Endings

Aug. 19th, 2016 08:10 pm
benevolentspectre: (Default)
My last day of work is tomorrow.

I've made it somewhat of a habit to wax poetic about this job on every "last day" I have, but this time is strangely different. This time, I don't feel like it's a true ending.

I don't know what it was about leaving all of the other four times that made me feel as if it was over. At least 2 of those four I had a guarantee that I'd be going back in the future, yet it was still sadder than it is now. Now that it really is an ending.

I've been told I have a full invitation to come back during my vacations, but the reality is that they are overstaffed as it is. I know there isn't going to be a place for me, and besides, I'll probably want to use my breaks spending time with my parents. It'll be hard enough being away from them for months on end while I'm in school.

I can't stay with my parents while I'm working this job.

Why then doesn't it feel like an ending? Maybe it's merely because I'll be going to school. The ending is so close to a beginning that the beginning is drowning everything else out.

Maybe it's because it's been made so clear to me that even if I never work here again, all my coworkers (save one) want to get updates from me on how and what I'm doing. It's not an ending, because I hope not to cut off all communication with my leaving.

My relationship with this job is a strange one. The circumstances surrounding me getting it were so perfect, so life-changing, so lucky that I have to wonder where I'd even be in life if it had not happened.

I'd known from a young age that I wanted to be a vet. From that young age, I never wavered in that goal, never second-guessed. Well, at least until 2 years ago when I started shadowing more seriously. Shadowing at an emergency clinic nearly turned me off to the profession. It was so different from the experiences I'd had up until then, and those experiences consisted almost entirely of shadowing my own grandfather at a private practice. It made me wonder if my grandpa's practice of one-of-a-kind. What if he was just old-fashioned and I was entering a profession that was vastly outpacing where I hoped to be? What if I was entering a profession that would require me to care more about money than the welfare of the animals?

I almost didn't shadow at my current workplace. I didn't want to deal with living away from my parents, didn't want to deal with having to contact people I didn't even know and risk embarrassment. But I panicked. I panicked thinking there was no way I'd be able to get all the shadowing hours I needed without that particular opportunity, and so I called them.

Even the initial phone call had been terrifying. The receptionist doesn't take any shit, and I was almost afraid my phone call wouldn't get past her. But it did.

I shadowed at my current job two days after shadowing at the emergency clinic. I was down, concerned, wondering for the first time in my life if maybe I needed to start considering an alternate career path. But then I spent a week shadowing one of the kindest, most selfless men I have ever met, and all my worries were wiped away.

It came at a time where I was questioning and removed any doubts I had. If anything had been different--if the manager had been as hard to get along with as everyone claimed he was (literally everyone hated him, but I loved working with him. I miss him now that he has retired, honestly), if the vet hadn't been so easy-going, if the technician hadn't been laid back and excited to teach...I might still have had doubts.

I do still have doubts, but they're now more about my own abilities rather than about the profession. I wonder if I'm good enough to succeed rather than if it's something I even want to do in the first place.

Things are different there now. There's a different technician, one that--if he had been working during that week of shadowing--would've increased my doubts. The original manager is gone now, replaced by two women related, in various ways, to the vet. I miss him, but both of these women have helped me just as much as he did. That receptionist who used to be so terrifying is still around, but now so is another girl who is precisely my age. It's strange not being the "baby" of the clinic anymore, but I love working with her all the same. If she weren't there, I wouldn't even have been hired back this summer, though I won't get into why that is. It isn't important.

I've had a chance to work with the relief vet, who is nearly the polar opposite of that kind, selfless vet who is normally there. It brought on new challenges, but built my confidence in new ways as well.

Two years ago, I was whining to my parents about how I was too nervous to give this clinic a call, too nervous to have to live out-of-state for even the smallest amount of time, too nervous too nervous too nervous.

Two years ago I was panicking about never getting enough experience to be admitted to vet school.

Two years ago I put aside the nerves, put aside the panic, and took a chance.

It was probably the greatest and most important decision I ever made.
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I know, I know, two days in a row of depressing, slightly-scary nonsense, but once again, my head isn't right, and I have no one to talk to.

Read more... )
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...Even though I'm not a teenager. This will be a short post because I really need to get to bed, but I also really need to just type this out somewhere okay I'm sorry.

So long story short, I dated my best friend for two and a half years. It was my senior year of high school + a year and a half of college. We roomed together in college for my entire time there, even after we broke up.

It was a messy break-up after a messy relationship, but I honestly considered her my best friend even afterwards. I mean, we had to be close to still room together after breaking up, right?

We were both abusive toward each other though, ngl. She was both physically and emotionally abusive while I was emotionally abusive. Though it was a weird dynamic, since we would both admit to being abusive (though she'd only admit to the physical part, probably because you can't really deny something like that), and I actively worked to change myself. And for the most part, I did change. At least by the time that we had broken up, I still had horrible moments of jealousy and anger regarding certain things she did, but I handled that by brooding for maybe five minutes and then moving on with my life. I knew I was being wrong and ridiculous, and I forced myself to stop.

I can't just turn off my own feelings of jealousy and anger, but I can control how I react outwardly and I thought I did well with it. For the most part, she agreed that I had managed to change myself, but for reasons I don't even fully understand (read: probably her emotional abuse, honestly), she decided it wasn't enough and she couldn't handle even being in contact with me. She informed of this in a skype message the day after I had moved out of my house to start my summer job (in a city I very much hate with a coworker I very much hate. It was already a stressful time, and then she decides to essentially break up with me again? Only in a worse way, since at least I still had her friendship after the first break up), telling me vaguely why it was happening and saying that she'd be unfollowing/unfriending/deleting me on every social media site where we had contact, and presumably my phone number as well (though there's no way I could find out if that's true) and that I'd be blocked if I ever tried to contact her again.

As if not blocking me in the first place is a mercy? Not when it comes with the condition that I will immediately and unquestionably be blocked if I ever speak to her again. It's essentially the same fucking thing, sorry. You're not being the "bigger person" by not blocking me, you moron.

But I digress. All this happened about 2 months ago, and I honestly thought I'd gotten over it. At least, I'd gotten over it as much as I possibly could until I could truly move on (read: find new friends, which isn't really possible until I go to school). I still had moments where I'd remember some stupid inside joke or personal meme or just something we both liked and got upset realizing that I'd likely never have that with another person. Our lives were so intertwined with each other that it's almost hard for me at points to even believe that I have a purpose anymore.

I never considered myself to be depressed, but I genuinely wonder if I am. Basically, I need a therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist/I don't even know but she majorly fucked me up in the head beyond what I was before her, and it sucks.

Again, I digress. The entire point of this is that I thought I was getting over it. I still have weird moments of "is it worth living" and times when I almost start crying because I remember a ship we were obsessed with or something else I loved that I shared with her or something we used to do together that we'll never be able to do again. But I stopped thinking about her every day. I haven't signed into skype once since she "broke up" with me. I haven't tortured myself going on her facebook page (okay, I went on it once, but it was only to try to figure out who her new girlfriend is out of curiosity. I like internet creeping on people when I'm bored, okay?). I still follow the one tumblr of hers that I know about, but I don't contact it, even anonymously. It's just sort of...there. She doesn't really use it, so it's not like it taunts me or anything, but it's the only link I still have to her, and she was such a huge part of my life for so long that it's hard to give up that single thing.

The only other link I have to her is our common friends. Being best friends means that we shared pretty much all our other best friends, but the group had a weird dynamic in that my ex and two other girls were the "best" friends and the rest of us, at least until she started dating me, were in the periphery. I think I knew in the back of my mind that if anything like this ever happened I'd lose those two other friends, but somehow it didn't fully occur to me until I saw a facebook post from the one girl that I'm still in contact with today.

Apparently those three got together at the 3rd girl's hometown last weekend. That hometown just so happened to be the place where I'm staying over the summer while working. Granted, I haven't been in solid contact with that 3rd girl, but I still thought we were friends. The girl I am still in contact with logically should've known I was in town and could've mentioned this and asked if they wanted to include me.

I know the world doesn't revolve around me. My point isn't that I'm mad I wasn't invited. My point is that I kind of knew that losing that one friend means I lose the rest of my friends (and it doesn't help that I am the worst at keeping in contact with people other than my ex, so really, why should they stay my friends? It's not like they owe me anything), and this was just proof of that. A really painful reminder that I am alone. I have 2 friends right now. Two. Friends. One of which I will likely never see again for various reasons and the other...I probably won't see for a long time because she's moving out of the country next week.

I've never been good at making friends, so this might just be it. My life might just be ending before it even begins because this piece of shit ex-girlfriend decided to fuck up both my life and my brain in one move.

And one of the worst things about this is that I have no one to talk to about it. I have my parents, but they don't know I even dated this girl--I never explicitly told them I'm bi, and I don't really intend to. I don't think I'm ever going to date another girl, because she kind of ruined girls for me. I know that's a stupid way to think about it, but I genuinely have not been attracted to another girl since her, and I have been attracted to boys, so...Maybe I'm less bi than I thought, or maybe I'm just ruined for girls now. I'll probably never know.

But anyway, can't talk to my parents completely honestly because of that. And I don't want to talk to my two remaining friends about it. The one moving out of the country has been privy to the GF drama for longer than I'd care to admit, and I'm tired of using her as a therapist. She doesn't deserve that. It's not fair to her, and I'm sure she'll eventually notice that the times that I talk to her the most are the times when I'm angsting over something, so I need to stop doing it.

The other friend is the exact opposite. I am out of contact with him for very long periods of time, and whenever I am in contact, I am nothing but peppy and cheerful. I don't want to risk losing him by showing him a darker side of myself and it being too much for him to handle, especially since he does have depression and struggles with a lot of things himself.

So I'm stuck. I'm just counting down the days until I go off to school and praying that I've improved at making friends in the past few months. And thanking god that I work with the people that I do, because minus that one coworker I don't get along with, the people I work with are lifesavers. I don't know what I would've done this summer if I weren't here with them.

(apologies for typos. Usually I read through my posts before actually posting them, but it's late and I need to go to bed so this one is going up unedited. Not that anyone reads these anyway, but you know. Just in case.)

Revelations

Aug. 3rd, 2016 09:27 am
benevolentspectre: (Default)
My baby cousin has been staying with his parents in my grandparents' house this week (which is also where I am staying) and seeing how my grandparents interact with him in person is helping me understand quite a lot about why I am how I am.

You see, I have two living sets of grandparents that I have grown up knowing and seeing at least once a year. I'm also the oldest cousin on both sides of the family, so not only was I lucky enough to spend time with these grandparents, I also have been able to see how they treat babies/toddlers as my little cousins joined the family.

I've always been closer to my maternal grandparents. I go out of my way to visit them, talk to them on the phone without too much complaint (I really hate talking on the phone, so there's always a bit of resistance regardless), and genuinely enjoy spending time with them. My other grandparents though I have never been close to, regardless of how much they try to force me to be.

For example: My maternal grandparents have always lived on the east coast. My family, along with my paternal grandparents, all live in the midwest. My family home is only 2 hours away from my paternal grandparents' (PG) house, while it was a 1.5 hour plane ride to visit my maternal grandparents (MG). Because of this, when I was younger and had no choice, my parents always forced me to spend at least a few days every summer at my PG's house.

Every summer I was miserable. I hated it there. I spent the entire visit waiting to go home, even when I was so young that I barely even knew what was happening. I think it was finally around age 8 that, compounded with a move to a place further away from them, I was allowed to stop the visits. Even when we moved back to our original, 2-hour-away home, I wasn't made to start them up again.

On the other hand, by my own accord, I visited my MG every summer. It started out with two week visits and evolved, over the 8 years that I did it, into 2.5 month visits--almost the entire summer. Part of this want to be there has be attributed to the fact that my grandpa was a veterinarian and brought me to work with him every day. I can't fairly leave that out. But the thing is, a lot of my later years, I got tired of going to work every day and chose to stay home. The times when I was home because there was no work to go to (days off, nights, etc), I enjoyed my time. My grandparents wanted to spend time with me of course, but it wasn't forced, it wasn't in a condescending way, and it was, to a point, on my own terms.

What I remember of being with my PG though is that we always did what they wanted to. I never had a choice. My grandma was super into crafts, so she'd always have a craft for us to do. I did not like crafts. I still don't, really. I don't have the patience for them. And even as a child, I was a loner. I had friends at school and I even spent time with a few of them outside of school (the few that lived in my neighborhood, anyway), but I enjoyed having time to myself. With my grandparents, it was either "do what we want to or entertain yourself." And as is typical in a house with parents like that and a bunch of boys (my grandparents had three sons), there isn't much for a young child to do. Sure, there were video games, but I wasn't allowed to play them. I was basically put in front of the tv every time I refused to do yet another craft. They weren't the greatest memories.

Seeing them spend time with my baby cousin only compacts these memories. Obviously I can't remember how they treated me specifically when I was that young, but again, I can compare how each set of grandparents treat my younger cousins. It's not as if older people change that much over the years, so I think it's fair to compare them in this way.

In my few days here alongside my cousin, my grandparents have yelled (yes, yelled, not just scolded) him for doing things he didn't know were wrong to do, treated him like an animal (my grandpa tends to use the same tone he uses for his dog to tell the baby not to do things, or to tell him to "come."), and been insistent on what he should be doing and helping him do it. Of course everything just rolls right off him. He's two. But it irks me.

My MG, when I had a baby cousin on that side, just treated him like a little person. They helped him when he needed it, scolded him when he needed it, and respected him.

I understand that young kids need to be taught to respect their elders. Obviously they can't be allowed to make their own rules or do whatever they want or refuse to do something they're told. But young kids still are people. They still deserve respect. My baby cousin isn't going to remember being treated like this, since he's too young to be making memories at this point. But the problem is that they don't stop treating people like this once they're old enough to have true autonomy.

I'm 22 years old. I was told just the other day to go to my room by my grandpa because I told him not to yell at my cousin when he didn't even know he was doing something wrong. Yelling at him is pointless, because he's an obedient kid. He's come up and touched my phone and I've told him not to do that and he's walked away and found something else. I stupidly left my laptop on the floor when he was running around and realized the problem just as he was approaching it and all I said was, "No, don't touch that" and he just backed off and went to find something else to do. You don't have to yell at him to get him to stop doing something. He's obedient! Just tell him not to do it in a normal tone of voice!!

But no, grandpa knows best because he has raised kids before. Sure, you did a great job doing that, and alienated one of your grandkids with your infinite knowledge on childrearing.

I feel like I had a point to this when I started this entry, but I have lost it along the way. So I'll just leave it at this. Whatever. I'm sure they don't care that every moment in this house is torture for me and that the only reason they've managed to trap me here is because my job is only 20 minutes away. I may sound like an ingrate, and I probably am, but. I still think that everyone, even young people, deserve basic respect. Sorry if that's "controversial."

Predictable

Aug. 2nd, 2016 09:10 pm
benevolentspectre: (Default)
There's this person I really don't like. I'm not going to give anymore specific info on him other than that he is a man and I don't like him. He also doesn't like me, but for certain reasons we are forced to interact and cooperate with each other on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we are both very immature, so it doesn't end well a lot of the time.

Today I was nearby while he was talking with this girl who I also must interact and cooperate with on a regular basis (but who I like infinitely more than the man and who, I hope, likes me as well), and while I was only slightly eavesdropping (and not purposefully, honestly. I will outright admit that I eavesdrop all the time, but this circumstance was just because they were talking in the hallway outside the room I was in), I realized they were discussing the sitcom Friends.

Now, I am not a fan of Friends. My sister used to watch it because it was on Netflix, and she wanted background noise while doing her artwork, and I watched it purely because I liked being in the room where the tv was. It was forced on me, damn it!

But I digress. The main reason that I won't watch Friends of my own accord is because of the character Ross. I have no problem with anyone else, but Ross is such a douche that he ruins the show. And I got this from watching no more than ten random episodes. I really doubt that my sister just so happened to be watching the only ten episodes where Ross is an insufferable douche out of the dozens of Friends episodes that exist. So, I mean, I have to believe he's just always an insufferable douche.

I hate Ross so much that I outright refuse to watch the show at all because I don't want to be exposed to his idiocy and the fact that he somehow still has friends and a girlfriend despite being every woman's worst nightmare. Everyone I've talked to who actually enjoys the show also agrees that Ross is disgusting and awful.

ANYWAY. These two people were talking about Friends and the question came up of who the man's favorite character was. YOU HAVE ONE GUESS ON WHAT HIS ANSWER WAS.

Ross. Of course. So, you know, anyone who is in any way familiar with Friends is probably immediately aware of what kind of person this guy is now and understands completely why we do not get along.

(Sidenote: He also revealed his least favorite character to be Monica. While I haven't actually watched the show enough to get a feel for Monica's character, from discussions we've had about this show in a college Psych class I took last year (don't ask), I am pretty sure of all the characters on that show, I am most similar to Monica. I am also a high strung, anxious, controlling perfectionist. So I know why I don't like him, and it is now also evident why the opposite is true as well.)
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Hypochondria, especially when paired with an anxiety disorder, is a hell of an illness to have. I've been lucky in that my own case has mellowed out as I've aged, but there are still times when a pain in my lower back has me convinced my kidney is failing, a headache means a brain tumor for sure, any sort of pain in my liver or diaphragm is obviously indicative of my stomach being about to explode.

It's torture. Pure, utter torture. My anxiety amplifies my fear of Devastating Illness in the fact that my thoughts race and I cannot focus on anything else. I'm sure one day I'm going to end up dying of a perfectly preventable illness because I am so aware of my hypochondria that it's to the point that I don't even really believe in any symptoms. I'm freaking crazy, so anything that may be serious obviously is not.

But then my brain also does the opposite simultaneously, working to convince me that even the most mundane of symptoms are deadly.

So what am I supposed to believe? There's no way to be sure unless I went to the doctor for absolutely everything, but not only do I not have the money for that, my social anxiety prevents it from happening since I don't want my doctor knowing how much of a freak I am. My entire mind is a paradox.

One of the worst things about it too is how ignored it is. General consensus from non-hypochondriacs seems to be that hypochondriacs are dramatic and annoying. How about you spend a day being as worried as a hypochondriac about every little twitch, every spark of pain, every minor discomfort, and see how sane you are by the end of it?

My high school had a mandatory health class for all freshman. One of our units was, of course, about mental health. My teacher was very serious about the "typical" illnesses. She spoke in hushed tones about depression, not holding back when it came to discussions of suicide and about how devastating and tragic the disease is. We talked about how anxiety and PTSD are awful in holding back the people affected by them.

We went through every common mental illness. Honestly, I'd give more examples, but that was, what, six years ago now? I don't remember and I'm not going to make something up to prove a point. Just know that every illness was covered with respect.

Except one.

I'm sure you know where I'm going with this.

My teacher treated every mental illness with respect, as I said. She also treated the people affected by these illnesses respectfully, making it clear that the illness itself was to be blamed rather than the people suffering from them. The discussions during that unit were heavy and personal; a lot of people admitted to either having some of the illnesses themselves, or knowing someone who had them. I didn't, at that point in my life, know that I had an anxiety disorder, but I'd known I was a hypochondriac since fifth grade.

I didn't speak in class a lot, but the atmosphere during that discussion seemed safe. People were sharing personal things, admitting to having depression and anxiety. I knew hypochondria would be mentioned, and I was gearing up to admitting to having that myself.

That is, until my teacher finally reached that topic.

"So, does anyone know what hypochondria is?"

"Isn't that the disease where someone complains about feeling sick or hurt all the time?"

"Yes. Aren't they annoying?"

...Followed, of course, by a five minute discussion about how hypochondriacs are nothing but dramatic and annoying, spear-headed by my teacher.

I wanted so badly to speak up. I wanted to share my side, share the absolute terror I felt every time there was a pang in my chest, every time my head started aching, every time I got a freaking leg cramp (because obviously a leg cramp means that I have a blood clot. Obviously). Share how I tried to keep my worry to myself most of the time, but sometimes, the circling thoughts got to be too much and I needed to tell someone if only to have them reassure me that the odds of me dying from whatever pain I was suffering from that day were high.

So, you brilliant health teacher, six years too late I am apologizing to you for being so annoying.

I'm sorry that you have to feel a little irritated hearing me make mention of my swollen ankle for the third time today. It's only because I've been near-hyperventilating for the past half hour over the thought that all this pooling blood is surely going to lead to a blood clot which will then make its way to my heart and kill me.

I'm sorry every time you mention feeling a little under the weather, I end up feeling sick, too. I don't even know if this is a part of my hypochondria, but all you have to do is say your head hurts for me to start getting phantom pain in my own head.

I could never be a human doctor because just studying human anatomy makes everything about me hurt. I almost had to leave my anat&phys class in the 12th grade because learning about the lymphatic system was making my entire body feel electric, and not in a good way.

Hypochondria sucks. I know a lot of people try to romanticize mental illnesses, but I have yet to see anything about hypochondria, and I can tell you why. There is absolutely nothing to romanticize. The people who have it are constantly terrified and the people who don't are apparently annoyed by us.

(for the record, I never intended this journal to be a platform for me to speak about my mental illness. I just want to write something at least once a day, and this is what came to mind for today. Don't expect me to constantly write Odes to Anxiety, or some shit. I'm not into it. My mental illnesses are a part of me, but they're not who I am.)
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I graduated from college last December with a BS in Chemistry with a Biology minor. Unfortunately, because of various advising issues, I started my minor a year late and thus came upon multiple scheduling issues in my later years stemming from there only being one class offered of certain Chemistry courses. One of said courses was Physical Chemistry.

PChem was only offered in the fall. There was only one section. In order to graduate on time, I also needed to take Genetics that semester, which had both a lecture and lab period. Unfortunately, every single Genetics option interrupted one of my other unchangeable classes. The least disruptive option was a lecture+lab section where the lecture didn't overlap with anything, but the last 20 minutes of the lab overlapped with the first 20 minutes of PChem.

I needed both of these classes, and I needed them that semester.

In my past experiences, labs rarely went the full time period anyway, but I couldn't just sign up for the classes and hope for the best. I needed permission from both teachers and signed sheets proving that I had spoken to them both and gotten approval to take the overlapping classes. I still hoped that the lab would just never go long enough that I'd miss those 20 minutes, and for the first month and a half of the semester, I was golden. There were a few close calls as far as being on time for PChem, but I didn't once walk in after my teacher had already begun talking.

My teacher was kind of a goofball. He was great, he was a genius, but he was funny in the way that mad scientists tend to be. Example: We watched the trailer for Trolls 2 in class once just because a student randomly yelled out that she wanted to watch it. We regularly interrupted our studies to watch that Techno Waffle vine (the one where some guy throws waffles out a car window to techno music). We spent about ten minutes once trying to prove whether or not one of the scientists we mentioned in class was a good father because of an offhand comment by our teacher about this scientist's lack of love for his children.

I loved him dearly, and he wrote me a killer recommendation letter to vet school. But.

The day finally came that the Genetics lab went for the full time period. I got out after 20 minutes had gone by in PChem. I was already nervous about walking into a class late, because I don't like the feeling of everyone looking at me. Honestly, I considered just ditching, but PChem is difficult to understand when I did go to class, so I didn't want to miss any more than the 20 minutes I was forced to. Plus, I had gotten permission to be late if I had to. Granted, I don't think my teacher remembered that at that point, since I had gotten the permission before the previous summer.

Anyway, by sheer chance, the PChem classroom was right across the hall from the Genetics lab. I burst out of the lab door like the room was on fire and went right into the PChem class.

In hindsight, I really should've wondered why the usually-closed door was propped open by two inches.

I sped into the room and the first thing I remember was a hollow "thump," a dull pain directly on the top of my head, and a "bang" on the table beside me before a wave of laughter went through the classroom. I looked to my side to see the recycling bin, blessedly empty, laying on the table.

It hadn't occurred to me yet what exactly had happened. The shock of everyone laughing hadn't quite gotten through me, or else I probably would've burst into tears. I remember my teacher being very apologetic and explaining that the prank had been meant for Gary. I remember wondering who the hell Gary was, since he definitely wasn't a kid in the class. I remember laughing it off and hurrying to my seat, taking out my notebook and pencil as quietly as I could.

I remember the embarrassment hitting me a few seconds later.

I remember keeping my head dipped low so my hair would cover my face for the rest of the lesson.

I remember wanting nothing more than to keep my teacher from noticing that I spent the entire hour left of the lesson crying into my books.

I know I'm making it sound as if I was traumatized. I really wasn't. After the fact, it was hilarious. It's one of my favorite stories to tell now, honestly. I mean, how many people can say that they had a recycling bin dropped on their head in the middle of a college class because of a juvenile prank orchestrated by their own teacher?

I'm glad it happened. It helped me be a bit less nervous about walking in late to things. I still don't like to, but now it's more because I think it's rude than because I don't want people looking at me. After all, what could possibly be worse than having a garbage can fall on you in front of a room full of your peers? Not much. Having already dealt with and survived the worst possibility, there's not much to fear anymore.

Besides, everyone knows I thrive off telling a good story, and man, is this a good story.

Do Not

Jul. 22nd, 2016 06:58 pm
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My grandfather likes touching me. No, not in the way you're thinking. He'll grab my foot when I'm sitting on my bed. He'll poke my arm when I'm eating in the kitchen. And, apparently, he'll tickle my neck when I'm at a crowded art exhibition.

First of all, I hate being touched. There is a very short list of people who I don't mind being touched by, and an even shorter list of people from whom I will actively seek touch. The majority of my family doesn't make the cut of either list. My own father doesn't make the cut of either list. Of course, I have to tolerate things like hugs from my family because otherwise I am a Monster, but most everyone knows by this point that touching makes me uncomfortable.

I have had many adult talks with my grandpa about not touching me. He always brushes me off with a:

"But I'm your grandfather."

So I went to my grandma. She brushed me off with a scoff and a:

"But he's your grandfather."

So I went to my parents as a last ditch effort, and I continue to go to my parents. I continue to beg, plead that someone, somewhere just get this man to stop touching me, but wouldn't you know it? They brush me off every time with a:

"But he's your grandfather."

You know what? I'd like to think that him being my grandfather should've solved this problem the first time I spoke to him about it. After all, a grandfather should care more about the comfort and feeling of personal safety of his granddaughter than his own entertainment, right? And the touching really is for his own entertainment. He thinks it's hilarious to see me jump, hilarious when I slap at him and whine at him to get away, hilarious when I spend the rest of the day flinching whenever he gets near me out of fear that I'll be touched again. It's a joke to him. No matter that, again, I have explained to him very politely and seriously that it makes me insanely uncomfortable. I don't care how "innocent" the touches are; I don't like it. It's my body. That should theoretically be more than enough to stop the touches.

It clearly isn't.

My little sister has been at art camp for the past month. As today was the last day, all of the students chose a few pieces to put on display at an exhibition. I went with my parents, sister, grandpa, and a few (irrelevant) cousins.

I hate crowds. They make me anxious and paranoid and the worry that I'm going to be touched by a stranger at any moment does not help. While this may not seem relevant, I also hate bugs/spiders touching me. It's necessary to make that known.

I was surprisingly okay at first, despite people crushing in toward me on all sides. The place the show was being held was open enough (for the most part) that I didn't feel trapped or claustrophobic, so long as I stayed close to my mom.

(This may sound horrendously pathetic for a 22-year old, but anxiety is a bitch, okay?)

That is, until my grandpa decided it'd be a wonderful joke to come up behind me and tickle the back of my neck.

Not only did this mimic the feeling of a bug on me (throwing my fear response into overdrive), but as soon as I realized what had actually happened, my brain caught up to the fact that hey, I was surrounded by hundreds of people in an enclosed space and anyone could touch me at any time, either accidentally or on purpose. I was completely at the mercy of the crowds.

I didn't want to have my back to anyone, but that's kind of difficult in an art exhibit. After all, it'd look a little strange having my back to the artwork. I tried to shrink in on myself, hunching down and keeping my arms wrapped around my middle, but it was too late. This "innocent, playful, joking" touch threw me into the third panic attack of my life, and god was it embarrassing.

I had already made a fool of myself during the actual event, as I had yelled quite loudly, "Don't do that!" at my grandpa when I first realized what happened. But now here I was, arms tight around my stomach, fingers of one hand pressing bruises into my clavicle as an attempt to distract myself from the shadow of panic, breath short and panted, tears gathering in my eyes, threatening to spill at any moment.

My mom eventually noticed and, in typical fashion, had absolutely no patience for it. She thought I was doing it on purpose to get attention on my sister's special day. No, actually, I was horrified and my own horror at my actions was only making things worse. I knew people were staring, wondering, judging. But that knowledge only made my breathing more labored, forced the tears to drip from my eyes.

My mom dragged me out of the exhibit and to a chair near the front. There were still too many people. They were all watching me and now that I was in a quiet area, they were all listening too, as my mom ripped me apart, threatened to leave me alone. I could barely talk at first, but the fresh(er) air of the open area eventually calmed me down, thankfully before she could make good on her threat and actually leave.

But not before she gave me my favorite excuse once again:

"He's your grandfather."
benevolentspectre: (Default)
I've had my current job for just over a month now, and although no one will admit we have an infestation, we have an infestation. It started out with spiders. Then it shifted to beetles for about a day. We're back to spiders.

I like the beetles, honestly. They're cute, tiny, harmless (other than when I mistake one for a spider and scream before realizing it's just a friendly beetle), and the very opposite of terrifying. I love them all and either leave them alone or put them outside if they're somewhere particularly inconvenient.

The spiders on the other hand...

I don't like most bugs on a good day. Beetles are pretty much the sole exception to this (and butterflies, I guess. And usually moths). Spiders are so much worse than bugs.

I want to make clear that I don't have arachnophobia. I'm not scared of the spiders themselves, really. What I am scared of is the possibility that the spider may touch me. So if I see one in my home, I have to get rid of it because it might crawl on me when I'm not expecting it, or I might place my hand on it or step on it by mistake and so it must go. Unfortunately, I also can't kill them because of the "I can't let it touch me" problem, and so my go-to solution is vacuuming them.

We don't have a vacuum at work, and even if we did, I doubt my boss would appreciate me yanking it out at every hour of the day, regardless of if we have any clients, to dispose of a spider.

I feel it's necessary to make known too that these are the gross spiders. They are dark brown and large. The smallest one I've seen is about the size of the pad of my pointer finger, and again, that was the smallest. They have those nasty thick legs that make it so obvious exactly how they're moving as they skitter along. The only benefit to this particular type of spider is that they don't move quickly unless they're scared, so they're not hard to kill if caught unaware.

Three times now I have been humiliated and ashamed by these spiders. Three times I have embarrassed myself in front of my boss and/or coworkers through my fear that the spider was going to touch me.

The first time was pretty tame. It was near the beginning of the infestation, so I was on edge and always expecting one of the little beasts to be nearby. I was working on a computer, my back to the hallway, when my boss came up and mentioned a spider behind me. In a completely valid (read: ridiculous) reaction, I threw my hands up and gasped audibly before turning around and plastering myself to the cabinet behind me.

My boss killed the spider.

The second time was objectively the worst. I was standing in front of that same computer, though this time my back was to it as my boss and coworker were talking in the hallway. No more than a foot from my face, I see a black blob fall from the ceiling. And that thing fell. It wasn't just descending on a web like normal spider. No, this idiot lost his footing and plummeted to what should've been his death had he been a more reasonable creature rather than hellspawn.

Once again, I gasped audibly, though this time the gasp was accompanied by a yelled, "Oh my god!" and then, as the beast was crawling directly toward me, I ran. I was aiming for the door into the office, but in my panic, I missed and crashed straight into the wall.

My boss killed the spider.

The third time happened today. I was alone in the hallway when I spotted yet another demon crawling toward me without a care in the world. Everyone else was either busy or MIA, but I needed this thing gone, like, yesterday. Unfortunately, I am unable to kill them myself because of the whole "don't touch me" thing, so my next best option was to drop a paper cup over it until one of my coworkers had a free moment to kill it for me.

I got my paper cup. I got real up close and personal with the thing. But I didn't want to get too close even with my cup shielding my hand, because what if I missed and the thing crawled onto the cup and then onto my hand and then oh man my reaction would of course be flinging my hand everywhere and then the spider could end up anywhere including on my face and that just wouldn't do.

So I dropped the cup from a few inches above the spider. It bounced. Now not only was the spider still crawling toward me, but it was crawling with a vengeance. It was scared and angry and clearly going to kill someone and I was its first target.

So I screamed. Of course. No matter that there were clients all over the place and people on the phone etc etc there was a spider running toward me, I sure as hell was going to scream about it.

Oddly enough, no one even reacted. I finally had no choice but to interrupt one of my coworkers, despite her working with a client, and ask her to kill the spider. The majority of my coworkers know about my fear and are very nice about it (bar one who isn't nice about anything), so she dropped what she was doing and immediately killed the spider.

I've been wondering for awhile now if anyone's ever going to call an exterminator. I don't think anyone wants to admit that this is an actual infestation, but it really is. They're everywhere.

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Cammie

September 2016

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