Trigger Thoughts

I don’t like using the word trigger. Maybe I don’t like it because I don’t tend to like having conversations with people who use it. There’s a preciousness that is usually associated with it that I have an aversion to. I can sure as hell be sensitive. At my lows, I can be delicate but there’s nothing precious about any of the traumas I went through nor should there be. I’ve always felt like it was like an entitlement for what one’s been through and unfortunate or not, the world owes you nothing for it. There’s nothing precious about triggers. 

But trigger is the right word to use for some of the shit I’ve been feeling and experiencing lately. I’m all about brevity and the definition fits. I mean, in a way, I could use the word “activate” but that shit sounds science-y and to me, too robotic. I’m low on the emotional capacity but I still have feelings. I still understand feelings. 

I also have integrity, which is something I’ve turned my back on in the past, just to be loved, or liked, or accepted. I’d bury my own judgment and feelings, especially when I got myself in too far of a situation. In the past, it felt like well, I already made the choice, I can’t go back now. Even when turning my back gave me anxiety and occasionally, nightmares. This is something I can barely talk to anyone about. Maybe it’s because I’ve only recently realized my body remembers better than my mind even if the situation that set it off isn’t the same. I recognize when I’ve felt this way. I’m only getting better at it. 

Right now I’m accepting I can’t be in situations that bring me back to a dark place that I haven’t learned to cope with. It’s shit that I protected the trigger because no one told me the truth. It’s not my responsibility to find out for myself because why would I? If what I got painted was a false accusation. I feel a bit self-righteous about how bothered I am. I also feel guilty about how I actually dealt with the situation but I’d rather protect myself than to protect someone else’s entitlement. 

Obviously I need to find a way to cope because the real world isn’t going to cater to my traumatic feelings and the triggers that be. I need to learn the difference between what’s appropriate to handle and what is not. There’s a level of assertiveness that I need to teach myself. At least this time, even if it’s shit, I knew to protect myself over the unnecessary. Self-protection is not something I’m familiar with but it’s something I’m learning.

Triggers are going to be hard to avoid and I’m gonna hate myself for how sensitive I can be to them but it’s better than building on the damage I’m trying to repair. It’ll be a maze of obstacles but you know, if this life is meant to be lived long, and I believe in myself as I should… I can come out of this on top. Right now, I’m not so sure but let’s give it a bit of time. 

The Validity of My Feelings

I’ve been questioning them lately in different aspects of my life, to the point where I’ve mostly shut down. Last time I let this go too far, I became a pretty big mess. I was reaching that point but I’ve decided, they’re valid and I’ll allow them.

I used to almost go mental over my cognitive dissonance in jobs. Because I didn’t understand the real world very well, when I felt uncomfortable about situations, I was rarely sure if how I felt was even acceptable. Also, when I was in survival mode, I didn’t want to get fired or cause trouble. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I just tapped out. I did it this time as well, like a punk. But the difference is, I acknowledge the validity of my reason(s). There should have been a serious discussion when it came up and when I did find out on my own, I thought I was in it far enough that I should be okay with it but I wasn’t. I’m not.

I’ve been through my fair share of gross behaviour from men that I tolerated for years. I’ve also watched men get away with gross behaviors simply for the fact that they were men. There have also been men who were unaware of what boundaries meant. I’ve never seen it up close as such privilege though, not until very recently. It can certainly be called aloof but I think it’s because he’s been allowed to act like that. It’s uncomfortable. It was already a bit weird before I found out a reason I should have been informed about when I was sort of left feeling like I had to be protective because it’s not something I want to protect. I shouldn’t have had to. It just made his lack of respect to me saying no to even a gift as a gesture uncomfortable and it was already annoying. You would think under scrutiny you’d be more aware of your level of professionalism but watching the privilege play out just upset me as I tried to continue on working through it. It went against my judgment and honestly, my responsibilities as a female and a person.

I argued with myself quite a bit, wondering if I was being too sensitive. At the end of it, I’d rather be that than uncomfortable going against my own feelings… which are valid.




Where Do I Go From Here?

There’s a developing level of vulnerability that I’m starting to accept. It hasn’t really been easy to navigate but it also feels absolutely necessary.

I’m beginning to recognize that when I start getting uncomfortable from my social anxiety, instead of trying to connect, I end up embarrassing myself. I haven’t quite decided if it’s something I can work on or it’s just a part that’s me. I guess it’ll come down to the ability to be able to separate myself from it. My anxiety sometimes causes me to shut down instead of show up because I become somewhat paralyzed about what move I should be making and then I don’t end up doing anything. There used to be days, even weeks, where I couldn’t (wouldn’t?) leave my home and the longer that went on, the more I convinced myself that once I stepped out into the world, everyone would know. I would deflect my anxiety by pretending to myself, “Haha, I’m okay. Things are okay. Nothing is wrong. Don’t let people see your weakness. Haha, it’s okay. I’m fine. I just want people to think I’m cool and it’s not cool to be anxious. Knock it off, Fish.

It was exhausting.

It’s more manageable these days but fuck, I’m still intimidated when I get socially anxious. Like, it can feel sure people can sniff the anxiety out of me and be like, k, you loser and I’d be like, yeah you’re right. People don’t really respect you much when this shit is apparent as well. There have been times I would feel so uncomfortable wondering if people could sense how hard I was trying to just be social. I felt like I was being a phony not being able to do it so … easily? I just wanted to be accepted but my anxiety shield kept me on edge a lot. It still does sometimes. I get in my own head about whether or not people wanted to be my friend when I wanted them to be mine.

I’ve always kind of felt like, I was friendly enough for people to chat with, maybe, but not enough to like, establish a friendship with. I’ve also had to come to terms with my efforts as well. I have a hard time understanding how to call someone to just hang out or plan an outing with my friends. I haven’t practice that sort of thing enough because I start getting anxious about the rejection of trying. I haven’t learned to surf the waves of it yet but I’m hoping to get the hang of it. Right now, I think I’m still crashing down.

Truth is, I’ve always wanted to be seen as a person but then I ask myself is this allowed? Also, when you’ve spent most of your life mostly hiding from people while desperately wanting to be cool, you’re just mostly invisible. When you mostly just make an impression of embarrassment (which I’m really good at), it doesn’t make you come off as someone people want to know. At least that’s what I end up telling myself when I’m alone and reflect with cringes.

So where do I go from here?

I don’t really have an answer. But I think the answer lies in just keeping on. Keep writing out these anxieties so that maybe I’ll be able to own them so they own me less. Maybe I’ll stop worrying about how much of a loser I might be coming off as. That’s how I feel when I write about this shit. Maybe eventually that feeling will stop. Since I’ve been putting my shit out there more honestly, I feel less shackled even though the feelings still come. They don’t come as strongly.

And that’s probably a good thing.

The Body That Confidence Built

All of my life I’ve been pretty self-conscious with my body. I’ve always found it kind of strange because privately, I can’t keep clothes on except for my underwear. In public though, I’d usually pretty covered up. If I showed skin, there was always a part of me that felt like I was trying hard and had this back of the mind anxiety that someone was going to call me out on it and I’d have to sit down. How I wanted to feel couldn’t match how I did feel and it was a mess trying to make it work on the outside.

When I felt good about myself, I hid it. When I had the best body I’ll ever have, I took it for granted by being so insecure about it. There are many photos to remind me of how it looked but at the time, I couldn’t own it. There was always shame when I felt proud. I thought I would come off as shallow for it. It didn’t matter to me all the work I put in. I always told myself I could do more, do better and someone would see that and call me out on it. I was scared to be the phony I worked up in my head that I was.

I felt comfort but pretty shitty when my body was on the chubbier side. It was my coping mechanism. I’ve learned now it was a form of self-protection from really connecting with people or at least what I saw as “proper people” romantically. It was a form of self-sabotage to keep me feeling the way I felt inside about myself. To prove that self-loathing because I didn’t think I was deserving of my body otherwise. I’d use any stressful excuse to eat myself into a miserable hole. Sometimes it was so bad that I’d eat until I’d almost throw up and then continue eating because I felt I deserved the gluttony that I was feeling. I never even threw any of that miserable eating up. I kept it all in because I was so shit with myself, I felt like I had to sit with my disgustingness and not cop out by throwing it up and away. When I could, I’d excuse it as me just trying to have a fat day and enjoy myself.

You’d never know that by looking at me or talking to me though. No one did. It was a secret about myself I hid it very, very well. You also couldn’t tell because no one was really paying that close attention to me and it was all in my head. I was my own worst critic and so incredibly hard on myself. I constantly got myself into situations with people that would leave me rejected. I was in arrested development with style for so long because I didn’t know how to dress because of my poor body image. I always dressed down or looked cheap when I tried to show skin and “look sexy”. Or when I wanted to dress pretty, it felt like I was overdressed and I would feel anxious. I was too scared to own who I wanted to be because I spent most of my life thinking I could never do enough for it. So I’d eat myself back into a comfortable misery.

I also didn’t know at the time that I was scared of ever genuinely feeling the word “sexy”. I wasn’t whole on the inside so I was scared of attracting the wrong people who just liked me for my body instead of me as a whole. I fulfilled that by attracting those people anyways. I never did attract the ones who would throw me away like trash but I sure as shit attracted the ones who were flimsy with their interest and too passive to let me know the truth about that. I would get crushed by it and put it on myself. I went through a lot of headaches subjecting myself to a lot of gross behavior from guys. I definitely tolerated more than I should have. But I couldn’t feel attractive to myself so I tried to find the approval on the outside and I was self-conscious for even that.

I know this is going to sound weird but I also had this weird anxiety about being rude if I owned my confidence. I think it was a girl issue thing. I’m not exactly sure how to explain or pinpoint it but I didn’t want girls comparing themselves to me and I would feel shitty about that too. This anxiety made me feel arrogant and I didn’t want to blow smoke up my own ass. There were times I’d slow down my hustle because of this and I always knew it was weird but I didn’t stop myself from this either.

I’ve been working on owning who I am and who I’d like to be this year more than ever and I’ve allowed myself to feel proud of the work I put in. It’s the first time that I’ve felt this way and it stuck. It’s a confidence that I know isn’t going to go away because I know how hard I continue to keep working. My body isn’t the best out there but at this maintenance, it’s enough for me. It can get better and it probably will. But whatever confidence and work I put into it will always be what’s enough for me now. I can now feel this way because I know my efforts aren’t shallow. There’s hustle. There’s grind. It might not be the hardest work out there compared to others but that doesn’t dismiss how hard I work. Just because I’m fundamentally lazy doesn’t mean that I won’t put that aside to get the work that needs to get done. I take care of my body now rather than fight with it.

I’m also learning my own terms of sexy. How I dress reflects how I feel on the inside and how I think I am. It’s kind of trashy at times but it’s within my style. I feel more at ease embracing this rather than the discomfort of hiding all the time. I repeat to myself that I’m allowed to feel good about myself and it’s the air I’ll exude rather than shoving it in people’s face. Everything is coming from the inside out and manifesting. I look in the mirror these days and see who I am and don’t hide from her anymore because she’s a fucking boss to me.

It’s been a while since I’ve binge ate the way I did before. I still have fat days but they don’t happen so frequently anymore. I’m no longer afraid of attracting the wrong guys by dressing the way I feel like because I don’t have a fear of myself anymore. Come owning myself came owning my choice to how I choose to respond to grossness and it’s no longer with a patience of politeness. I don’t have intense sweet or carb cravings anymore because I don’t feel the guilt I did about eating as before. I like the skin I show and even though my stomach isn’t perfect all the time, the shape of me is what I like and I have worked my ass lately for it. I know how to dress up and have a bit of style now. It’s still not great but it’s improving. I’ve been debating on buying a sewing machine just so I can tailor my clothes a bit more to me because I know how much of a difference that would make.

Even when it came to other females, I’ve stopped feeling that anxiety and insecurity. Like many people of any gender, the right people will lift you as you lift them. You encourage and support each other and not lowkey want to tear the other person down. If you feel any comparison that makes you feel like you have to dim yourself a little to make them feel better, maybe it’s not the right friendship or relationship for you. If it’s people who aren’t willing to help themselves or they’re just lying and want you to lower down so they can keep their lie, leave them. I’ve learned it’s not your responsibility to make people feel better because they’re not willing to do it themselves. You honestly can’t feel bad for surpassing people when they weren’t moving that much along.

It took me a long time to let go of external environments, thoughts, and anxiety to get to where I am. It took looking at myself and past it.  My body was never the problem; it was my mental and emotional state. It took a lot of work to believe I deserved the self-care I was teaching myself to give myself. It took even more to own it and allow myself to keep it. It took me a long time to understand how I wanted to feel about myself to myself and that it doesn’t have to be cool. I’m not cool. I don’t think I’ll ever be cool but you know, I can be other things that can equate to that or better.

To my body, I’m sorry for everything I put you through but I’m glad we’re getting along now. I promise to take the best care of you and to push you to limits you didn’t think was possible. To help you keep stay strong while you get even stronger. To keep you good until the day I completely destroy you by getting knocked up and eventually pushing a baby out of our vagina. Maybe you’ll get lucky and that will never happen. Who knows?