Tag: struggles

Romantic Relationships

Those who know me in real life are well aware that I shy away from romantic relationships.

In all honesty, I often miss the clues individuals utilize to express their interest in me…therefore I miss opportunities to even engage in many romantic relationships.

I’m one of those people who hyper focuses on one goal and loses sight of the big picture.

Even with all of those personal flaws or quirks (depending on who you ask) I’ve managed to fall in love and experience a romantic relationship.

Laugh, you know those quirks I mentioned earlier? They didn’t go away once I entered a romantic relationship, and they complicated things.

I’ve mentioned before that if I was born 15 years later than I was, there’s a high likelihood I would’ve been labeled as being somewhere on the Aspergers Spectrum.

That is not an insult to those who are on the spectrum, neither is it my attempt to make light of a serious issue.

I was born at the wrong time and in the wrong location and definitely in the wrong socioeconomic class for anyone of influence to flag my tendencies as different.

Enough of that.

I’m an adult now and I am still perplexed by romantic relationships. A part of me truly believed they are an utter waste of time and energy. While there’s another part of me that feels like romantic relationships are enticingly beautiful.

I still leave something to be desired when it comes to romantic relationships. I often have to be told what it is my partner desires from me and that can be annoying.

Oh I don’t mean they have to tell me something grand, no they have to tell me “amber I would like for you to hug me and not seem like I’m on fire and you’re afraid to catch it” haha! That was an odd moment, but I do have a tendency to hurry hugs.

I do have to work hard in romantic relationships and I still don’t know if they’re worth it. It seems like a lot of work with little benefits.

Imposter syndrome

Many articles are available about individuals experiencing the imposter syndrome.

The imposter syndrome is basically the idea that an individual feels he is unqualified regardless of the credentials he holds,

That’s the dirty version of it…trust me there’s more to it. For instance, certain individuals with certain group memberships are more likely to experience the imposter syndrome.

Right now I’m in a waiting season…seriously😫! One phase of my life has ended; yet the next phase has not started. So I wait.tick, tock, tick, tock…time continues to pass.

The more I wait, the more I have to confront my inner feelings about everything.

Let’s just say, on paper I’m qualified to do many things…but I struggle to feel that I’m qualified to do anything.

I’ve dealt with the imposter syndrome before, many times. However, never to this extent.

I have no answers but I acknowledge that I feel like I don’t belong in spaces that I’ve worked hard to gain the access papers to join.

I’ll grow personally and professionally during this time.

One day I’ll realize that I’m not an imposter. I indeed belong.

Until then, I acknowledge that I struggle with the imposter syndrome.

If this love is real, my relationship looks like…

Many of us are led to believe that there’s someone out there for us; waiting to embark on an adventurous romantic relationship with us.

There are so many popularly held beliefs about love that it’s easy to become confused by it all.

We are taught that it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved; that love will find away; that if someone loves you they will do [fill in the blank].

Sigh.

No one really likes to discuss the hard part about relationship or even how every relationship has a different course.

I recall when the popular craze about how to know if a guy is into you was all the rage. I remember trying to pinpoint things that expressly signified that Mr. was into me.

I often came up short, or at least with a mixed message.

Needless to say…I became confused!

The researcher in me now knows the fallacies in the popular arguments about how to tell if someone is into you or not…but at that time I just knew that these articles, books, movies would provide the answers that I oh so desperately needed.

I’ve loved before, it wasn’t all sunshine and smiles. For a fact, it was downright difficult to love – for me!

Be easy, I’ll explain! Loving someone romantically often led to me thinking of that person and considering their opinion.

Yeah! That was no fun and far from any vision I had of myself.

The love was reciprocal; although, even that was difficult – for me!

I didn’t know how to let myself be loved. I mean, this person had no obligation to care for my wellbeing so I often wondered why? I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what’s the catch?

I’m not suggesting that I am by anyway unworthy of love; however, along with those messages I subconsciously picked up about love – I also learned that no one just does something without wanting something else.

I’m sure you’ve been privy to those messages also. They are also in our television, movies, books, and conversations.

I didn’t know at the time why I continually questioned the validity and reliability of the love being given to me. I understand more now.

Thankfully, I decided to get to know myself more without the pressure of improving my relationship or my ability to accept love.

I simply desired to be a better version of me. This is why I am acutely aware of the messaging we receive in so many facets of life.

At the moment, I love someone romantically, and I’ve loved this person for quite sometime. I am careful about what messaging I allow to enter into my relationship.

Some times I find myself searching the web for someone’s opinion on relationships or specific questions pertaining to the relationship.

Without fail, I leave that search I thinking oh this individual might love me or he might not.

I also leave those searches thinking that I might have low self esteem and need a swift intervention or I might be a strong independent woman who knows what she wants out of a relationship.

After I stop stressing over my internet search (yes, as intelligent as I am – an internet search knocks me off of my sanity rocket) I remember that although the information presented by all of these great minds is good in its own niche – none of the authors are able to generalize my relationship because everyone is unique.

Don’t get it twisted…I do appreciate advice but I refuse to be consumed by the advice.

I am unique, with an interesting set of characteristics & the Individual I love is unique also.

It’s important that I don’t cheapen our relationship with the confusion that is the opinion of others.

Where’s my fairy godmother with her wand of happily ever after? Romantic relationships would be so much easier that way!

Remembering Me

While refining my job search I’ve thought a lot about myself as a child. Particularly, I’ve thought about the things that defined my personality as an adolescent.

One thing all of my family and most of my friends would agree on is that I was the very definition of weird.

I was always that odd child who embraced my oddness, which made me weird according to many.

Rewind – I was born premature and spent a lot of time in the NICU, this impacted my early life. Furthermore, I suffered many illnesses as a child which endeared me to many.

I point this out because it explains why all of my cousins and my sister had to go outside to play but I had a choice. It explains why I spent so much time with adults and often out of school during my entire elementary and secondary school years.

My beginning impacted the advantages and disadvantages of my life as a youth. I wasn’t exactly a spoiled child; however, I was possibly a bit sheltered. Specifically, due to the health related challenges I faced during my youth, my family made exceptions for me often.

I spent a lot of time with adults because I was unwell and receiving medical treatments. I also had a lot of doctor’s appointments that interrupted my childhood.

My cousin who is only a few months older than me taught me how to read and ignited my love of reading. We would enter the annual reading challenges hosted by our local library and attend storytelling sessions. Our parents and grandparents enjoyed this particular hobby of ours.

Not only was reading one of the least expensive hobbies at the time; my family was certain that our love of reading would translate into us pursuing and obtaining higher education and eventually careers that would spare us from many of the financial challenges they faced.

I loved reading everything…but I only stayed in the library for hours because my cousin (at the time she was the closest thing to a hero that I had) enjoyed the dusty place!

Really, she loved reading books in the library and then checking out other books to take home. I preferred to go to the library, choose books, return home, read books, and return them the following day.

She was my hero-peer mentor so I stayed at the library many times pretending to read the book I would check out to read in the comfort of my room.

This doesn’t sound weird to many of you I’m sure, but loving to read alone was not exactly cool!

Let’s talk about how I read. I mentioned reading in the comfort of my room, well there’s more to it than that. I sat in the corner – same corner every time – to read. I also put headphones (initially ear muffs) to block out the outside world while I read.

I still like to wear headphones when I read. Partially because people think I can’t hear them and I saw it on tv as a child and thought it was cool!

I didn’t like the outdoors so reading in the park – also something I saw on tv – was not remotely cool to me.

Another consistent theme in my youth is that I always spoke out for people especially when I felt that they were not being heard.

I spoke out for my family members regardless of their age in comparison to my own. I spoke out for my peers when I thought the teachers or even their parents ignored them.

I wrote letters to agencies when my snack cake wasn’t good lol! I’ll have to tell this one particular story later.

To be continued…remembering me

Rest required

I have a few chronic illnesses, some that I’ve written about in the past…it doesn’t matter what they are, just know that they exist and they impact every facet of my life.

I recently defended my dissertation (Yay Me!!!) now it is time to focus on job hunting (Why me?) and this is where chronic illness is front and center.

So I’ve lived with these chronic illnesses for many years and I’ve achieved my educational goals…although things never went smoothly…and now I’m exhausted

I have important people to contact, cover letters to compose, and applications to complete…but I’m tired.

I’m not only tired from the arduous process that is a doctoral program…my chronic illnesses are screaming at me to pause temporarily.

My chronic illnesses are suggesting that I breathe, meditate, then rest. Sigh.

As many of you know, application deadlines and all the many things necessary for getting a job fails to account for the fact that your (my) chronic illnesses demand that I rest.

Some of you may even go so far as to say, if I need rest during the application process, I’m likely not able to do the job for which I am applying.

Then there’s others who would say that the PhD process is tedious and the typical person would need a break, so it’s not unusual that I need a break…in the form of a short rest.

The problem I often face as a result of being chronically ill is that I wonder if I’m being lazy or I really need the rest.

Those closest to me suggest that I simply need the rest, but even that’s not always convincing enough to stop my negative self talk

As someone with chronic illnesses, it is hard enough to deal with some outsider suggesting that you are lazy, incompetent and yet many of us, myself included engage in negative self talk when our bodies demand self-care.

I am someone who possesses chronic illnesses, but I’m also more than that. I am someone who needs accommodations, but I’m also more than that. I am more than any identifier I possess…if only I consistently believed that.

Chronic illness identity

Chronic illness warrior, chronic pain survivor, spoonie, chargie, dis-Abled, fighter, and all of the other labels used among individuals who face a myriad of long term illnesses….

It matters little how I refer to myself when I’m at a place where I feel there’s nothing I can do to overcome, conquer whatever my illness has brought to me.

The labels tend to carry little meaning when I’m facing the implications of my illness alone

They matter even less when I’m sitting in yet another physicians or alternative health professionals office and/or waiting room…

So why do I find such comfort in whatever label I choose for the day? Although it seemingly doesn’t change the trajectory of my chronic illness or the acknowledgment of my pain by others?

These labels may have little meaning outside of the communities they create which often transcends an individual’s immediate surroundings.

These labels thrive in cyberspace and it’s easy to see how certain events in the real world are crafted around these labels.

Personally, I’ve found them useful in cyberspace and I’ve enjoyed the disconnect in the connections I’ve created through these labels.

I consider it a disconnect because I only checked into these communities when I felt the desire to…otherwise, I stayed away.

Some years, I was connected to various chronic illness themed communities on a daily basis…I was even an administrator of one such community at one point

But once I received what I needed or at least once my outside support system stabilized, I relied on the amazing community less.

Now, I’m not a part of any particular community of chronic illness individuals. At times, I miss the relational aspects of the communities, I miss the feeling of being a part of something bigger, the feeling of not being alone…but for the most part I don’t miss it enough to immerse myself into any of these communities again.

It became overwhelming as I shared my story, my experiences with so many who could relate…it was sometimes overwhelming to witness the pain and suffering many of those individuals in these groups shared.

Now. I’ll mention various chronic illnesses or pains I endure, but I don’t want to be consumed by it anymore.

My illnesses impact every facet of my life daily…but my needs are different than they were years ago when I had to plug into the communities to maintain a semblance of sanity.

I’m forever grateful for the groups and the amazing people I’ve had a chance to interact with throughout the years of my intense involvement.

Push and Pull

I’m somewhere between out of steam and full of life.

Constantly being pulled in opposing directions; attempting to decide whether to lean in to this or that.

On one hand I am making significant progress, while at the same time experiencing major setbacks.

No one prepared me for the tug of war called life

I’m somewhere between out of steam and full of life.

Flares

Flares – how appropriate is this word for the unpredictable, destructive way endometriosis and similar chronic pain disorders interrupt your life.

Like a flare of fire even if you avoid looking at it, the heat still makes it known. With endometriosis I often refuse to pay attention to the outrageous pain…yet it continues.

(more…)

Not again…The reality of finding physicians

Since my childhood I’ve managed to have really good, attentive physicians…this was priceless since I had many mysterious and/or chronic ailments.

Even at birth, I required specialized medical care.

Well, I’m an adult now – my childhood and teenaged years , and twenties are things of the past now.

I’m in one of what will likely be many awkward transition phases of life. The place I’m at now is not my home and I’ll likely be somewhere else next year this time.

That brings me back to doctors! As I’ve expressed before I have endometriosis and several of its sister/cousin ailments…my body also possesses some unlikely ailments.

In the ideal world I would be managing these ailments under the care of a physician…but in my reality, I haven’t went to a physician in months

I spent a lot of time at doctors’ offices and in waiting rooms…so now I’m more hesitant about going and I’m more willing to suffer in silence.

Trust me I know this isn’t smart but I’m tired of doctors. I don’t want to build rapport with anyone, let alone another physician

Especially since this relationship will be short lived

The problem is that endometriosis and the various ailments are getting the best of me.

I don’t know how to start finding a good doctor…my last doctors just kind of feel into my lap and they were wonderful

Due to my latest relocation and insurance network – going to these physicians is impossible.

How do I motivate myself to find a doctor to treat the ailments I’ve been suffering unnecessarily with?

Is it even worth it to start another relationship with another doctor ?

Depression Was Once My Significant Other

In the not so distant past I had an on and off again relationship with Depression. Somewhere along the way I met Depression’s cousin Melancholy. I’ll introduce you to her later.

First, let me tell you about Depression, he was definitely a character. Depression presented himself as the perfect romantic mate for me. It depends on who you ask but we were great together…I hope that you are well aware that in the beginning of most relationships there are fireworks, sunshine, butterflies and smiles. My relationship with Depression was no different.

Depression was always there for me and he never questioned my lack of luster for life. He accepted me exactly the way I wanted to be accepted. It didn’t matter if I wanted to stay in everyday and away from others, he accepted me. He was never jealous when I chose food as a means of comfort, for a fact he encouraged me to bury my emotions in whatever method I chose…food, alcohol, stagnation, etc.

As much as Depression didn’t mind me entertaining food, alcohol, etc…he cared little for my friends and family. Yeah, my friends and family were not welcomed in my life because Depression could take care of me. Naively, I thought this meant that Depression loved me…he wanted me to himself, isn’t that romantic?

I remember the times that physicians would mention therapy or medication so that I could end my relationship with Depression. I’m sure you can guess how Depression felt every time some licensed individual would tell me that I needed to get rid of him. Let’s just say that he didn’t like it very much! 

Remember I felt loved by Depression and he never tried to change me, so I had a problem when these people wanted to take him from my life too. I’d grown accustomed to Depression being with me all the time and was unsure how I would be without him.

I mean when people saw me, they saw Depression too. He was my security blanket and he loved me.

However, once the doctors and therapists started suggesting that I rid myself of Depression I noticed that he had removed my loved ones from my life and made me codependent on him. 

How was I supposed to go back to my family and friends after I dismissed them to keep Depression happy? Depression told me that my loved ones didn’t want anything to do with me anymore and I needed him. He said that they would all laugh at me if I suddenly invited them back into my life. Additionally, he reminded me that he was the only one who stuck with me and I needed him to survive.

Being the halfway intelligent person that I am, I thought that maybe the clinicians had a point. I couldn’t figure out why they were so focused on my relationship with Depression but I refused to simply ignore their cautionary advice.

Depression was still ALWAYS with me so it was really hard to have a private thought about ending my relationship with him…he loved whispering sweet nothings in my ear every chance he could.

Sweet nothings? You know like telling me how beautiful I was not, reminding me that I had nothing to offer to anyone, oh he also told me my life was worthless and I was easily forgettable. Well those are some of the sweet nothings that the one who I knew loved me also known as Depression told me.

At one point I questioned Depression and asked if he really loved me just as I am. This angered him because it was the first time I showed any inkling of falling out of love with him. But as I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone who has been in an on and off again relationship; Depression begged me to give him another chance and reminded me of how we were a team…we belonged together

Sigh, this time I couldn’t take Depression back, although I missed many of the comforts I had with him. You know we had been together for years and although I didn’t want him anymore, I wanted something similar…

That’s when I met his cousin Melancholy. We were instant pals, she was my Best(est) friend, until she wasn’t.

One day I’ll tell you about my friendship with Melancholy…she is definitely related to Depression but not the same.