When You’re Overwhelmed (and a story)

This past weekend, my family and I had a yard sale.

I had just pulled a very late night/very early morning, on top of getting woken up early to do the yard sale. To put it bluntly, I was exhausted. On top of my exhaustion was my stress from being a full time grad student with a lot of assignments due or will be due soon. I had four assignments and a test this week alone. Plus, I work and other regular human stuff.

I’m helping, bringing stuff out, getting a little frustrated that one of the family members wasn’t getting out of bed. They were tired, I get it, but so am I. And we needed help.

The kicker came when I was in the backyard trying to take care of a table. The table would best be handled by two, but I was alone. While trying to get the table, Leroy got out and disappeared out the front yard. I freaked and while I was trying to handle the table and get Leroy to come back, the table knocked into my teeth. Luckily, nothing broke but it still hurt.

Now, I’m overwhelmed. I was trying not to yell at people, I was taking a breather inside the house, and (shamefully) I started to cry.

Another family member came in and asked what I did to myself. I don’t like that question; it suggests I intentionally hurt myself which can be triggering. I was telling them (just to clarify, it was a parent) that I was overwhelmed and angry. Even without the intention of raising my voice, I probably did.

They told me to go to my room.

That’s a child’s punishment. I lost my position as ‘adult’ in their eyes and was sent to my room. In their defence, they might have seen a temper tantrum and thought I needed a break. They came into the room later and said they wanted me to get away and collect my thoughts.

But they could’ve worded it better in the moment. Couldn’t we all, though.

But what makes it worse is that they, in a scolding manner, said ‘go to your room’ and then went about the yard sale business by going back to the front yard.

Of course, I went. Despite being an adult, I listen to my parents. I ended up further crying, ranting to the cat about just wanting to help and getting scolded because I got hurt and am upset. Then I pulled a full emo and just listened to the same song on a loop about how I suck as a person.

Here’s what I did right and here’s what I did wrong:

Right: I took a breather. It would’ve been far more of a blow up if I didn’t even take those 10 seconds before the parent came to see me. When you are overwhelmed, step back, take some time to collect your thoughts, and calm down.

Wrong: I didn’t ask for help. I could’ve avoided a hurt mouth and some tears if I simply asked someone to help me with the table. There are people who care, even if they’re online. Seek help when you’re overwhelmed, whether from your boss or your teacher or a friend online.

Right: Crying. That’s right. It’s not shameful, even if it feels like it at the moment. Your body needs to release those emotions sometimes, so when you need to cry, go ahead and cry.

Wrong: I listened to the worst song possible in those emotional states. When you’re overwhelmed, you don’t feel the best about yourself. Don’t make you feel worse by listening to a song about how much you suck. You don’t suck. I promise. Listen to uplifting songs to put yourself in a better state of mind.

Of course, there was more right and wrong, but this post is quite long. After that debacle, I was able to pull myself together long enough to do the yard sale with my family. After we ended it, I went back to bed and relaxed.

Try not to get overwhelmed with stuff in your life, but when/if those moments come remember that it does not make you or others around you worst people. Remember to breathe.

April Fools in High School

So it’s April Fools Day.

I was never a fan of it; people use it as an excuse to be dicks to each other. However, I was part of a big prank. One that a whole class pulled on their teacher.

This was my junior year of high school. It was our drama class and a teacher we had such a rough relationship with. And when I say ‘we’ I mean the whole class, not just me.

To put it bluntly, she was awful. But we still tried.

On April Fools Day, we decided to have fun for once in our class career. Basically our brilliant idea was to start an argument. We would all argue with each other–not her–and have it escalate until someone said a specific phrase in which we would all yell “April Fools!” at her.

It was gonna be fun, it’ll show off our acting, and it’s not like we were doing anything of substance that day anyway.

And that’s what happened. Surprisingly, it went off without a hitch.

Not surprisingly, our teacher did not take it well.

We had a minuscule hope that she would be more understanding, but that last hope was crushed when she yelled and berated us for a full 30 minutes. We were done to the absolute max with her and the class.

She had to leave for a second to the backstage costume loft or something (we didn’t care) and in the brief time she was gone we all agreed to just ditch the rest of class. We 1000% didn’t care anymore.

One of our classmates volunteered as tribute and distracted her while the rest of us booked it.

Our teacher got her revenge by having us watch the same rendition of ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ almost 10 times. Not even kidding.

That April Fools Day was the only good day I had in that class, and it was the only AFD prank I’ve been part of.

This jester holiday, be mindful. Don’t be an asshole. Have fun, but don’t harm.

Hugs

Alexandra

Not Believing the Breakup

For more context, click here.

One final story about this interesting relationship:

After being back in the States for a bit, I finally confided in Mom that there was a guy. She asked questions, I answered. Then she looks at me and asks, “Did this actually happen?”

Huh?

What purpose have I to lie?

Yeah, it sounds more far-fetched than normal, I know. But why would I make shit up like that?

“You don’t seem upset or anything. Like, you have no emotion telling me.”

The breakup had happened almost a year prior to this conversation. And while it was a very sad breakup, I was over it.

I don’t have emotions connected to it anymore, just factual memories. I recognize I was happy when we were going out and I recognize I was sad when it ended, but that’s it.

Was she expecting me to cry about him? Was she expecting me to laugh? What was she expecting?

To this day, I’m a wee confused about that conversation between us, but she seems to believe me now. That’s something, at least.

You shouldn’t expect someone to harbor emotions a while after the fact. Don’t get me wrong, some people do. Some are traumatized over something like this for years. I probably would’ve been too id I didn’t care for myself as quick as I did.

But if I’m telling you something like this, first ask yourself ‘would she lie about something like this?’ (That English was so bad, but I’m keeping it; you get what I mean). Don’t ask someone (without a history of chronic lying) if they are fabricating. If you need to reprocess with a simple ‘Really?’ it’s better than straight up asking if I’m lying.

And those of you who are called liars (intentionally or otherwise), just accept it as confusion and articulate your thoughts. They may just need an answer to an inner question.

Hopefully with this, the damn story will close and I don’t have to make another post about it.

Thanks for indulging me.

Hugs

Alexandra

Post-edit: According to Mother, she was not calling me a liar. And to clarify, I didn’t think she was fully intending on that. I think it unintentionally came out like that because she was confused with the prospect. This doesn’t change the main point of the post, which is to articulate your own confusion first. Hope that cleared something up. Thanks ^_^

Stories part 2 (aka The Scissor Story)

If you didn’t read part 1, you can read it here. You don’t need part 1 to read this one, but if you want extra story-time, it’s available.

I was in first grade. So, as a warning, you get to deal with a six-year-old’s point of view and my 20+ year memory.

At the time, I lived in California, going to an okay school. This was around winter, as our craft for the day was making cardboard snowmen. But, the kid scissors didn’t do anything to thick cardboard. The teacher, not the most experienced, if I recall, gave all of us adult scissors.

There I was, at my group table, cutting cardboard. Next to me was a boy, who we’ll call Nick. Next to Nick there was another boy, who we’ll call Aaron. Aaron was a strange child. He was different, but I paid no attention to differences. He was just a kid, after all. However, on that day, as we were crafting, he was just staring at his scissors. A couple minutes pass by before he grabs Nick’s right ear and starts cutting it off with the scissors.

The next hour is a blur, honestly. Nick screaming. Blood. Too-stunned-to-move students. The teacher freaking out. Did my mom pick me up that day, after the incident? I’m pretty sure she did.

I never saw Aaron again. I saw Nick a month, maybe a month and a half later.

And ever since, I have been freaked out whenever I see children with scissors. From preschool to high school, kid scissors or adult. It doesn’t matter. Seeing even a preteen with kid scissors get me feeling fearful. My heart races, I sweat, and I have the instinct to have my hands near my ears.

Here’s the thing, though: I decided to do a little research into this moment. I can’t find a single thing on it. I was able to find my yearbook online, with who Aaron and Nick were. And even looking them up, I couldn’t find anything on them, either. I didn’t want to present this moment without doing some basic research into it. But what if there’s no record to support something I remember definitely happening?

I remember this moment. I remember the kids in my class. I have that fear. But the absence of records worry my memory. Did I imagine this, or do the records just not exist? I don’t know. All I have is my memory of this moment, which I remember to this day.

Another reason I prefer not to have my stories shared without my permission.

I simply wanted to share ‘the scissor story’. Then it turned into philosophy.

Do a little research, and if you can’t find anything, let others be aware of it.

And, seriously, don’t mess with scissors. Even if you do not intend to cut someone’s ear off, playing with scissors can injure you or others.

Hugs and Apologies

Alexandra

Stories part 1 (aka Let People Tell Their Own Story)

I hear you.

What do you mean ‘part 1’? What’s going on?!

Don’t worry, lovely, I will explain.

The day before Halloween, I was at work, handling some students. I was not having a good day, not because of the students, but because of my brain. It happens. For homeroom, I had some free time after they completed what they needed to. They spent that free time playing with scissors that were in a basket on their desks. This freaks me out, seeing children, any age, messing with scissors. With scissors, in general, actually. So I told them a story.

It was a horror story from my childhood. About scissors.

Anyway, the story freaked them out, and they stopped playing with scissors. And for the rest of the day, whenever they came back and saw non-homeroom students messing with the scissors they would stop them, warning them about ‘the scissor story’.

Now, here’s the thing: I don’t tell a ton of people this story.

I keep it to myself. Actually, in general, I keep stories to myself. I don’t enjoy when other people share my story without telling me. I share stories on this blog, obviously, but this is me sharing it to you. The written word on my website is permission to share. However, if I tell you a story in person, I don’t like the gossipy nature of telling my story.

I told this story only to the homeroom students. Perhaps it was my naivety, but I was expecting the students to keep the story to themselves, especially since it freaked them out so much.

We get to the final hour. My panic is high. An attack is imminent. My anger is rising. My grasp on the situation is slipping. And these students, rowdy and loud, are not helping. They finished their task early, and I was hoping they would just hang out for the remaining time so I don’t snap. Instead, one of the homeroom students asks if I can tell ‘the scissor story’ again. I asked the rest of the class, who all said yes.

I sit at the front and say, “This story is about why you do not mess with scissors. Do you still want to hear it?” A couple of girls said no. And, not wanting to scar some children, said I would not tell the story unless every student wanted to hear it. As I stood up, the loudest boy yelled that he wanted to hear the story. Before I could say anything to him, one of the homeroom boys turned around and shouted a one-sentence, spoiler-included summary. All the students groaned or exclaimed.

*snap*

I, as calmly as possible, scold him. Others didn’t want to hear the story, and it was not up to him to share it. I did not tell him he could share my story, and in a piss-poor fashion as well. The students looked at me in silent shock. Then the bell rang, and they escaped.

As soon as they left, my angry panic attack went into full-swing. But that’s for another time.

My stories are part of me, just as your stories are part of you. Seek permission before you spread something that is not yours.

Hugs

Alexandra

P.S. The part 2 to this will be the actual ‘scissor story’, to be out on Wednesday. And because I am writing, as I said before, this is my way of permitting sharing. It’s on a public site, so no worries.

Nice Band Stories

I’ve seen a few concerts, and I’ve met a few bands, too. Everyone curious enough tends to ask what they’re like: Do they smell? Do they smile? How do the speak? It’s a whole to-do. Something I notice is that some are fascinated by whether or not they are nice to fans.

Every band I have met has been great. But there’s one particular moment I want to share.

I got to see, and meet, Blink-182 while I was in Glasgow. While I was in the VIP line (ooh, so exclusive), I was chatting with a lady who was far too excited to see her favorite band, particularly Travis (drummer). She told me she had paid just to meet them, since she couldn’t stay for the concert itself. She showed me her tattoo inspired by Travis. She was so happy, and I was happy for her.

And then we were at the front of the line. And this lady starts to cry. She walks up to the band, blubbering and sobbing (I don’t mean to make fun of her at all, I’m just telling you what it looked like). Through all her sobs, she managed to tell them how she felt, how she was sorry she couldn’t stay for the concert, and she even got to show Travis her tattoo. Her time was up, and she left them, still crying happily.

Before anyone else went up to meet them, the three band members talked among each other. After a brief chat, Travis grabbed a manager, or someone in charge, and spoke to him as well. I was curious, and nervous. Were they done meeting us? Will I not get to meet a band I’ve been listening to since near childhood?

No. Something better.

The band continued to meet with us (super nice, approachable, 2/3 were huggers, and goofy), while the manager went and grabbed the sobbing fangirl. They invited her backstage to hang out with them until she had to leave.

It was one of the nicest gestures they could’ve done. Not give her free merch or force her upon someone else, but give her their time. The manager led her, crying still, through the back and into the backstage void. I don’t know what happened, but I hope she had the time of her life.

The Relationship (part 2)

And we’re back.

Thanks for dealing with that awesome cliffhanger just to find out the truth about my ex-boyfriend. Let’s do this.

Tom (he’s still Tom) and I dated for about six months. And here’s the kicker about our relationship: it was good!

That’s right, we had a good relationship.

We went on regular dates, whether it was a movie or walking around city centre or just staying at home eating potato salad, studying. Tom came with me to Edinburgh to see kitties and I went with him to the various shoppes of Glasgow (since he liked to stay in town). I helped him with his strict family issues and a strained wrist from writing too much. He helped me with my mental disorders and a nerve-damaged knee. Tom supported my passions and interests of theatre, drag, YouTube, and gothic themes. I supported his passions and interests of {his major}, soccer, anime, and Dwayne Johnson.

What about arguments? Every couple has those, right? Our only big argument was about me going to London without him. And that’s because I didn’t even tell him (whoops). That argument was resolved quickly. Oh, and we did argue about our favorite animes. (No, Bleach is not the best, I don’t care what you say, Tom. “Better than Ouran.” Are you ready to fight for those words?!)

Here’s where it goes downhill.

Six months into dating, Tom discusses a fear of his: what happens at the end of the school term? He had another year, but after that he was planning on staying in Scotland, or maybe going to England. I was going back to the States. As we talked about our personal plans, Tom asked about my thoughts on marriage.

Hesitation.

Was he proposing?

What are you saying, Tom? “Do you think you would want to marry me?” I was quiet. And, honestly, I was scared. Not of Tom. Not that I didn’t love Tom (I did love him). I was scared because there was an intuitive thing inside my heart and soul that said NO. I should not marry Tom. At least now. Right? I’m gonna be honest, I’m not sure… “Okay. You don’t need to answer today.” But what about tomorrow?!

The next week was a wave of emotion. Classes were ending soon, my internship was taking a lot of energy, and I had an internal battle over love and self.

On that fateful day, though, the battle was won. I was meeting Tom at the coffee shoppe we first met in. It was our place. Right before I turned the corner, my phone went off with a text from classmate (and savior, honestly) Aisha. As I was checking my phone, I overheard Tom! He was chatting with two of his mates (one was his roommate). As I was answering Aisha back, this is what I heard:

  • “How serious are you really getting with her?”
  • “Pretty serious. She’s cool.”
  • “Man, how can you be with someone so fat and ugly?”

My heart skipped. I listened on in secrecy.

  • “Your mom will kick your ass when she finds out you’re dating a disgrace.”
  • “Mom just wants a daughter-in-law anyway; I don’t think she’d care what she looks like.”
  • “She will if it breeds ugly grandkids.”
  • “I don’t plan on having kids with her anyway.”
  • “Doesn’t your mom expect her to come visit soon?”
  • “Yeah, I haven’t asked Alexandra yet. Maybe bring her down over the summer, but I think that if I avoid my mom for long enough, she’ll forget.”
  • “Another chance for grandkids? She won’t forget.”
  • “I could hope.”
  • “What made you go out with her for so long?”
  • “I’ve told you already: she’s cool. Yeah, she’s not good to look at, but she’s cool.”
  • “Is it worth it?”
  • “Man, you know they only get fatter, right? She’ll be the size of your flat!”
  • “I’m hoping to go blind before that happens.”
  • “Blinded before you get crushed to death when you finally fuck her?”

Enough was enough. I turned the corner and faced my three demons.

Silence.

Tom was stunned to see me there (almost half an hour early), but he knew better than to try to back track his words or his friends’ words. I simply stared him in the eye. He had very giving hazel eyes. They were always supporting his truths or giving away his lies. I guess I never really paid attention until that moment. Unfortunately, he truly believed what he was saying. And with that acknowledgement, I simply said goodbye, and I walked home.

I was a mix of emotions. I was sad for the end of a ‘great’ relationship. I was angry at his ‘opinion’ of me. I was happy that things didn’t get too serious between us. I was disappointed in myself for falling for a shitty guy. Again. I was anxious about the future of me. I was irritated that he lied to me about keeping a relationship secret from his family. I was confused, embarrassed, depressed, annoyed. And once I felt all these feelings, I became an emotionless husk. My internship was over. IRP time. So much alone time…

During my first few days of breakup craziness, I stopped taking my medication, I stopped eating, I booked a trip to France, and I deleted every photo and message I had of/from him on my phone.

Tom did send me one last note. It was handwritten and shoved with the rest of our mail. He was completely honest that, while he loved how smart and odd I was, he did find me unattractive. Ugly and fat. He said I deserved someone who found me attractive and loved my personality. And it was not me. I tore up that note and threw it out my fourth story window.

Nothing made sense to me anymore. Men are supposed to be physically attracted first, right? How could he date someone he thought was ugly for six months. Half a year. I did notice he never complimented my looks, just my intellect or wit.

A couple of weeks go by. Everything is awful. My writing sucks. Trying to be social is torture. Eating 0-400 calories a day isn’t making me thinner. My meds are gathering dust. And Alix of Hesse will always have love in her life despite hardships.

I left town. I went to see kitties in Edinburgh. The orange one, named Sebastian, sat with me. He doesn’t know if I’m smart or dumb, funny or not, odd or normal. ‘Who cares what you look like, the point is, are you going to pet me?’ Of course I did. It was the first time I genuinely smiled in weeks. Who cares what I look like, the point is, am I going to live? Am I going to work hard, do what I love, have fun?

Not long after that, I went to Paris, feeling much better about myself. I did my absolute best on my IRP, I did reviews for Fringe, I did a one-woman show, and I finished graduate school.

I still have self-esteem and confidence issues, but I’ve had those long before Tom. I’m still depressed. I still feel like a whale on land. But this boy did not and will not take away my good qualities as a person.

I had to take care of myself. And it started with a broken heart.

Care for yourself, safely, no matter what others think of you.

 

The Relationship

Another story time, whoo hoo! Only because I feel there is wisdom in my breakup. That’s right, I’m talking about my Glasgow relationship.

Again, we’ll call him Tom.

He and I met in a little coffee shop/study space for postgrad students at the University of Glasgow. I got there early enough to find a table (as there was never enough seating there) and was reading some class material, sipping on a hot cocoa when a man approached my table. He had his backpack over his shoulder and his wallet in his hand. “Sorry, do you mind if I sit? There’s no more free tables.” Being the polite person I am, I allowed him to sit at my table and I continued reading. His coffee came, he took out his own reading materials, and…

“Excuse me. What do you use for your iPad?” See, I had this app on my iPad called Noteshelf that let me take notes and highlight the reading material, saves it, bookmarks it, everything. Best thing for a postgrad student who has to read a shit-ton. Anyway, he continues, “I have an iPad, and I would love not having to print papers or lug my brick of a computer.” And that’s how we started talking.

His name is [Tom], from [redacted], and he’s studying [a science of some form]. Two hours later, I need to head to class. And he asks to meet me again at the postgrad coffee shop two days from now. I say yes, and fumble to my class.

Two days later, I get there early, get a table, and Tom comes in. How exciting! Look, Ma, I’m making friends! He sits at my table; “How do you manage to get a table?” I get here early enough. “You must sleep here, then. Every time I come here, there’s no table.” And we’re back to chatting. Two hours later, it’s time for me to head to class again. As I’m leaving, he asks for my phone number.

Now, at this point, I’m hesitant. My number? And what do you plan to do with my number, sir? But, I give it to him. Another friend in my phone book…right? Before I think too much, I go to class.

He texts that weekend. We meet up again, I leave, he texts, we meet up, I leave, he texts, and the circle continues. Until one fateful day, a couple of weeks later: “Can I take you out some time? O a date?” Another hesitation. I have a bad history with dates. I’m traumatized by some I’ve been on. Also, I’m here for my education! But, Tom’s so easy to talk to, and I know we’d have a good time, so I said yes.

That Friday, he takes me to a ramen restaurant, where they were showing Spirited Away on the big screen. And it was a great date. We talked. We had ramen. We strolled around the Duke in city centre. And it was so nice. He listened when I was talking, he laughed at my jokes, he commented on how smart I was. By the time we parted ways on the subway, we agreed to a second date.

Now, my friends and family are probably screaming at me right now, “Why didn’t you tell us?!” Because I didn’t want to. For several reasons. One: my hesitations caused me to pause when it came to announcing anything. Something intuitively told me not to tell anyone about Tom, a baby bear warning, I know. But I also didn’t sense a danger which is why I continued. Two: sorry, but relationship/dating announcing is kind of annoying. I couldn’t talk to anyone I know without them badgering me with questions about the date and about Tom. Hey, in class we talked about that play you did- “yeah, cool, so when are you and Tom going out again? Has he texted you?” And forget a real relationship; then everyone would be asking about potential marriage. And three: he asked me not to tell. On our second date, he brought up becoming a couple. He liked me and wanted to continue dating, however, his family would only support him while at school if he focused on his studies and stayed away from distracting things like relationships. His family was strict. And an added bonus with keeping our relationship on the down low was the American presidential election. He’s not American (wasn’t Scottish either) and his family had strong opinions about Americans. Which I am.

The point is, we kept our dating quiet because he and I would’ve gotten an earful if we made it public.

We were happy to agree with each other, and after that second date we were a couple.

This seemed so nice! How, you wonder, does it go absolutely tits-up?

Well, you get to wait.

That’s right! We got a cliffhanger! Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon…

Plane Outfits

I have a story I’d like to share about something that happened when I was at an airport a while ago. I wrote it in my phone when it happened and I don’t know why I’ve never shared it. So here we go:

I love flying (I really don’t, but this is a story). When I was in college, I had to fly 2-4 times a year. Gross.

I’m flying back to school after being in the States for a brief unfortunate period (those in the loop and in my messages know what’s up). So, I’m sitting in the first airport, recently medicated and slightly woozy. But whatever, let’s fly anyway.

As I sit like the good little girl I am, across from me is a boarding school douche. You know these guys: blazer with an emblem of a club, that green sparkling water S Pellgrwhatever, expensive fruity coffee he sips with a pinky up, loosely greased back hair that looks good on literally nobody. Guys, he even had trimmed and waxed eyebrows!

I didn’t care about anything other than getting through this flight without passing out.

Anyway, as I was minding my own business, he leans forward over his laptop with a Stanford sticker on it and says hi. My medicated ass is not up for conversation, but I’m not rude so I say hello back. In the most casual way he possibly can, he asked if I was a lesbian.

The fuck?

I reply with a sharp no, and then this money bank douche tries to continue the conversation. I cut him off and asked why he thought I was a lesbian. Because why the hell would you drop that in the most casual way?!

“You’re dressed like one, and I wanted to know before I tried talking to you.”

The fuck squared?!

I always thought those private school assholes were a stereotype until I met one who wouldn’t talk to me if I was a lesbian.

You cannot assume a person’s sexuality based on anything unless you hear it directly from their mouth. So me and my medicated queer self will excuse you, good sir.

So, that’s the story I found in my phone. Honestly, I remember maybe half of this conversation as I fell right to sleep as soon as I entered the plane (I didn’t even make it to the safety demonstration).

But, the point of this story is clear.

Watch out for private school assholes.