Sunday, September 25, 2016

♫...Hold me down, break my wings Wouldn't change a fucking thing...♫

I remember the first time someone called me fat.
I was in middle school, a time in anyone's life that's particularly trying unless you are Barbie doll perfect, and blessed with an iron clad, healthy self-esteem.
I was neither.
I was short, in 'advanced' classes, no one had taught me how to 'fix' my hair, I wasn't allowed to wear makeup, and I was still dressing in looney toon tshirts. The fact that I had sprouted ginormous boobs, seemingly overnight, did not go unnoticed or uncommwnted on by the woefully unoriginal adolescent males. Also, the little clique of perfect popular girls seemed set on making every day a misery for me.

The moment that was to be branded into my memory for all of eternity took place in the mandatory, co-ed Home Ec class that I was less than thrilled to be taking. This particular day, we were handed a brown paper bag and some strips of paper. We were supposed to write something nice about each person, fold it up, and put it in their paper bag. Then one by one we were supposed to stand up, pull out one slip of paper, and read it in front of the class. People stood up, reached in, and read things like 'I love your hair' or 'cool shirt'. Back then, I wasn't acquainted with my dear friend anxiety, so I wasn't particularly apprehensive about reading a strip of paper in front of some classmates. I stood up, reached into my brown bag, and pulled out a folded up strip of paper. My stomach crumpled up into a little ball and crawled into my throat when I read what was on the paper. Written in pencil, three little letters, written big enough to cover most of the paper, stared back at me: FAT. Back then I wasn't as talented at swollowing my emotions and hiding how I really feel behind a carefully constructed mask of cool indifference. I'm pretty sure my face turned red (which is impossible to miss on someone as pale as me), and I looked distressed because my Home Ec teacher marched over and snatched the paper from my hands. She was angry and lectured the class on how they should not be cruel etc. I just remember sitting back down, fighting to not cry, and desperately wanting to fold myself in to make myself smaller.

I remember hating my body all through my teens and twenties. There wasn't a diet pill that I didn't try, or a fad diet that I didn't subject myself to. Things had to get worse before they got better. It all started with a comment made by a guy I fancied myself in love with. We weren't 'together', but we were close friends, and we fooled around a lot. One day a mutual friend finally came to me and said he felt he needed to tell me something so that I would quit wasting my time with this guy. He told me that the guy I had been fooling around with said that I was 'too fat to date publicly'. It was like a punch to the gut. It broke my heart, it broke something in me. Then when he got involved with someone much thinner and younger than me I went into a deep depression. That on top of being laid off, sent me down a dark path, and when I finally shook myself out of it I had gained 100lbs.

If I hated my body before, it was nothing compared to how much I loathed it now. I could barely walk around campus between classes, and I was embarrassed for anyone to see me. I stopped going out, I refused to see my friends. The moment that changed everything was when I saw my graduation photos. It took me 10 years to finish college because I had to go part time, when I could, while working 40+ hours a week. I was proud of myself and I wanted the world to know that I achieved this goal. However, I was too ashamed of my body to even purchase the photos. After that. I started the diet and exercise regimen that I've mentioned before. I lost 120lbs, and I felt a lot better about my body...but what I had put it through had left its mark. My body isn't perfect and there are parts I still loathe about it. I still worry about anyone seeing me naked, that they'll be disgusted, and I'll once again be deemed 'too fat to date'.

The thing is, I've started fighting back against those thoughts. I have a belly pooch, stretch marks, and cellulite. My thighs touch, a lot. It doesn't mean that I'm not cute as hell. If I feel cute, and I feel like taking a photo of myself, it's my way of fighting back against my own negative self-image. What doesn't help at all is when friends/aquaintances make negative comments about me and those photos. I've spent so much time hating everything about my body, and it has taken me a lot of time and effort to get to a place where I feel good enough about myself to post pictures for the whole world to see and comment on. When someone I've allowed to be a part of my life makes negative comments about me posting these photos, they take a wrecking ball to all the work I've done. I wish I had a thicker skin, but I tend to trust people much more than I should. I'm working on it though. The encouragement and support of the amazing people in my life helps a lot.

I think what I'm trying to say is that you should really watch what you say to people. You never know how much your words are going to damage someone, or how they can scar someone for life.

To the people who judge me for posting cute photos of myself: Fuck you.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

♫...There's a party at the beach tonight...♫

You can follow my beach trip/idiocy over the next few days at:

Twitter = ATempestInADCup
Instagram = RubyStrawberry 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

♫...Give me a reason to act like I care...♫

  I have been writing and deleting...or writing, posting, and then deleting...things for almost a week now. I've been so full of rage, hurt, suspicion, disgust, and sadness that I've wanted to say things that would destroy and inflict pain. That's not the kind of person I am though. The kind of person I am loves, encourages, and protects others. I can't let the things that are done to me, the lies I'm told, and the truth I now see/know turn me into someone else. The wounds that have been inflicted on me are deep and painful...and every time they start to heal they are ripped wide open. I refuse to become my pain and sadness though. I deserve to be happy...and I will be. I will be so goddamn happy that just looking at me makes you smile.

  In a few days, I'm going to the beach for the first time in decades. I am going to let the sun and the sand and the ocean work its magic on me. I am going to relax and rest and take care of myself (body and soul). I'm going to forget and let go...for me, and me alone. I'm going to remember the kind, loving, funny, intelligent, vibrant, empathetic, joyful woman that I am. I am going to let her come back to life and take control...but still remember the things that I have learned, so that she is able to say, 'No! I deserve so much better, so much more than this!' next time.

  My life is getting better every day. I have so much to look forward to in my very near future. I've struggled long and hard to be financially independent. I've had people make fun of me and look down on me for having to move back in with my parents, and here I am finally at the moment where I am looking for my own home. I have a job I love after spending years at a place that made me sad and miserable. I have a body that I don't 100% hate after working my ass off dieting and exercising for years! I have amazing, supportive friends and family who have been so wonderful, understanding, and tolerant while I've worked through things. I'm done letting the bad/painful part of my life overshadow all the great things I have, and all the exciting things I have coming. I am done letting it destroy who I am, and eat away at my happiness. I gave my whole heart, my soul, my unquestioning trust, my friendship, my unwavering loyalty to the wrong person. I'll know better next time.

Follow my beach trip/idiocy:
Instagram = RubyStrawberry
Twitter = ATempestInADCup

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

State of the Union Address - September 2016 edition

I kind of feel like beating my head against a brick wall.
People are so goddamn frustrating today.
Maybe it's in the stars, and there's something to this Mercury Retrograde bullshit.
Maybe it's a severe lack of sleep on my part.
Maybe I need to learn to meditate and do yoga (thanks, Sharon, I'll get right on that after my colonic* and full frontal lobotomy).
All I know is that people are being goddamn stupid as hell today, and my brutal honesty is not going over well with said ignoramuses. You know what? If you can't handle the truth, don't fucking ask for it. If you ask for it, be prepared to hear things you may not like.
I'm not going to tip-toe through the tulips around your fragile sensibilities if you are going to be so goddamn stupid that it lowers the collective IQ of everyone forced to share the same oxygen as you today.

Here's what I need:
I need everyone to stop being so goddamn stupid.
I need to get drunk tonight...not in a crowd/at a bar...with someone I can have a GREAT conversation with.

*Fun note, I googled to make sure I spelled colonic right, and there's a place down the road called Healing Waters...seriously?!?

Monday, September 12, 2016

♫...We're reckless with no apologies...♫

Found on the internetz

I've spent the majority of my 36 (almost 37) years feeling 'less than'. Feeling like I'm not enough: not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not smart enough, not outgoing enough, not talented enough, not good enough.
That bullshit is over.

I've spent the last 3 months rebuilding every aspect of who I am, most especially my self-esteem/confidence. The meek little mouse that struggled for decades with self-destructive thinking, caring what others thought of her, and fearing abandonment is gone. I like me. I'm proud of all of the hard work I put in to lose weight. I'm ecstatic that I'm buying my own home after years of struggling to get to this point. I'm all I need.

The problem resides in the fact that some people have a problem with that. Some people miss that little mouse they could push around. Other people want me to be proud of my achievements, proud of the way I look...but quiet about it. Posting photos of myself when I think I look particularly good is apparently something to be mocked, ridiculed, and asking for unwanted attention. 
Let me be absolutely fucking clear: I DON'T GIVE A FUCK.

For the first time in my life, I like my body. Is it perfect? Hell, fucking no...but I think it's pretty awesome. I feel good about myself. If I think I look pretty, I'm going to take a photo...and I'm going to fucking share it with the damn world. 

For the first time in my life, I know my worth. I'm goddamn magical. You can either get on board with this, or leave. If I need time to myself, I take it. If I don't want to do something, I don't. If someone is flooding my life with massive amounts of negativity and constantly bringing me down...I remove them. I put a lot of time and energy into the people I love, but I've also had a problem with always putting them and their needs first. I can't and will not do this anymore. This is my life, and no one is responsible for my happiness except me. 

For the first time in my life, I'm a confident woman. I make my own decisions (good or bad, whatever), and I don't worry about others judging me. I know I'm not a hot 20-something year old, but at 36 I think I've never looked better. I wear whatever I like, I eat what I like, I go where I like, I post what I like, I talk to whoever the fuck I like. If you have a problem with any of this, exit stage left.

I'm not going to conform to some cookie cutter mold of what others think I should be...I'm not going to bow to the opinions of how others think I should live my life...I'm not going to constantly put the needs of others so far ahead of my own. 

I like who I am, and I'm not going to apologize for that. The woman I have fought to become is finally at a point where she can take care of herself in every conceivable way.  You can call me arrogant or conceited, that's fine. I think everyone has the potential to be arrogant or conceited about something, and I'm no exception. I'm just done caring about the judgement of others. I'm over feeling bad about doing what is necessary to take care of me. I'm through apologizing for thinking I look good. This is the New Ruby Order, and you can either like it or leave it. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

♫...Does it scare you boy that we don't need you?...♫

I want to talk a little more coherently about the post I haphazardly threw together last night while tipsy and upset.

First, the entire backstory.
Back in February (I mistakenly said March in my responses, but it was the end of February) my boyfriend (at the time, now ex) was in the hospital. I had taken him to the ER where we sat for hours...then he was admitted to a part of the hospital where there were strict, short visiting hours. In previous hospital visits I had been able to stay in the room with him as much as I I was beside myself over him not only being sick, but also not being able to be with him. Because of this, I was sleeping in my car in the parking deck between visiting hours, and when I was able to visit he was not coherent most of the time due to pain medication. That first full day was also when I heard the news that I least wanted to hear (but suspected) about his health. So, here is the man I loved with all of my heart and soul, in the hospital, with a serious problem, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I'm crazy with worry, I haven't slept much, and I have to go back to work for a while. I left the hospital after the first visiting hours ended (it was something crazy, like 5am-6am) so tired that I sat at a stop sign waiting for it to turn green. That's when I knew that I was going to need some extra the form of coffee. Seeing as how I also needed gas, I stopped at the Shell station near where I worked at the time.
Now, what you need to know about me is that I am a woman who was raised in the South, and grew up in a culture that encouraged us to be pleasant, polite and pleasing. Meaning, I feel the need to be nice no matter what, and I don't know how to handle awkward social situations in which I feel uncomfortable. I've had massive amounts of practice overcoming this in the last 3 months, but this was 6 months ago. I also lean heavily toward being courteous to employees in establishments I frequent. Example, the ladies who work in the Shell station by my house. I love the hell out of them. I talk to them to the point that we know facts about each others lives. They helped me with my corset last Halloween.
I had never been to this particular Shell station that early in the morning before, so I had never encountered this guy before. Now, I was visibly upset (red face, puffy eyes, no makeup whatsoever), and you could tell that I was exhausted. I got my coffee and a few snacks, and this guy was talking at me the entire time. I explained that the love of my life was in the hospital and I was exhausted. Still he kept talking, and I tried to be polite. We spoke about pit bulls, which I love, and we both supported this local pit bull rescue. The thing is, he wouldn't complete my transaction while he talked. Then he wanted to add me on Facebook...and in order to get the hell out of there I let him send me a request...thinking I would just delete him later. Now, once I looked at his profile I saw that he was married, and immediately thought that he was way too flirty for a married man. Whatever, I had made it clear that I was in love with someone else, and entirely happy. With all the stress surrounding my (then) love being in the hospital and the clusterfuck of events that happened afterwards, I completely forgot about this guy and deleting him.

Last night:
Well, last night I made a joke about using this silly photo as my online dating picture. This guy, whom I had a 10/20 minute conversation with SIX MONTHS AGO suddenly decides to let loose with the delusions I uploaded to the previous post.
He claims that I told him that I was married. Lie. I never said that I was married. I said that I was in a very committed relationship
He said that I have him a sob story. Lie, he asked me why I looked so upset and I simply said that my boyfriend was in the hospital and I was worried about him.
He claims that I'm a liar. Lie, I'm brutally honest.
He claims I'm fake. Lie, the only thing fake about me is my hair color.
He then went on to say that he hopes that I never find happiness because I'm such a liar. Okay. Let's take a moment and think about this...1. We had a short conversation 6 months ago, and haven't spoken since. I forgot he even existed. He knows nothing about me. When I added him on facebook, I added him to a list that keeps him from seeing a majority of the things that I post. 2. Dude is married. Why the hell is he getting so bent out of shape? I never flirted with all. He's the kind of guy I would never in a million years flirt with or date even if he wasn't married...but dude IS married. His profile photo is them together. WTF? Even if I had told him that I was married (because let's face it, when a creepy guy is flirting with you sometimes it's the only way to get them to lay off - if you're lucky - without it getting ugly. That did not happen in this instance) he shouldn't have felt the need to be so blatantly antagonistic and mean...because he's married, and it shouldn't have mattered if I was single or not to him! 3. Anyone with half a brain who follows me on Facebook or any other social media site knows I got dumped at the end of May.

The scary thing is, this happens a the majority of women (maybe men too, but I'm writing this from a woman's perspective/experience). There are too many men out there who have such an overblown sense of entitlement to a women, their time, their attention, even their bodies. People like this guy think that women exist solely for their benefit, and just by virtue of being a man he should be given free open access to whatever woman he 'blesses' with his attention. This kind of misogyny is so normalized that when a woman experiences any kind of unwanted attention from a man she's bludgeoned with responses like 'What were you wearing', 'You shouldn't have been there alone' or the one that I've heard this morning, 'You do post a lot of sexy pictures of yourself'. None of this goddamn matters...none of this gives anyone permission to harass me. None of this makes anyone entitled to my time or attention or conversation. None of this makes it okay for this man to say the things he did for all my friends and family to see. This is the reason that I'm terrified to go out anywhere alone. This is the reason that I'm too scared to date anyone that I don't know/who isn't friends with my close friends. The overwhelming sense of entitlement that SOME men have is what gets women killed. Let me be perfectly clear here, you (no matter the gender you identify with) are not entitled to anyone else's time, attention, or conversation. No one is obligated to talk to you, explain their life/actions to you, return your flirtations. I owe you nothing.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

♫...Who knows which letter just might be the last...♫

I can't handle any of this anymore.
I lost the person that I thought was the love of my life.
Every day is a goddamn struggle to deal with all the bullshit  and keep breathing, then stuff like this happens.
So, back in Feb/March whenever my now ex was in the hospital last, I left him at the hospital to go to work. I was exhausted and visibly upset. This guy who worked at the Shell station wouldn't just let me pay for my coffee, and leave until I added him on Facebook, even though I explained that I was very much in love with someone. He was like, 'I'm married I just want to be friends with people who love pit bulls as much as me'. So, as I am too nice, I did it and forgot about it. I never spoke to him again. Tonight, when I made a joke about online dating, he did this (below), and for some reason I've just fallen to pieces...if he's going to make things up to fit his delusions, then I don't feel bad about not removing his photo and name. I hope his wife is okay with his flirting.

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