from happening again. Am I always successful? No. But more often than not, I’ve successfully avoided the sinking feeling you get in your gut when you realize that you’ve been deceived, or betrayed, or abused. I usually win.

The fight or flight response is thought to have been hard-wired into our psyche because of very real physical prehistoric threats like a raging saber-toothed tiger determined to rip our ancestors’ heads off. While most of us don’t have those types of massive feline-based threats these days, we do encounter the very real possibility of being mugged, or hit by a car, or damaged by an emotional interaction. And our bodies, wired by years of trauma, reacts. I don’t know much about having to deal with someone verbally abusing me. Or enduring an intense and uncomfortable conversation.

Because I flee. I always have. For reasons that are far too personal for a public blog (and friends), I learned at a very early age that leaving is the answer. While I may not exhibit unnatural strength like the mother who lifted a car to save her child during a fight or flight moment, I am skilled at removing myself from a situation faster than you can say “adrenaline”.

Emotions running high? Leave.

Angry? Leave.

Frustrated? Leave.

And it’s my go-to response because when it comes to relationships, platonic or otherwise, I have one foot out the door, anyway. I can hear you through the computer or your smartphone now, telling me that it’s not ok to do what I do. Or that I have to trust the process. Or my personal favorite, “Adri, you have to give people a chance”. I’ve heard it all. And I see the merit in all of those statements. I know that it is going to be incredibly difficult for me to connect with anyone on a truly deeper level if I’m always ready to leave when I’m faced with the possibility of being hurt. I leave before I get left. I hurt before I’m hurt.

I’ve been comfortable with this strategy because “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” even if I break, instead.

It’s how I’m wired.

To be continued,
Adri