Getting through my Quarter Life Crisis

timeYou are not on a clock.  You do not have to achieve things by a certain time date or age.

Listening to a talk show on the radio, people were laughing at the idea of a quarter life crisis.  How silly it is.  How funny that at 25 years old you have things to worry about when you should be out enjoying life and partying.

But let’s be real.  Maybe not for these radio talk show hosts that are in their 40s, but for some, a quarter life crisis is a real thing.  There is so much pressure to do well and succeed.  I remember sitting around with my friends in high school, mapping out our futures.  Married by 24.  Kids by 26.  Full salary career by 30.  And you better be running that shit.  Whatever company you work for,  you better be the top of the crew, promoted like nobody’s business.  You will have a white house with blue shutters and a white picket fence.  You are gonna have your BFFs and you will constantly hang out and have kids around the same time so they can grow up together.

And then 25 hits and you’re like…shit.  I am still a part time manager or whatever.  Low guy on the totem pole in my career.  I have 5 years to get my shit together.  And I was supposed to be married a year ago.  I can’t even hold a relationship, let alone kids.  When was the last time I heard from my BFFs from high school other than social media?  Couldn’t tell ya.  But I do know that two of the three are married.  One has kids.  And one has their own business.  Why am I failing at liffffeeee?!

I’m here to tell you, where ever you are, what ever you are doing, you are fine.  I’ve lived through that.  I completely panicked for two years.  As my 27th birthday is approaching, I realized how much calmer I am that it is here.

I realized that I show up on my own time.  Every person is different.  Every person has their own timeline.  And I know you hate hearing that when you have a literal timeline on social media showing when everyone else had achieved these things.  You are an individual.  Maybe you haven’t met your lifelong partner yet.  So what?  Maybe you are still serving fries at McDonalds.  Who cares?  You need to make a list of what you are doing right now.  It may not seem like much but as long as you aren’t stagnant, it is.  Maybe you work at McDonald’s because it is the only place that works around your school schedule and you are rocking a 3.5 GPA.  Maybe you changed your mind and are going back to school.  Maybe you have your own photography or coding business but it hasn’t quite taken off yet.  Maybe you feel like you are lacking because analytics seem to send people skyrocketing into salary jobs, but you are creative.  That’s all great.

I used to cringe or laugh at myself when I was asked what I did for a living.  Giggling I would tell them I was a part time retail manager.  It was always a joke and really quite embarrassing for me, and I wasn’t sure why.  I figured because my “title” wasn’t big enough or good enough to be proud of.  But I should have been!  I did a hell of a lot of work.  Be proud of what you do.  Don’t laugh it off.  If you aren’t proud, move on!

When you compare yourself to others, you feel less.  At 25, my son and I, were still living with my mom.  I was still paying on my car.  I worked 2 jobs and a third I did on the side.  I was an alterations manager part time, and a part time assistant manager.  I was dating someone but it only last three months.  I, like many, was screaming “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? WHY CAN’T I GET MY LIFE TOGETHER?” And then I realized, in this economy, as a single mom, my life is together.

Here’s what I did to feel better about my life.  I took a serious look at my life.  I realized I was so stressed an anxious over jobs that didn’t pay me enough to even rent an apartment.  I was stressed with the crazy scheduling that retail gave me.  I stayed because I knew I was liked and good at my job.  So I knew when a full time position became open, it would be offered to me.  And it was.  But soon after I found out I was having brain surgery and would be off for three months, meaning someone else would get it.  I was so mad about how unfair my life was at the time.  It took me those three months being off to realize, wait a minute, I am so happy right now.  Why am I so happy?  Because I’m not working.  And that’s all it took.  In the last 6 months I have changed my life around drastically.

Because I mapped out what would work well for me now, I was able to go after it.  I knew I wanted a fixed schedule.  I wanted to be able to creatively express myself without “rules” about my appearance (I mean really, clothing, nail polish, and hair color restrictions?  So over it.)  I hoped my job would be closer so I didn’t spend so much time driving.

I also figured out that right now, I don’t want a relationship.  I really want to spend more time with friends.   And I have.  I have put myself in situations that I normally would not.  Like going to a friend’s party where I wouldn’t know anyone.  Or driving to meet up with a friend from college.  Getting coffee with a couple friend’s from high school.  The idea of those would send my anxiety skyrocketing.  Now it’s becoming normal for me.

Another reason I decided I did not want to date is because I do want to take myself more seriously.  Because if I’m not who will, right?  Taking blogging seriously.  Looking into starting my own business.  Both of these take a lot of time.  Once you get in the habit of doing them, it’s easy, but forcing yourself to do it, that is a different story.  And I’ve been doing a pretty decent job.

I knew that I wanted to spend more time with my son, giving my mom more time to herself because she is my babysitter.  Knowing that is what I was looking for, I got the job that gave me these freedoms.  I spend much more time with my son and I’m not tired from working 12 hour days running from one job to another.

It is because of these changes I don’t dread turning 27.  Even though it’s only three years from 30!  Yikes!  It’s okay.  I feel good about where I am.  I still have some things I am working on, like getting my own place.  But I am getting there.  I am proud of myself going into year 27.  I just had to make the moves to get me where I wanted to be.  Now it’s your turn.  Make necessary, scary changes to get to where you want to be.

Missing the Point of “13 Reasons Why”

So I’ve been reading everyone’s comments and posts on Facebook.  And people are completely ignoring a big point in the series 13 Reasons Why.  This is your fair warning: spoiler alert!

I understand that Hannah killing herself can be triggering.  I get that, I really do.  If suicide is triggering to you, please do not watch this.  But if not, you need to watch.  And get the point.

But people keep talking about the “bullying” and how the show sends such a good message about it.   And how eye opening it is.  And I’m just like, was….was that all you got from it?  I’m not sure if people are too polite to talk about it or what.  But a big huge freaking deal that the whole damn movie centers around is not being talked about.  So I will.

Hannah Baker was raped.  After being raped she wanted to end her life.  Sure, there are some other things that contributed to this, but this is what put her over the edge.  She was still dealing with all the other factors and obstacles that came up.  She was fighting through them.  But the rape is a different story.

I see a lot of people hinting at it but no one is directly talking about it.  Women have raved about the show.  And I think that is because even if they aren’t a victim of sexual abuse, they have had derogatory remarks made to them that just make them feel gross and want to crawl out of their skin.  Every single one of them has a friend or family member that has gone through it whether they know so or not.  So they can appreciate what the show is about.

You see the life go out of her.  A part of her died and you can see it happen.  And that’s what I think is the most important part of this story.  The part that I haven’t seen anyone really talk talk about up front.

You so often hear about fraternities and likewise being charged for rape.  The fact that people can even commit an act like this, laughing it off with friends is truly disgusting.  Just this week I have heard about football players being suspended for it.  It is an epidemic.  Yes, I am going to call it that.  An epidemic.  One which people are rarely given a sentence they deserve.

Look at Brock Turner.  That slime ball was caught by two other males and held down until cops came.  And he got off.  They always get off.  And then his sweet old dad pens a letter saying that prison would be “a steep price to pay for his 20 minutes of action.” No regard whatsoever for the woman involved.  None at all.  There was outcry, outrage.  What changed?  Nothing.  We just continue down the rabbit hole, getting a president that “grabs ’em by their pussy.”

This is the sad reality.  This is the state of America.  Powerful people in powerful places consider women their toys, their objects to use at will.  This isn’t a Sims game.  We have free will.  We can tell you no and you will need to deal with it.

I think that if more boys saw this show, if you catch them at a younger age and show them what a truly despicable act this is, they may think twice as they grow older.  I have many male friends that are as disgusted by cases like Brock Turner as I am.  But there are far more in higher places that honestly don’t give a shit.  Those people hold offices, are judges, the president.  Maybe if we caught them young, the excuses would stop.  Maybe the questioning of clothing, morals, or alcohol of the survivor would fucking stop.  Look at Jessica in 13 Reasons Why.  She had no idea what happened to her.  Look how it still destroyed her when she found out.  You can see the downhill spiral of them both.

Hannah reaches out to her counselor Mr. Porter and tries to talk to him about it.  Knowing he did something wrong he hid talking to her at all the entire time.   He questioned her the way many women are in regards to drugs and alcohol telling her to “let it go.” If you watch the tidbit after the show where the actors and directors talk about making the movie, one of them says “it’s okay to admit that Hannah kind of set up Mr. Porter.”  Apparently in regards to his comments.  I was appalled at that comment.  She didn’t set him up.  He didn’t listen, he didn’t want to hear, period.  This guy missed some of the point of this and he took part in creating the damn show.  Listening without blaming is so incredibly important.  Especially as a counselor.  This was his job.  You have be trained to be a counselor at the school.  He knew how he should have reacted to the news.  He knew what he should have done and that he should have reported it.  He did nothing.  But he was not set up.

Things snowballed from there.  Other things contributed to Hannah’s suicide but it was the rape that set it in motion.  Rape affects your life forever.  FOREVER.  You can work on things and have times where you don’t think about it at all.  But it subconsciously affects you as well.  If Hannah were to live, she may have problems with intimate relationships, sex, being alone, checking behind her shoulder, and in constant fight or flight mode.  She might cry out of no where.  Certain items, smells, colors, time of day, places may take her back to that horrible day.  She may have problems trusting people.  Should she have children or a siblings, she may be extremely over protective.  But she didn’t.  Hannah killed herself.

She did not kill herself because of bullying.  Though bullying is a big message in this show as well, it is not THE message.  She killed herself because she was raped.  Because someone had sex with her, without her permission, while she was crying.  She killed herself because people didn’t listen.  Because she just wanted that awful feeling in her stomach to end.  Because she wanted the pain to stop.  Because she was told to let it go.  So she did, in the only way she knew how.

I am not by any means promoting suicide.  But that is the decision that many people, men, women, and everyone in between, land on after a rape.  It is horrible and not the answer.  But this is why it is so important for people to respond correctly if someone admits a rape to you.  To stand by them, love them, uplift them.  They are going to feel terrible.  Be there for them.

And men take note.  This epidemic can stop with you.  Educate each other about it.  There are constant reminders of the torment women are put through all throughout this series. Stop it if you witness it.  Your pride and popularity is not worth more than someone’s dignity.

Did you see it?  The part where she dies inside?  Where the life goes out of her and her eyes go dull.  That’s the most important part of this show.  That is exactly what it feels like.  Remember that.

Signed,

A Survivor