I’m Slightly-Dependent and I’m O.K. with it.

The phrase “I am independent” isn’t always a good thing.

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Sure, it’s 2018 and the term “feminist” is now synonymous with strength, power, and independence. Women are where it’s at and men are expected to sit down, shut-up, and only come when called upon. Women are fierce and our supposedly “newfound” strength and independence is neatly embroidered on the sash we wear proudly in public. I mean, we wear hats called “pussy hats” now at rallies and proudly exclaim that “the future is female” as if we didn’t know that already.

I mean, how will procreation occur if there aren’t women? Did men suddenly become asexual? Last time I checked, generally when an XY man peed on a pregnancy test and got a positive result, that was a bad thing.

Bad as in cancer, and I don’t mean the astrological sign.

I’m all for women having equal rights, pay, and the like if we’re being rational on the topic, but the idea that I am a “strong, independent woman who don’t need no man” is not something I’m okay with.

Do I need my guy? Absolutely.

But it’s more than that, I want him too. I like when he’s around and now that he’s over 4,000 miles away I’m a bit at a loss here. I’m at a loss and there’s no one to turn to because we’re not allowed to need a man and if we do, we better not admit it. But holy hell, things are hard and I’m incredibly emotional because my period is coming. Am I allowed to say that? Well, I did.

I’m emotional, irrational, alone, and depressed. 

Life is incredibly hectic right now and, to quote one of my fav men, Bob Dylan, “I can’t get no relief.” Every day seems to be a never ending list of tasks on my To Do List, even when I’m in bed I lay there staring at the ceiling with a sense of inevitable dread.

But I’m “independent.” I always have been and I’ll always probably try to see myself that way, which is why it’s hard to admit that maybe, just maybe, I’m not. Maybe when times are hard, I do need someone else around. I could use a shoulder to cry on, a person to talk to, and someone to love me. I could benefit from having someone wrap their arms around me while it feels like dawn just will not break and I think you’ve probably been there too. So why don’t we talk about that?

Why are we so proud to tell everyone how independent we are? How we don’t need anyone and no one better need us. Why do we pretend to have it all together day in and day out when we feel overwhelmed and under-qualified to face the day?

I guess I can understand it though. It’s like what I was talking to one of my friends about; we only want people to know the best of our lives. If you look on social media you’ll be greeted by the smiling faces of your friends and their perfect lives. Lives that you desperately wish you had; lives that seem so much better than your own. I’m guilty of it too; I know that’s what my pages look like. My closest friends were shocked when they found out my life was crumbling around me 2 years ago because I hid it well. I still hide it pretty well, for the most part. So I guess I have to explicitly state it:

My life is a mess, and I don’t mean the kind of mess you can wipe up with a swiffer. It’s a break-out-the-big-guns-where’s-the-shopvac? kind of mess. I’ve let myself get pulled in so many different directions that I don’t have a place to stand anymore. Sure, galpals are incredible and essential, but sometimes they’re not enough. My family is great and I know that my dad in particular would listen to any problems I may have, but that isn’t what I want nor is it what I need.

What I need is to let go of the emotions that I’ve been bottling up for the last few weeks and just have a nice and long cry fest in a hot bath, followed by wine and ice cream in a fluffy bed with the love of my life next to me while we watch YouTube videos of cats, bad movies, and sassy home cooks. What I need is to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not just a flashlight, but the actual sun waiting for me. I need to know this shit-show will end soon. I need to know I can make it.

-LP

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Where is the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

If dawn could break, that’d be great.

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I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “it’s darkest before the dawn;” well if dawn could get here already, I’d really appreciate it; that bitch is always late.

I’ve been going through some crap lately and I have just been feeling super down in the dumps; it’s hard to pull yourself out of a hole when it feels like you’re insanely far below the surface. Life is scary and each day comes with new challenges we have to face. If you love and care for someone as they face some dark days, believe me, I know how hard it can be. Oftentimes  you’re not sure what to say or how to act and while I can’t begin to pretend that I know what every person needs, I can say I know what I need when the times are tough and the dawn seems like it’s an eternity away.

  1. Listen. It’s easier said than done, but honestly, listening to someone when they’re hurting is one of the best things you can do. I know you may feel as though you need to offer advice, but venting and expressing their frustrations can be enough. Give advice when advice is due. You’ll know when that is and when you do offer advice, do it in a way that they can appreciate. I know, I know; easier said than done, but just try. Maybe they’ll return the favor one day.
  2. Determine what it is they need from you. I’ll be the first to admit, when I’m upset, hurting, or scared, it’s hard for me to explain what it is I need. Looking back on the past few, terribly stressful and crappy days I can see what it is I needed; I needed support. When I’m scared or having a bit of a panic attack, I need to be told, not that it’ll all be okay, but rather that I’ll make it through regardless. We all need to hear different things at different times, so take a step back and look at the situation your person is facing to determine what it is they may benefit from.
  3. Offer a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold. Sometimes when times are hard that physical feeling of someone being there is all that a person needs when facing trials. The warmth of another person is soothing and comforting to me; their simple presence is enough. It’s hard if you can’t be there physically for someone when they need it most; so tell them that you’d be there if you could and mean it.

I know my boyfriend has had to deal with be being super emotional and upset and while I don’t doubt our relationship in any way; it’s hard to not let fear and doubt creep into every aspect of my life. Finland is far away and I’m only human. If you’re trying to help someone through the difficulties they face, know that it won’t be easy, but you being there will mean the world.

You’ve made it through dark times before and you’ll do it again.

-LP

Enjoying the Day-to-Day

When I was working at Dairy Queen I felt constantly stressed and unhappy. The job itself was great, I mean who doesn’t like making ice cream? I had worked at multiple Dairy Queen stores and I really really enjoyed it. I had a great boss and coworkers; even though I didn’t have a relationship with them outside of work, work was fun and stress free. I mean, we basically sell happiness in a cup. Unfortunately, when I moved back home from Eastern Michigan University, my new store wasn’t as welcoming. I definitely learned to get over it and I even made some fantastic friends that I love more than anything, but all in all, I hated it there. There were a few people that made my job miserable and having a new boss that doesn’t do anything about problems, does not help. After exhausting my resources available to me for conflict resolution, I decided to leave, at least for the time being, namely because I just could not deal with the stress of nursing school and catty coworkers. It just made life easier.

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It’s been almost exactly 1 month since I left DQ and I already feel so much better. The constant unhappiness and stress has faded away as a distant memory and I can talk about Dairy Queen without feeling like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. I have come to realize that life will never be stress-free, but if you are in a situation that makes you constantly unhappy, you need to get yourself out of there! I became a completely different person while working at DQ, and it wasn’t someone that I liked being.

Here are some tips and tricks I use (and I’m still trying to perfect) to help you enjoy the day-to-day:

1. Leave the stress at the door. Work is stressful. School is stressful. Traffic is stressful. Everything is stressful. If you weren’t stressed out, you wouldn’t be alive. When you come home after having a horrible day at work, or you fail an exam, it’s okay to be upset. You can cry and you should. Let the stress out and deal with it, but do not bring it home. Do not lash out at those that love you and want to be there for you. They want to help, so let them.
2. Focus on the good. Look at the stress in your life, the failures you’ve encountered, the promotions you didn’t get as opportunities to learn more and do better. Don’t beat yourself up! To err is human. And we are so far from perfect, even if we pretend we aren’t. Even if we try to be, we fail.
3. Let go & pray. Don’t knock it ’til you try it, my friend. Honestly though, take some quiet time to yourself and look inward. Look at who you are and what’s happening around you. Focus on the good in life (as difficult as that may be) and take some long deep breaths. Meditate, breathe deeply, just focus on what you’re feeling and allow yourself to feel it, guilt free. It’s okay to be upset, unhappy, overwhelmed; it’s okay to need to look to something or someone else for a bit of reassurance. The quiet time will help and guide you back to the happiness you seek. Take a few moments and try. You just might be surprised at how much it truly helps to calm you down and help you through it.

For those of you dealing with a stressed out partner, realize that as much as you might want to help, or as much as you want to get to the bottom of why your significant other feels the way they do, give them space. (At least for a little while) Then go to them, express how you are feeling about the stress they are dealing with and listen to them with open ears. Avoid asking “why?” as it can make a person feel as though they have to defend their feelings and justify them and they might not even really know the reason behind their emotions. That is for them to wrestle with and figure out; you can still be there though, just go to them with open and understanding, nonjudgmental arms. Odds are, they want a hug and someone to talk to.  🙂

As crappy as the day may seem, you will have better days! You will probably have some more not so great ones too, but try to look on the bright side of life and find things that make you feel better. I am a HUGE fan of long showers, listening to music, going for a nice drive, or focusing on things like homework to get my mind off of what’s bothering me until I feel like I am ready to deal with it with a level head. It isn’t easy. I lose my cool, but it’s something I’m working on and something that I encourage you to work on as well! Choose joy. Choose peace. Choose happiness. Choose to be optimistic even when you do not feel like it.

There are some circumstances in which a person is genuinely depressed and those people should seek help. Remember, if someone is coming to you with their sorrow, it’s probably hard for them to do so, so allow them to express how they are feeling and offer some support even if its awkward or uncomfortable for you.

If you, or anyone you know feels as if they are in the midst of a crisis, please take the appropriate measures. Call the completely free hot-line: 1 (800) 273-8255 if you are located in the United States, because you matter. These people who man the phones at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will talk with you, listen to you, and help. You are not alone.

-LP