Sunday, September 27, 2015

Social Anxiety Wins

"Hi! My name is Ashley and I have social anxiety."

Just kidding.  If Social Anxiety Sufferers Anonymous were ever to become a thing, it would crash and burn because maybe 1/3 of the participants would force themselves to attend meetings.  The rest would feign illness or show up and hide in the bathroom.

I wish I knew when social interaction began causing anxiety for me. I think it was middle school.

Growing up I had a lot of female friends, but the older I got and the more hormones started cruising through my body and the body of all the little girls around me the more we seemed to despise each other. Puberty seemed to make the glittering world of sisterhood and tie-dyed girl power a war zone of jealousy.

I don't have a large group of friends.  I don't even have a large social network.  About twice a year something comes over me and I remove people from my Facebook "Friends" because one of my greatest fears is that I will die and people who haven't had a conversation with me in over a decade will show up at my funeral.  Seeing people show up at a funeral with big emotional outbursts and flashy grieving is what I consider to be the highest forms of insult to both the deceased and the people who actually had a close relationship with them.  When I die, I hope only the people who actually gave a shit while I was alive show up (if anyone bothers, that is).

The last time I forced myself to attend a social function, I made the mistake of going alone when I only knew the hosts.  I ended up standing next to the pool, eating mashed potatoes from a plastic martini glass and fighting back lonely, awkward tears.

I'm not usually lonely.  I enjoy my own company.  It's only when I attempt to be social in ways other people deem acceptable that I find myself feeling awkward and lonely.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Please Share Food

I'm avoiding social media right now.

It's sounds like such a passive aggressive thing to do, except I'm really just being polite.  I just can't take the widespread ICK that is the Internet right now. 

Inspirational memes make me want to throw up lately.  I keep seeing the same sentiments posted over and over.  The most irritating being the one that denies all responsibility for your own life.  The message, in summary, being: "If you're facing challenges, it's because you're being made better.  If people are leaving your life, it's because they're the wrong people.  If bad things are happening, it's not because anything in life is actually a consequence of your's because there is a higher purpose".  Sometimes when you're struggling, you need to believe there is reason behind it.  But sometimes in life, you face challenges, people leave you, and bad things happen because you're being a dick as a direct result of your actions. 

I've started unfriending people who made nasty comments on my status updates.  It isn't that I don't think we can disagree, have differences of opinion, or share our own thoughts without staying friends.  I've simply run out of excuses or patience for people who want to use the things I share on social media as an excuse to take a dig at me for something they're unhappy about in their own life or in "retaliation" for being unhappy with me for some reason.

I've run out of patience for people who misrepresent themselves.  There have been people I've met that I thought I could really love.  People who I invited into my life whose lives I tried to be a part of as well.  People who I messaged and had conversations with late at night.  People I thought cared.  It turns out I simply fell for the social media facade.  They wax poetic about their lives in public, but if you watch and wait long enough eventually you'll see that you can roll a piece of crap in powdered sugar, but that doesn't make it a jelly donut. 

I've grown weary of the kind of people who want to blather on aimlessly about eating healthy, avoiding processed food, gluten/corn syrup/GMO free food because they care so much about what goes IN their mouth but not so much about what comes OUT of it.  What is the point in making sure you get the best, organic, most healthy fuel if what comes out of you is toxicity?  What higher purpose do you serve if in all of your crunchy, organic goodness... you're a really mean-spirited, ugly person hiding behind status symbols of someone who is about goodness?

I'm over it.  I really just want everyone to go back to sharing photos of their food. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Broken Compass

My mom once told me that as a child I had a very strong sense of right and wrong.

I think that child died.

We live in a society where sharing intimate photos of a woman without her permission isn't illegal, but we'll shame her to the bitter end for taking them in the first place.

We live in a world where we look at someone for a reason they were victimized instead of looking at the perpetrator and asking them, "what the fuck is wrong with you?"

We don't take the CEOs, the other corporate whores and the Government to task for the raises and the handouts they get while food stamp recipients are torn to shreds for not being able to afford groceries.  Because a single parent who can't do it alone and can't get child support from someone who won't get a job or fled the state to avoid paying child support deserves to be demonized, right?

I see how people work a 40 hour work week, make good financial choices, and still can't pay the bills.  I see how people strive to make changes to succeed and only really achieve hitting the same roadblocks at a higher speed.

I look and I see people doing desperate things just trying to survive, and I can't bring myself to judge anymore.  I don't understand how anyone can expect people to maintain a moral compass when they're fighting to survive a system that is morally bankrupt to begin with.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Calling in Sick and Anal Glaucoma

I have never called in sick to work because I was hungover.  
Somehow, it felt extra dishonest to call in sick when I'd made myself sick.  Those times when I made a poor decision on a weeknight, I drank my Gatorade and went to work the next day because no one else deserved to suffer a bad day for my poor decision making. 
I've called in sick for food poisoning.  I've called in sick with migraines I could find no relief from.  I've called in when I was suffering from the common cold because I needed the healing power of a day spent cat napping, eating chicken soup and watching crappy daytime television.
But I am ashamed of the days in my past when I feigned illness to avoid my workplace.  Days where I almost called in to say I had anal glaucoma and I just couldn't see my ass coming into work.
People need time away from their place of employment. An employer who wants happy employees will encourage them to enjoy time away from the workplace. I believe employees should take those days and enjoy them.  I believe in mental health days: days spent doing whatever needs doing, time to just breath.  
I used that as justification to call in sick when I wasn't.  And I wasn't using my mental health days to just breathe.  
I once found myself in an employment situation where every morning I prayed for a car accident to derail my day.  There were days when I called in sick just because I couldn't face a day dealing with my abusive coworkers.  My manager not only ignored, but fostered a hostile work environment.  It wasn't unusual to experience yelling, name calling, threats, or feeling physically threatened weekly, sometimes daily. 
I hated calling in sick because I didn't want to experience verbal abuse for a day. I looked forward to flu season and strep throat because I could call in sick without the liars' guilt that came with feigning illness. I felt solace when I experienced illness I could get a doctor's note for. 
It was a hell I lived in for more than 3 years.  I should have left sooner.  But I spent a lot of time telling myself that work wasn't meant to be a cakewalk.  I told myself that no one loved their job.  I struggled to find alternative employment that would pay me what I was getting.  I wrote off the abuse as something that came with employment in a high stress environment and that's why I was paid so well.
When I left that job, I found myself in a relationship I took mental health days from. I called in sick and didn't tell my significant other just so I could sit at home in peace by myself.  
Looking back, I learned a life lesson.  Mental Health Days should be days you take to do things to take care of yourself.  They should be days spent doing things you don't always have time to do.  They should be days spent pampering yourself with things like sleeping in late, brunch, and drinking coffee in 10 a.m sunshine.  Mental Health Days shouldn't be days spent recovering abuse.  Mental Health Days shouldn't be hours spent preparing yourself for what will happen tomorrow.  Mental Health Days should be something planned and relished, not something obtained by leaving a hoarse, throaty message that you're too sick to work. 
If something in your life makes you feign illness, there's a good chance it is actually making you sick.  If something makes you want to call in with anal glaucoma because you just don't see your ass dealing with it, there's a good chance you need to tell it to kiss your ass and move on.