My Truth Equals Their “Victim”

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used Grammarly to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human.  And I am not perfect.  Thanks for reading!  Please share and comment!)

Last week I posted a blog called, “Dear Scared White People” that I felt needed to be said, written and read.  I knew that with that title alone, there were sure to be some negative comments.  I have posted that blog before and the ridiculous comments I received were from people I could tell did not read it.  This time I only received two adverse comments from people who took that time to read it (which I appreciate) before misconstruing EVERYTHING I was saying.  But I digress, that’s not what this post is about.  No, this post is about one particular from a gentleman who commented, “Race relations also aren’t nearly as bad as many people think.  The world is not out to get you, and this was painful to read simply because it seems like an attempt to play victim.”

1.) Race relations ARE THAT BAD.  If he truly looked around at what’s really going on in this world instead only focusing on HIS experience is in this world, he would see that.

2.) The reality star sitting in the White House playing, “pretend President” just tweeted that four congresswomen (who are all women of color) should go back to their home countries. Three of which were born and raised in America.

3.) RACE RELATIONS ARE THAT BAD.

But just to reiterate, that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about the last part of his comment where he said my post seemed like, “an attempt to play victim.”  Why is it that whenever anyone tells their truth in this world, the opposition always says that they are playing the victim.   According to Webster’s Dictionary, a victim is, “One that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent.  One that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment.”  Just to be clear, that blog post was not about, “playing the victim” in a big bad world full of racist bullies.  (Hope you could pick up the sarcasm in my description of the world.)  That post was about showing the facts as they are for African Americans in America.  Period.

I have heard the word “victim” thrown around in other situations, not just race relations.  Whenever a man or a woman speaks out about discrimination in all of its inglorious forms, to those who oppose, they are playing “victim.”  The opposition says they are using the word as a “way for you to absolve yourself and other protected victim groups of the left of personal responsibility” as the gentleman above continued in his comments.  Isn’t he a gem?  (Insert hard eye roll here)  By Webster’s definition above anyone who has been, “subjected to oppression, hardship and mistreatment” is a victim.  Some people because of racism, sexism, sexual orientation, or their financial class in society.  They are, by definition, victims.

The opposition (whoever is on the opposite of your position) seems to never take the time to hear what you are saying.  This is usually because they are getting their rebuttals ready in their minds.  They are digging deep in their cerebrum to compose thoughts to justify why you’re wrong and they’re right.  And to find reasons why it’s, “not nearly as bad.”  Calling someone a “victim” is a hell of a lot easier than dealing with the reality of the truth.  And the one thing most of us humans fear the most (besides public speaking and death) is the truth.  It forces us to take a deeper look at ourselves and those around us in a way that is often uncomfortable.  I know that I have struggled with learning certain truths about myself and the way I think.  But the one thing I don’t have trouble doing is hearing someone else’s truth, listening and empathizing.  I may not be able to fully relate to their situation, but I don’t disregard it by claiming they are making an, “attempt to play victim.”

Everyone in this world is going through something at some time or another.  And no one can speak to anyone else’s experience in this world because they can’t exactly walk in their shoes.  Instead of quickly labeling someone a “victim”, why not take the time to find out what the world is like for them.  Because just because you don’t see, doesn’t mean it’s not real.  I’ve never seen our planetary universe with my own eyes, but I know it’s there.

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Dear “Scared White People”

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used Grammarly to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading and please share!)

Dear “Scared White People”,

Hi.  My name is Nyikia and I am a concerned black woman.  And just so I’m clear here from the start: This is NOT CLICK-BAIT and I’m not talking to ALL WHITE PEOPLE. Nor, and I can’t even believe I have to say this, racist.  I have the working knowledge to know that people of color have white allies out there.  Thank you for that and this letter isn’t for you.   I’m writing this letter to the “scared” or “concerned” white people out there because I’m growing quite worried (and pissed off) by your behavior toward black people.   I have listed a few examples to clarify:

1.) Calling the police when black people are waiting for their friends in the local Starbucks. (Happened in Philadelphia.)

2.) Calling the police when black people gather peacefully in the park to have a BBQ with friends and family. (Google BBQ Becky.)

3.) Calling the police when black people are going to view a house that is for sale. Even though the person is a real estate agent, and had been authorized to do so.

4.) Calling the police when black people check out of an Airbnb (with their luggage in full view) because you thought they might be burglars.

5.) Calling the police because a black father was cheering his son on during his soccer game. (Google Golf cart Gail)

And most recently, a man named Christopher Cukor called the police on Wesley Michel (a black man) waiting outside of an apartment building for his friend.  After asking Mr. Michel what was his friend’s name that he was waiting for (as if he’s someone’s authority figure), he proceeds to call the police to report a “trespasser.”  In a video, you can see Mr. Cukor’s son say to him, “Daddy, please don’t I agree with him, daddy.  Please don’t.  I don’t like this.  I don’t like this.  Let’s go.”  Mr. Cukor proceeds to tell the 911 dispatcher, “He appears to be African-American.”

(Side Note: Appears. Clearly, you can see since you’re standing less than ten feet away that this man is African-American.)

When Mr. Michel’s friend shows up, Mr. Cukor quickly changes his story to the dispatcher telling them that he was actually waiting for his friend.  As he had already been told by Mr. Michel before wasting the 911 dispatcher’s time with a bogus call.

I’ll stop here because, with the list and story above, I could go on and on with examples of your less than stellar behavior.   here is a consistent pattern of all the things that I wrote about.  This pattern of calling the police on people who don’t look like you.  Or who you feel are in the wrong place for their color.  Why is that?  I could understand if they were doing something that warrantied your suspicion.  But clearly, in the instances listed above, they were not.  The suspicion you had was based merely on the color of their skin.  What you THINK you know of how African-Americans behave.  And also, the prejudices you have acquired over the years due to what you THINK.  Now I understand that your prejudices could stem from a learned behavior passed down from generation to generation.  And some have come from outside sources:  literature, television, hearsay and most notorious the media.  I’m really trying to work with you “scared white people,” I really am.  But at a certain point in life, you have to take inventory of yourself.  Not everything you see and hear about people is true.  Even the cheeto in chief (aka America’s current reality star president) knows this.  Hence the term his administration loves to overuse, “fake news.”  Although in his case most of what we hear about him turns out to be absolutely true.  But that’s a post for another day.

Let’s get back to the task at hand.  I understand having a little concern for the unknown. Dark places, stray animals, emails from strange addresses and yes our fellow humans.  I grew up in the ‘80s with McGruff the Crime Dog, so I learned all about stranger danger. Whose lessons on safety I still use today.  But the one thing McGruff never taught was to be afraid of someone based solely on their skin color.  If you asked the average child today to describe someone that frightens them, I’m pretty sure a stranger’s skin color wouldn’t come up.  Unless the child was taught that type of racial bias in the home by their family members.  So why is it children are wiser in this regard than most adults   I work with children for a living, and I notice that they have a tendency of seeing people for exactly who they are.  Race not included.  When they judge you, they judge you on your merits.  Race not included.  When they are leery of someone, it is because of the vibe they get from the person.  RACE NOT INCLUDED.  The other day I was in a library waiting in line and this small Caucasian little boy kept looking at me.  I smiled at him and he gave me a really big cute smile back and then hid his face.  This went on and on for a few minutes until it was my time to go to the counter.  Was he afraid of me because I looked different than him?  No.  Was he afraid of me because my skin is brown?  No.  He just saw a friendly person who smiled at him, so he smiled back.  Children are usually both open and eager to get to know someone who is different than themselves.  They ask questions without assuming they know the answer.  Children just see a person much like themselves with zero prejudgments.

So why haven’t adults learned to do this already?  For people who are older and supposed to be intellectually smarter, we sure lack the intelligence of the average child. I’m going to take this time to let you in on something you should have already figured out by now: NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE BAD PEOPLE.  That is shocking right?  I know the truth can be most times.  But I feel you really need to know and understand that fact. Let me be clear here, there are bad people in every race, gender, and country.  Being a bad person is not relegated to a racial thing.  It’s a personality and behavioral thing.  If I went around thinking certain things about certain races, then my belief right now would be that all white people are racist.  Out to get me, want to see me dead and think I’m lower than the dirt on the bottom of their shoes.  And clearly, that is not the case.

I have a suggestion on how to help you “scared white people” in working through your prejudices.  Provided you actually want to get rid of your judgmental nature and possibly make a few new friends.  BE OPEN.  Get to know more about the black people that you encounter in your everyday life.  Learn different things involving black culture and ask questions.  Take a genuine interest in getting to know a person that just so happens to have pigment darker than yours.  Those sounds like lofty goals, but it can be made easy. You can simply start by saying, “Hello.”  Easy enough right?  Have a friendly conversation with your black co-worker that you see all the time.  Get to know them on a level that’s based on common ground, common interest and a humane level.  You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll have in common with the average black person.  Everyone has that one family member that they don’t like in their family.  You avoid them at all costs at family functions until another relative asked you if you said hi to them.  You can easily bond over that.  Or how you love your kids to death, but could sometimes punt them like a football when they get on your nerves.  You can’t always judge a book by its cover.  You have to pick it up, read the description on the back or inside cover in order to learn what it’s about.  And the same goes for people.  All I’m saying is get to know someone who’s different than you before you judge them.  And for the love of God:

STOP CALLING THE POLICE ON BLACK PEOPLE FOR NO GOOD REASON.

With all love and sincerity,

Nyikia

Fat Girl Chronicles

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used Grammarly to help. If you see any mistakes, forgive me I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading!)

Current weight: 243

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of the word fat is the following: “notable for having an unusual amount of fat.”  So by that description, I am indeed fat.  There I said it. If you could not tell by the title, this is how I see myself.  This is how I’ve always seen myself.  Now when people learn this I get the usual:  “You are not fat” or “You don’t look that big.”  To others that may very well be the case.  But the camera lens never lies honey.  When I see myself in pictures (the rare times that I allow one to be taken) I see my truth.  And that truth is:  I’m fat.  Now before you start thinking that this is going to be a “Debbie Downer” piece or that I’m looking for sympathy, it’s not. Trust me.  I’m a 40 year old woman who knows good and damn well how she got here.

I wasn’t taken proper care of myself.

Hell, I still don’t always take proper care of myself.  And there lies the problem.  I feel as though if I can so easily state that I am fat, then I should be equally able to admit why this has happened.  Accept full responsibility for myself and my actions.  Or in this case, lack thereof.  Now I could sit here and write that I have “fat genes” which could very well be a thing.  Or say I have “big bones” which is not a real thing.  Yes, people have used that as an explanation before.  But for me personally, it didn’t have to be this way.  I unknowingly chose to be this way.  This way was more comfortable than actually having to move my body a few times a week.  This way was more comfortable than actually having to prepare a healthy meal.  This way (and I’m being perfectly honest here) felt and tasty better far better than taking care of myself.  Isn’t that some shit to actually realize about you. (Insert emoji with hand over the face)

So it’s time to make a change.  A real serious lifestyle change that I will realistically live by.  This time last year, I weighed 210 pounds respectively.  I had lost 30 pounds to get to that point.  Now in my mind, I was still fat, but I was well on my way to my first big goal. Finally weighing under 200 pounds for the first time in years.  I was feeling better about myself, my clothes were looking better on me and I had more energy.  Then life happened…..again.  I started feeling a bit down somewhere between mid to late summer. By fall I hit that terrible wall of full-blown depression.  I stopped working out completely. But since I wasn’t gaining, I thought I was okay.  Some days I would eat all day and other days I would barely eat at all.  In early September I found out that I was going to have to have major surgery.  That diagnosis sent me over the edge both mentally and physically. In October I began seeing a therapist because I knew I needed help in a major way.  I’ve been seeing her since then, and now mentally I’m in a more positive space in my mind. Despite that, by the day of the surgery (December 27th), I had gained back 15 pounds. And now I weigh more than when I originally started losing weight last summer.  And if the scale didn’t tell me, my knees sure did.  It’s time to get this fat under control.

It comes down to this: I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. Period.
So I’m going to post once at the end of every month on this blog with an entry titled, “Fat Girl Chronicles.”  I’m going to talk about all the challenges, the setbacks, and triumphs that I experienced within that month.  The good, bad, ugly and the truth.  Changing who I am in context to how I deal with food and fitness won’t be easy or pretty.  Trying to improve or change aspects of oneself rarely is.  It’s actually a bit scary that I’m putting all my business out on Front Street like this.  Maybe if I share my truth with the world, I’ll hold myself more accountable.  I’m sure it will probably be, at times, an uncomfortable journey that I must undertake.  It is important that I do this in order to reach my goals and achieve my dreams.  So that I can finally start living the life that I want to live.

Dear “Scared White People,”

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used an online site to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading!)

Dear “Scared White People”,

Hi. My name is Nyikia and I am a concerned black woman.  I’m writing this letter to you because I’m growing quite concerned (and getting pissed off) by your recent behavior toward black people.  I have listed a few examples:

1.) Calling the cops when black people are waiting for our friends in the local Starbucks. (Happened in Philadelphia.)
2.) Calling the cops when black people gather peacefully in the park to have a BBQ with friends and family. (Google BBQ Becky.)
3.) Calling the cops when black people are going to view a house that is for sale. Even though the person is a real estate agent, and had been authorized to do so.
4.) Calling the cops when black people check out of an Airbnb (with their luggage in full view) because you thought they might be burglars.
5.) Calling the police on a 9-year old that was just buying something at the local corner store because you think they “grabbed your butt.” (Google Corner store Caroline)
6.) Calling the police because a black father was cheering his son on during his soccer game. (Google Golf cart Gail)

I’ll stop here because the list goes on and on with your less than stellar behavior.  If you notice from the list, there is a consistent pattern.  That pattern is the calling of the police on people who don’t look like you.  Why is that?  I could understand if they were doing something that was suspicious.  But clearly, in the instances listed above, they were not. The suspicion you had was based merely on the color of their skin.  And also, the prejudices you have acquired over the years.  Now I understand that your prejudices could stem from a learned behavior passed down from generation to generation.  And some have come from outside sources:  literature, television, hearsay and most notorious the media.  I’m really trying to work with you “scared white people,” I really am.  But at a certain point in life, you have to take inventory of yourself.  Not everything you see and hear about people is true.  Even the cheeto in chief (aka our current realty star president) knows this.  Hence the term his administration loves to overuse, “fake news.” Although in his case most of what we hear about him turns out to be absolutely true.  But that’s a post for another day.

Let’s get back to the task at hand.  I understand having a little concern for the unknown. Dark places, stray animals, emails from strange addresses and yes our fellow humans.  I grew up in the 80’s with McGruff the Crime Dog, so I learned all about stranger danger. But the one thing McGruff never taught us was to be afraid of someone based solely on their skin color.  If you asked the average child today to describe someone that frightens them, I’m pretty sure a stranger’s skin color wouldn’t come up.  Unless of course, they were taught that type of racial bias in the home.  So why is it children are wiser in this regard than most adults?  I work with children for a living, and I notice that they have a tendency of seeing people for exactly who they are.  Race not included.  When they judge you, they judge you on your merits.  Race not included.  When they are leery of someone, it is because of the vibe they get from the person.  RACE NOT INCLUDED.  Children are usually both open and eager to get to know someone who is different than themselves. They ask questions without assuming they know the answer.  Children just see a person much like themselves with zero prejudgments.

So why haven’t adults learned to do this already?  For people who are older and intellectually smarter, we sure lack the intelligence of the average child.  I’m going to take this time to let you in on something you should have already figured out:  NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE BAD PEOPLE.  That is shocking right?  I know the truth can be most times.  But I feel you really need to know and understand that fact.  Let me be clear here, there are bad people in every race, gender, and country.  Being a bad person is not relegated to a racial thing.  It’s a personality and behavioral thing.  If I went around thinking certain things about certain races, then my belief right now would be that all white people are racist.  And clearly, that is not the case.

I have a suggestion on how to help you “scared white people” in working through your prejudices.  Provided you actually want to get rid of your judgmental nature and possibly make a few new friends.  BE OPEN.  Get to know more about the black people that you encounter in your everyday life.  That sounds like a lofty task, but it can be made easy. You can simply start by saying, “Hello.”  Easy enough right?  Have a real genuine conversation with that co-worker that you see all the time.  Get to know them on a level that’s based on common ground, common interest and a humane level.  You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll have in common with the average black person.  Everyone has that one family member that they don’t like in their family.  You avoid them at all costs at family functions until another relative asked you if you said hi to them.  You can easily bond over that.  Or how you love your kids to death, but could sometimes punt them like a football when they get on your nerves.  You can’t always judge a book by its cover.  You have to pick it up, read the description on the back or inside cover in order to learn what it’s about.  And the same goes for people.  All I’m saying is get to know someone who’s different than you before you judge them.  And for the love of God:  STOP CALLING THE POLICE.

With all love and sincerity,

Nyikia

 

Resting Bitch Face: It’s Real

(Disclaimer- I proofread this thing a dozen times and used an online site to help.  If you see any mistakes, I’m only human and not perfect.  Thanks for reading!)

According to Urban Dictionary.com, the formal definition for Resting Bitch Face is:  “A phenomenon in which the resting face lacks animation and appears to look bitchy at all times, thus leading people to believe a person must be upset, a snob or a bitch.”

I am a sufferer of this misunderstood facial phenomenon.  Thinking back on it for the majority of my life, I had absolutely no idea!  I would get the usual questions like, “What’s wrong with you?” or “Who pissed you off today?”  Or worse I would hear later that comments were made about me to others basically saying that I looked bitchy and “unapproachable.”  I wanted to say to them, “This is just my face.”  Who knows how many dates or hangouts I missed out on because someone was afraid to talk to me.  Who knows how many times someone may have looked at me and thought I was an angry person that would kick their ass in a minute.  Now to be completed honest and fair, back in the day I was not always the nicest person in the world.  I had what some would describe as a “bad attitude” and I was a bit of a “Debbie Downer.”  And I take full responsibility for that.  But I’m a totally different person from who I used to be.  I worked really hard to be a happier person for myself and toward others around me.  But do you know for all that work I did, I STILL have Resting Bitch Face?  Smh….

On a brighter note though, having Resting Bitch Face probably kept me from having a lot of unpleasant experiences.  So that’s good!  I feel like I shouldn’t be solely judged because I’m not walking around smiling 24/7.  Who the hell does that?  You know damn well if I did, people would think that I was either high or crazy.  Before when I saw someone sitting alone minding their own business smiling for seemingly no reason, I would have definitely been leery of them.  I would have more than likely thought to myself, “Is that person up to something?  They are smiling way too hard over there and they’re sitting alone.  I better get out of here.”  I know it isn’t right, but that’s what I would have been thinking.  Deep down in my mind, everyone is the potential killer/ rapist.  Weird thinking I know, but hey it has kept me alive and well so far.  I attribute this to watching and listening to far too many true crime shows and podcast.  But seriously though, it’s perfectly ok to be cautious.  But I was judging someone in the way that others judged me. And that isn’t right.

I currently work as a Teacher’s Assistant for a living until my successfully (and very profitable) writing career takes off.  I have to say children never think I have Resting Bitch Face.  Not that they would know exactly what that is, but they don’t judge me on my lack of a happy facial expression.  They usually just see another person that they can talk too about whatever is on their minds.  Children are extremely comfortable around me. I even have children in public places start talking to me without any motivation from me to do so.  I once had cute little girl start a conversation with me in a ladies line bathroom.  I’m sure to the adults around;  I may not have looked like I was interested in talking.  But she didn’t see that.  She saw a person that she wanted to talk to about her Little Mermaid shoes her mother bought her.  And that was the best.

Since I’ve discovered that I suffer from RBF, I do my best to be mindful of it.  Sometimes though, I can’t help it.  I get lost in my own thoughts of things I have to do or want to do. And my facial expressions (or lack thereof) get away from me.  That doesn’t make me not a nice person or unapproachable.  It just means I have a lot of things on my mind at that given time.  So next time you see someone who may suffer from Rest Bitch Face, don’t judge them too quickly.  There may be nothing at wrong with them at all.  For all you know, they could be thinking about how much they really want a taco.

Clean up the milk and move on…

(Disclaimer- I proofread this thing a dozen times and used an online site to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human and not perfect. Thanks for reading!)

If you read last week’s post, then you know that I love listening to a podcast called, “The Read” hosted by Crissle and Kid Fury.  In the episode called, “Cheerleader”, Crissle spoke on her depression, seeing her therapist and the advice given by the therapist.  The therapist compared negative self-talk to running a race. (See last week’s post for full description.)  Crissle’s therapist went on to give an example about forgiving your past mistakes.  Her therapist said, “Let’s say a child spilled a cup of milk.  Are you going to every time you see that child, every day for the rest of their life be like, remember the time when you were 5 and 38 days and you spilled milk?  And I had to use three of my good Bounty’s to clean it up?  And replace my eight ounces of milk.  Are you going to drag that baby for that?  Or are we going to clean up the milk and move on with our fucking lives?”  From that moment on, Crissle decided that she had to clean up the milk in her life.  She would stop blaming herself non-stop and start looking forward again. Bam!  It hit me like a ton of bricks!  Is that what I have been doing the majority of my adult life?  Bitching over milk I spilled when I was young, naive and didn’t know any better.  Constantly berating myself over and over for situations that no longer exist and couldn’t be changed anyway.  Being my own biggest critic/ hater has always been a real hotbed issue for me.  After hearing the example that Crissle’s therapist gave her, I fully comprehend what my problem has been.  I have a lack of compassion for myself.  Isn’t that a fucked up thing to find out about yourself.

My understanding and heart is always so large for others.  I am able to fully support others with mistakes they have made in the past with my encouraging words.  But when it comes to having those same words for myself, there’s been little to none.  It is as if I don’t allow myself space to make mistakes or bad decisions.  For some reason, that is not allowed in my world.  For me, it’s not so much that I’m trying to be perfect.  I know this will never happen.  And that is completely all right with me.  Trying to be perfect, looks like a lot of work that I simply wouldn’t be dedicated to doing.  So where does my lack of self-compassion stem from?  Why is it that I can be so kind and uplifting for others, but not myself?  I am very skilled at stopping someone from beating themselves up.  I’m also very good at telling someone to have more patience with themselves and quick to say, “Everyone makes mistakes.”  Sometimes I can see the potential in others way more than I can see it in myself.  I have given myself far too much cruel kindness.  That is clearly something I would never do to another person.  Maybe I thought I was helping myself by giving cruel kindness.  By reminding myself of unpleasant situations I have been through, this would somehow help me to never to make those mistakes again.  By constantly replaying situations and poor choices, I would somehow learn to never do it again.  I found that this is unacceptable behavior and an oxymoron that simply makes no sense.  So what are the steps I plan on doing to change this behavior?

Step 1- Acknowledge that I am not compassion with myself.  Seems easy enough right?  But until one can admit to themselves that they have a problem, the situation can’t be fixed.

Step 2- Accept that mistakes have been made.  I’m human and humans make mistakes.  Some of the mistakes I made were necessary in order for me to learn and grow.  They taught me to make better choices and to listen to my gut.  Without making certain mistakes, I wouldn’t have become the person I am today.  And right now, I think I’m pretty awesome.  🙂

Step 3- Change the thought.  When NENE just won’t seem to shut her negative pie hole, I have to quickly remind myself of how awesome I am.  I begin to think of all the accomplishments that I have made over the years.  I will speak positive affirmations that prompt my brain to go down a more optimistic path.

Step 4- Forgive myself. This one will truly be the hardest to do of all the steps. I’ll have to learn that I’m still a good, smart person, who has flaws. No more or less than anyone else, just flaws. My past choices or decisions do not dictate how much I have grown. They also don’t determine my future. I will give myself a pep talk when I think of a mistake and move on. I will not dwell on choices and things in the past that can’t be changed.

As long as I’m walking the Earth, I will make mistakes.  It’s an important fact of life that I must remember.  I will acknowledge when I have done so, learn from said mistake, forgive myself and move on.  Because I’m tired of beating myself up over old, spilled milk.

I Chose Me…..

Recently I was seeing someone that I had grown very fond of.  We seem to hit it off really well from the beginning.  At least from my perspective, we did.  I really, really liked this person a lot.  They were funny, passionate about pursuing their career, driven, kind and positive.  I really enjoyed spending time with them and couldn’t wait to receive a call or text from them.  That…..was in the beginning.  Toward the end of our “situation”, I use the word situation because this person was uncomfortable with the word relationship. That should have been a red flag for me right there, but I digress.  Toward the end, this person’s whole demeanor begin to change from the person that I met in the beginning.  I believe I met their representative and not the real, honest them.  They became more down on a daily basis when I would speak to them.  There were things going on in this person’s life that I knew about and I’m sure a lot that I didn’t.  But I would always try my best to let them know that I was there to listen if they needed an ear.  With their mood becoming more and more down, this made them more irritable.  And I became the lucky recipient of this.  The conversations (and face to face interactions) would usually start off good.  Then seemly out of nowhere, their tone would change because of something I said. And at times, something I DID’T say.  Figure that one out because I never could.  They couldn’t always explain to me what I did (or didn’t do) that would piss them off.  This person did acknowledge the fact that they knew they were the problem.  They told me numerous times that they believed they had a problem communicating with others.  And that I wasn’t my fault. I was a good person.  Here’s where my confusion lies.  In one breath they say that they are the problem and in the next, they are yelling at me that I’m pissed them off again.  Huh?

Have you ever had someone in your life like this?  Unfortunately, this wasn’t my first encounter with someone like this.  That’s why it was so easy for me to recognize this behavior so quickly.  But despite that, I didn’t want to stop seeing this person.  I genuinely like them and I knew (and still know) that they are a genuinely good person.  I began to care about their well-being, their day and them as a whole.  I tried to let them know that I was there to listen to them whenever they needed to talk.  There were romantic feelings for this person, but above all that I was trying to be their friend.  But despite all of that of my efforts, I was still the bad guy.  Still the problem.  This person told me that they felt I wasn’t listening to them.  That’s all I ever did, but they couldn’t see that.  This “situation” ended with both parties yelling at one another.  And with me saying something out of sheer frustration that took me out of my character.  I was quite saddened that this “situation” ended because as I said I had grown really fond of them. But more importantly, I was upset with myself for allowing this person to pull me down to a negative level.  I work too hard on a daily basis to stay positive and see the light.  In hindsight, maybe this should have ended way before it did.  But I gave it time because this was very new and we were still getting to know each other.  And I stated before, I liked them.

When you care about a person, you’re willing to put up with a lot of shit in the hopes that they will change.  You hope that things will change for the better.  And that the person will realize how much you care about them and how their words hurt.  At some point, one has to ask themselves a serious question.  Do I like the way this person treats me more than I like myself?  For me the answer was simple:  HELL NO.  It got to a point with this person (and others I found myself in a similar situation with) that I had to make a choice.  Continue this “situation” that sometimes leaves me drained and feeling bad or bounce?  I chose the latter.  Instead of focusing on the good times, I had to focus on the bad ones.  The reasons that it couldn’t work out the way I wanted.  Their yelling, my hurt feelings, the miscommunications.  The time they called me a jerk for making what I thought was a cute comment.  And their constant pulling me close then pushing me away.  Those things outweighed the good and the strong feelings that I had developed for this person.  So despite my not really wanting it to, it had to end.  I will say that meeting this person wasn’t all bad for me.  They helped me to learn more about myself.  I learned more about my likes and dislikes, what I’ll put up with, what kind of relationship I want to have and how I’ve become a more positive person.  So for those reasons, I can say I am grateful.

If you find yourself in a similar situation with someone (friend, family member or spouse), remember that they don’t have the right to make you feel that their mood is your problem.  It’s a personal problem that they themselves need to work through.  If you know that whatever is going on with them has zero to do with you, do your best not to take their behavior personally.  Don’t allow yourself to be a person’s emotional punching bag.  Now I understand in some circumstances it isn’t always so easy to walk away. In those instances, have a conversation with the person.  Communication is key.  Be clear about what you want, how you feel and why.  This process will take some time. Especially if the person in question isn’t good at letting you know exactly how and why they feel the way they do.  Listen and let them know that you are listening.  Let them know that you do see them.  Most times people just want to feel that they are being heard and that someone cares.  In my case, I was listening and I cared, but I didn’t feel the same from them.  But if it gets to the point where talking it out and giving it time changes nothing…..Bounce.  Choose your happiness.  Choose your positivity.  Choose your well-being.  And most importantly, choose yourself.