Growing Up Emotionally Fast

I remember when I was young, I was never rebellious, just dumb. My friends did mature things that I was pretty naive to even though I was lowkey the equivalent of a horny teenage boy with no dick to stick in things. I learned about things through hours of sleepless nights on the internet. I didn’t learn much in real life.

While some of my friends were having sex at an early age, hanging out with older guys and smoking weed on the regular; I was just around. I didn’t get caught up in any of that. There were times I made embarrassingly terrible efforts to be sexy and failed miserably. Example: I wore a thong to class in ninth grade and almost gave myself a wedgie trying to show it off out of my jeans. Still, guys wouldn’t look at me. I was never the slutty one at parties. I only made out with everyone and then probably threw up somewhere later on in the night because I wasn’t very good at drinking either. I didn’t have sex until I was sixteen and I waited on purpose because that’s what teenage rom coms taught me was an appropriate age. I remember even calling a friend about it right after the guy left and being like yeaaaah, I did it. Because sex, amirite?

Fun fact: I had sex with the guy I lost my virginity like, eight or so years later. Nothing was like I remembered. It was pretty bad. I judged pretty hard. We never did it again. As a person, he was alright to me until he got weird/gross this year. I’ll respect on not getting into because he’s a newly father now………

I didn’t have a consistent adult figure to help me through life. Not even secondary like, a relative, teacher, mentor, etc etc. I had someone I viewed as an older sister when I was a kid but she passed away when I was thirteen. I lowkey had no one. It’s been weird trying to navigate life and raising myself mentally and emotionally. Especially since I’ve always been a bit of an idiot.

While I struggled with the confusions of growing up, I grew up emotionally faster than I was prepared for. I didn’t even know this was happening because I was just a kid. Reflecting as an adult, it explains why I was such an internalized mess for so long.

I have faint memories of being in a women’s shelter and the green pajamas with strawberry shortcake. This was one of my first real memories. I experienced death of others at a young age but dysfunctionally because most of the people I knew who died were young. It happened frequently enough while growing up that I had to accept it as something that was a part of life. I was too young to grasp the emotions of it properly. I took that into adolescence as well. I mean, I got sad but I never learned any grieving skills.

No one really took me seriously because of my parents and when I was young, I didn’t understand that either. I didn’t understand why the other kids in the Vietnamese community were so tight knit and I was such an outsider. I always felt like I never fit in. My dad used to try to beat the Vietnamese into me and my mum was the reason why we were so isolated so you can imagine how confusing that was for me. Nothing in my life made sense but because I was too young to understand, I didn’t really think much about it.

But I did know I felt bad things inside me that I couldn’t understand. I felt different but I didn’t know why. I had no one to talk to so I just kept it all inside. Getting yelled at or dismissed definitely helped with the internalizing. I wrote my thoughts out only to have my mum find them and when she could understand them, I’d get yelled at. Shame game was very real in how my life played out.

Though I didn’t understand, I had to cope. I had to cope with figuring out who I was while feeling like it was wrong to be me. I’d see happiness and connection around me but I couldn’t genuinely feel it myself. I was never jealous or bitter about it; there was just always this sad feeling that I couldn’t understand. I thought it was normal to feel the alienation, I think. At the time, I couldn’t tell what was from the trauma and what was part of growing up. They just seemed to blend together.

I didn’t tell many people about what was going on with me. I just acted like everything was okay. Partly to fit in, partly because I really, really wanted to be okay. I convinced myself enough that I was okay knowing I wasn’t. And just cool. I just wanted to be cool. Still waiting on that. But it gave me an understanding that I didn’t understand myself. I experienced things that people around me didn’t. I knew my upbringing wasn’t normal. Some people kind of knew but I spoke about it like a conversation not with any feelings. It was easier to pretend that I was normal too. I could always study how to be normal online while just pretending I was in my real life. I read obsessively about those who I looked up to and pretended this one message board was full of older siblings guiding me.

My lowkey coping and forced emotional growth kept me going through some of the darkest moments of my life. It caused an earnest in me that makes me more aware of the tough parts of life. I’m resilient for it but paired with my inability to think any better of myself, it caused for many, many messed up years. It kept my dumbass from feeling sheltered or entitled though because I didn’t ever feel important enough for that “privilege”. Because I never really acted out, I’d suffer quietly with occasional outbursts. I was innately attuned to my feelings but lacked the self-awareness to control them properly.

Growing up emotionally was my unintentional survival mode. Now as an understanding adult, it takes away the intensity of the shame I felt and the defectiveness I thought I was. Being able to share everything I thought I had to hide has helped me accept who I am more as a person now that I have less that I’m supposed to hide behind. I get to connect and feel the emotions I once wondered about. Maybe not to the level that I imagined but you know, I appreciate what I can feel. It’s allowing me to know what my actual emotions are and how to control them because I’m shedding the misunderstood ones away. I can understand what are sincere ones.

At almost thirty, my emotions are beginning to grow properly. They’re growing with me and with an awareness. Talking about it brings out the uncool feeling out of me because that’s how I feel with vulnerable shit but we’ll shed that.

D Is For Your Name & Cus You’re A Dickhead

I met D randomly one day.

I was sitting in a park after a gym session one day. I was listening to music, zoning out to my idle thoughts and smoking a cigarette*. He approached me and damn near scared the shit out of me. He apologized for startling me before he proceeded to tell me that he was on his way to play soccer with his friend but couldn’t help but notice me and he had to take the chance to say hi.

*Smoking is my secret vice. It’s been with me for so long and it’s not something I do socially which can be seen as ironic since it’s usually the opposite for people. It’s not something I tend to openly admit. I’m not so much ashamed of it, it’s just most people don’t smoke and I generally try to be polite about it. I love smoking though. One day I’ll stop and just miss it instead.

I can’t exactly remember what he looks like but I remember him being pretty cute. He was from England and spoke with a bit of an accent. It was charming. I was pretty turned on by his confidence. I was also just freshly out of communication with my ex*. That’s why I was sitting there doing what I was doing. I was idly moping. I was trying to live in a bit of a sad moment because that’s how I felt, ok? When he chatted me up, I was flattered but also hesitant. We chatted for a little while before he said he should probably meet up with his soccer friends. He asked me for my number. I gave it to him but on one condition.

*It was like the day after. It didn’t last long. We would still continue talking for about a month after this before it finally ended. 

I told him I wasn’t really interested in anything or anyone but myself at the moment and I wanted to keep it that way. I told him that while I am flattered I needed a bit of time. I asked him to respect my request of waiting at least 2-3 weeks before messaging me because of this. If he couldn’t, I’d simply ignore his message but I would really, really appreciate if he could do this for me. He said yes. I believed him. Off we went our separate ways.

He messaged me in less than the time I requested but not too quickly. I told him my sister was in town soon and that I would be unavailable to meet until after.  He was understanding about it. I gave him a date just so it didn’t seem like I was being flimsy. I didn’t hear from him for over a month after. By then though, I wasn’t interested anymore. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I was attracting all these guys who had flimsy interest and I was learning to not tolerate it. I decided that kind of effort didn’t make me feel good and instead of putting up with it, I’d just tell them no thanks and move along. When D finally hit me up, that’s how I felt about him so that’s what I said to him. He laughed at me and told me I was being too serious.

I brushed it off and didn’t think much of it. I felt like I was dealing with this kind of thing frequently enough that I had no polite thought to give anymore. How I felt mattered to me more and that was okay.

Flash forward to yesterday. I get a text from a number I didn’t recognize. When I asked who it was, a text back said, “I’m persistence”. When I didn’t care for the reply, a text said that it was D. I just said “Oh.” before I added, “I don’t think you’re persistent, just random”. He tells me I’ve been on his mind quite a bit recently and that he could use a morning cuddle buddy. I decline the offer. I told him that I was seeing someone who was sweet on me and could show it. It was half a lie. I didn’t care.

Then he told me he was getting married in a couple of days. I said that’s gross and good luck with that. I didn’t mean getting married was gross. It was gross of him to be doing this right before he puts a ring on someone else’s finger. I don’t understand how people are like this. Especially with people they don’t know. I can somewhat understand complicated stories but this is pretty simple. It’s also really dumb.

I used to be really bad at shutting this kind of stuff down. Now I acknowledge the level of dirtbagness and respond accordingly.

 

The Grossness of Interest Entitlement

I’m not even really sure how I’m going to write this but I’m going to start and see where it goes.

I used to tolerate politely how guys flirted with me or showed interest in me because I took what I could and tried to work with it. Even if how they acted didn’t exactly make me feel good. Even if they weren’t even at least attentive to me in bed. I guess you could more than say that my self-esteem wasn’t great. I would do this even when I knew they didn’t like me all that much. I would start acting up and they would give me headaches. I was sadly comforted by the dysfunctions because it was a reflection upon myself.

This happened often as well when I wasn’t comfortable with my looks. If I felt like they were just interested in me for my looks and to bang me, I would feel like shit. Then when I was alone, I would eat to protect myself from that. It was weird. I never put those pieces together until recently.

My own interest was never important to me. I would try to make their interest work. I would fill in their blanks for them. I would make excuses and accept when they made them. I would rationalize for them by telling criticizing my own self and believe them when they said that I was getting too worked up because sometimes I did, but looking back, it was when their passive interest was driving my insecurities and I forced my own attachment too much to say fuck it.

Now that I understand how to put myself before someone else’s interest until I can gauge it myself… Some of the encounters I’ve had have been gross, to say the least. If I’m unsure about my interest in someone but they showed theirs with me first, I wait to gauge by how they go about it. If it’s passive, or wishy-washy, it doesn’t do it for me and I’m pretty upfront about it. I’m baffled by the reaction to it. The response I can get is like they expected me to accept this low level of show and think it was okay. They would insult me, backhand talk at me, or say some racist shit.

Sometimes there were guys who couldn’t understand why I wasn’t interested in having sex with them just because that’s what they wanted. I had one guy in my past who fiddled with me to fuck me and I totally fell for it. We sort of bumped into each other and when I mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of him for that situation, he told me that for what it was worth, he was attracted to me. There was not one apology or acknowledgment of his douchebaggery. The next words to come out of him was asking if I still lived in my old hood, with a tone that spoke of a potential hook up and that’s when I shut it down. I told him this conversation was over and I never want us to acknowledge each other’s presence ever again. I felt gross even having a conversation with him but I thought hey, it’d be a few years, people grow. Instead, I wanted to throw up in my mouth. Even after those few years, he still thought he was entitled to fuck me and thought I’d go along with it.

Gaslighting is something I’m only starting to really get an understanding of. Guys did this to me a lot and I always thought it was me. I thought I was crazy until I realize they spoke to me like I was so I thought I was, even though what I was doing was just being straight-forward and you know, mature. I’d call out misinformation they told. I’d call out when they told me something that didn’t match what they said of it before. Or question why they were lying about something. They were quick on the defensive and quick to talk to me that was to say, mind your own fucking business. Uhm, no. If you are trying to get with me, you best have yourself in check and real. I maintain my standard of honesty and integrity with myself and the best that I can with others. I’m not about to put that aside for someone who doesn’t.

It’s gross to me how someone can go so aggressively at me about my looks. It used to scare me that I attracted guys like this so I would subconsciously try to protect myself from it. Now that I can own my looks and not have their say in it, I can deflect it. Look, I don’t mind a compliment. I’ve learned to graciously accept them. I also know I’m not ugly and these days, I am confident in how I look because I like how I look to myself. But when it’s all you’re focusing on and you’re coming at me about in a manner that is the equivalent to a teenage boy finding porn and attempting to masturbate to it for the first time, it’s not chill. I’m not an object that you can persistently come at. See, that’s where I get annoyed. Most people, if you ignore their this kind of behavior, will stop. They don’t continue. But some do. If I’m lucky, they’ll resort to calling me names and telling me I’m a stupid bitch anyways and then stop.

The rate that I’m seeing this now and rejecting is crazy to me. Who do these guys think they are?