Posted in Being Vulnerable

What am I grateful for?

I would say, definitely my new job. Honestly, it feels good to be able to breathe again. To be even more honest, I cried when I found out. Steph, my recruiter at appreciating talent, called me and told me the news. I was stunned. I didn’t think they wanted me. She told me they wanted someone else when I first interviewed with them so I wasn’t expecting them to change their mind. And so I started crying. Not on the phone of course! That would be a bit too boundary pushing for me. But after I hung up, I truly started sobbing. I’ve been carrying this stress on me for 3 months now, but maybe 2 months because the first month I was processing it so I wasn’t really stressed then. I was more numb. More in limbo. Losing something tends to have that effect on me.

I actually have a very tricky past of not handling loss well.

Loss of my grandma dying in church, my puppy being rehomed, and now losing my job to a pandemic.

So when I lost my job I did the best I could with the information.

But I still lashed out.

And how I lashed out was I called the cops on my dad and destroyed any kind of connection my family was trying to preserve.

 But that’s better than getting almost blacked out drunk and having a threesome with strangers, right?

Because that’s what I did when I “lost” my dog.

And before that, I soberly fucked strangers on tinder for almost a year when I found out God killed my grandma.

Like I said, it’s a tricky past.

So the cop calling. Well my dad is abusive, right. You know this if you have read my past work. And my mom is still married to him so shit gets complicated because all I want to do is save her, but she thinks God will punish her if she leaves. So what the rest of the family has done is ignore it. And dude I ignored it too. For over a decade, I’ve told her divorce him, but she doesn’t listen. So what else can you do? Well one day, after I lost my job, she told me on the phone he called her a Bitch and a horrible mother and she told me she was playing around with the idea of suicide.

So I got scared.

But I had never defended her before so I didn’t know what to do. And what do I do from all the way over here when they are in California?

So I called the cops in their neighbourhood and asked for their advice. I told them the history and the woman cop said, “It’s tricky. You can’t forcibly remove her. She has to want to leave on her own.” So she gave me a number of a safe house in California that protects women.

I called this number. The woman on the phone told me the same thing. She said, “I can go over there and talk to her if she is open to it, but unfortunately if he isn’t beating her, it is really hard to do anything.”

So I decided to email my family and ask them for help. They called me and asked if I believed she was unsafe. I said, “yes” because experience told me she was. They called her. She then downplayed it. She pretended it was fine. Everything is fine.

My dad found out.

Things escalated.

I called the cops and begged them to get to the house.

My sister then called me screaming at me that this was all my fault. That I handled it poorly. That it’s not that serious.

My dad then text me saying “you’re disowned.”

And there you have it folks.

My lashing out to the universe.

And how is this related to losing my job?

Well, when I am in pain I will do anything to run from that pain.

Even if that means distracting myself with another pain.

Because if I could distract myself with my dad’s failures, then I wouldn’t have to look at my own.


To find more, please check me out on instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/harleyray.blog/

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Last Book Review of “Sorry I’m Late I didn’t want to come” by Jessica Pan

The biggest obstacles Jess took part in within the book were joining an improv class and a comedy class, two separate classes. She chose these classes because she had a huge fear of public speaking and didn’t know how to solve it so she sought professional help. Though I have never taken on such a daunting task as that, I did adopt a puppy back in Charlotte, North Carolina after having no friends for three months. And I would like to think this could be seen as a huge commitment similarly to agreeing to perform a comedy skit on stage at a bar, which is what Jess did.

My puppy was amazing at filling the void I had back in North Carolina, but it came with a cost. The cost being she was not potty trained nor did she ever want to be. That girl would piss and shit every day on the floor. I tried everything, but that girl just loved to make a nice pile of dung on the floor for when I got home. It was great.

But what I lost in cleaning supplies, I gained in friends because Harley knew how to work a crowd. She was a people pleaser and my ice breaker to making real friends in Charlotte. I started taking her to the dog park every evening after work and slowly but surely I became friends with the other dog parents at the park. We would talk about their personalities and training tips and use dog voices as dog owners do to describe their dog. Yes, this is a thing. Just ask one of your friends if they talk for their dog or assume what their dog is thinking and watch as they give you that goofy guilty smile. It’s real.

Cat owners do it too.

Anyways, these dog park people became my people just as the improv class became Jess’s people and the only soul to thank for that is Harley.


And that wraps up the series! Hope you liked it.

Cheers!

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Book Review #2 of “Sorry I’m Late I didn’t want to come” by Jessica Pan

The second thing Jess did that I have also practiced before is “talking to strangers”. How she describes this is “disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.”

Just her description alone makes me laugh because I can 100% relate. Every time I have spoken to a stranger I feel a huge resistance inside me. The kind of resistance that wants to cringe in the corner because the task at hand is likely to be too awkward. And many times I have had to buck up and tell that resistance to quiet down or else I wouldn’t be able to socialize with my co-workers. However, now at the age of 27 I do feel more practiced with this endeavor, but the road hasn’t been easy. It has been full of extremely cringy moments that led to nothing except a lack of pride and a bottle of wine.

Scratch the wine. What am I talking about? I was broke as fuck in college. There was no wine!

Anyways, when I went to college or university, as Aussie’s like to call it, I was alone. None of my high school friends went to my college. They traveled to L.A. or New York whereas I stayed in Sacramento. And as I said before, I am an introvert so college parties did not tempt me. I hate crowds. I hate small talk and I hate talking over music. So what I was left with was the library and the gym. And you can’t really make friends in a library since you can’t talk…so I decided to try and make friends at the gym.

What I would do is run around the indoor track and look for other girls running. If they didn’t have ear phones in, I would ask if they wanted to run with me. This sounds innocent, like a child, but trust me I still cringe at the memories. It was so hard for me to ask this question! The fear of rejection was very real for me. And I also felt like a weird stalker in a way because I was looking for girls to talk to. It just didn’t feel natural and it didn’t work so I would advise not doing this. But! It did break down some of my fear because it was practice. AND PRACTICE IS KEY! In those moments, I was practicing being confident, but most importantly I was practicing being vulnerable. And though no one wanted to run with me, I survived. And I was okay. The cringyness didn’t break me.

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Book Review of “Sorry I’m Late I didn’t want to come” by Jessica Pan

This is my first time writing a book review and I thought I would do it differently since this story creepily resembles pieces of my own introvert journey. How I will do it differently is by breaking it up into a series as I would like to share a few stories that are just as embarrassing as Jessica’s and since I have a few, why not spread them out?

Alright! So the book is similar to “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, where the author has a mid-life type crisis and wants to do something way over the top to solve it. Except instead of traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia to solve her crisis, Jessica solves it in her own backyard, also known as London. Jessica’s crisis is her lack of ability to make friends around the age of 32. I believe she is 32 in the story, but if not it doesn’t really matter as everyone knows you can have a crisis at any stage in life, let’s be real.

Now, Jessica realizes her crisis when she quits her job in London and notices she has no one to talk to except her husband. Her friends are spread around the world and she realizes all of her friends came to her through external circumstances such as: sitting next to them in university or working together as colleagues. She never went out of her way to become friends with them. They just naturally came together. But now without a job she realizes she needs to spread her introvert wings a bit if she doesn’t want to fight loneliness forever. And thus the story begins as she dedicates one year to extroverting in order to make friends.


Okay, now how does her story resemble mine? Well if you don’t know this about me, I am also an introvert, but not the typical shy kind. Instead, I am the bubbly, goofy and openly speak mind kind, but at the end of the day people exhaust the shit out of me which is how I know I am still an introvert. Also, living alone doesn’t scare me. Ask any extrovert if they like being alone because I have found most of them hate it. Of course there are other signs as well, but those are the main factors.

So what did Jess do during her year of extroverting for friends, which I have also done?

Well, she joined Bumble, which I have also done.

The swipe swipin for friends? Yeah. It’s weird, but lends to a good story.

I joined it when I moved across the United States from California to North Carolina in 2016. I was 23 and living alone. I knew zero people in North Carolina and the only person I talked to was my mom on the phone everyday at lunch. So you could say, I didn’t know what else to do.

The girls I would match with were also new to Charlotte, North Carolina, which made sense. I soon found out that most people who lived in Charlotte were not from there, which made meeting people a little easier as they were looking for friends too. However as most dating apps go, the people on there were half ass. I believe I only met up with one girl, which is funny because so did Jess.

The girl I met with was petite, showy, insecure like me, and tried her best. We met over lunch in the middle of the city during work and it started out with the basic questions. Where are you from? What do you like to do for fun? How long have you been here? And it was awkward. There was no spark. No zazz. Just two lonely girls eating pasta trying to pretend like we weren’t lonely. The whole experience was kind of pathetic and she felt the same way too because when we passed each other on the street one day, she pretended like she didn’t know me. Or maybe she just forgot me because that’s how forgettable that friend date was. And yeah I would call it a friend date. We were literally at lunch scoping each other for spark. It was a date!

Stay tuned to next week’s blog as I continue this series of embarrassing stories of how I’ve tried to make friends.

Cheers!

Posted in Being Vulnerable

If it wasn’t for writing

If it wasn’t for writing,

I’d probably go insane.

It’s the only way I know

how to really feel.

My emotions come in forms of letters,

which magically get spun into words.

And I, the observer, sit back and watch as the pen takes me.

It’s as if the hand that moves the pen isn’t mine.

I can feel it moving,

but my mind is not the one thinking the words.

It’s almost spiritual, you could say.

It’s as if the universe knows I struggle with talking

and therefore graciously lets me share through writing.

Written words have always made more sense to me.

They’re intellectually raw and more difficult to produce,

which I tend to prefer.

I guess it’s because I have always lived in my head.

So for me,

writing comes naturally.

Yet, it may not always be pretty,

But neither are feelings.

In the end,

the value is in the effort

not in the display.

So please continue writing

I want to read all that you have to say.

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Going natural

So I have been jobless for two months now, which has given me plenty to reflect on.

Such as, my hair.

I stopped shaving when quarantine hit in mid March because we were working from home, but after a month of not shaving I started questioning why I even do it.

Is it for me or for them?

I have been shaving since I was in middle school, like most girls in my class, I just did what everyone else did. But now when I think about it, I was just a kid when I was told hair is ugly on women.

But what enraged me more than that, was when I researched the origin of women shaving in the United States I found it started because of Gillette’s advertisements. They saw an untouched market and pounced at the idea of having a bigger market share. And I understand this is the essence of capitalism and profit and all that, but does that justify the means?

Now I am called a hippy if I decide to stop shaving.

But what I really am is normal and natural and being myself.

And you are god damn right, I am triggered by this topic.

I believe it is justified to get enraged when my insecurities are being exploited for profit.

I truly hate these fucking advertisements that tell me I have a problem when in reality there is no problem. They are simply creating a problem in order to sell me their solution.

It is that simple, yet we fall for the bait every time.

We love our insecurities being validated. I don’t know why. I assume because it feels good to have someone tell us our hate for ourselves is legitimate.

It almost makes us feel justified for the daily inner loathing.

But what if we advertised differently?

What if we advertised honestly?

What if we encouraged people to be vulnerable and feel safe in their skin?

Wouldn’t that be better for humanity?

Don’t we want humanity to evolve positively?

The only way I see us evolving is if we stop falling for the corporate bait that tells us “we are not enough”.

Because that is what they are actually selling us.

And it is fucking bullshit.

(Link to article about Gillette) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_removal_of_leg_and_underarm_hair_in_the_United_States

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Holding space for other’s pain

My sister emailed.

She is still in pain.

My choice to block her on every platform broke her heart.

She feels betrayed.

I know the feeling.

Because that’s why I blocked her.

I felt she took his side instead of mine and I was enraged.

After all this time, how could she?

But maybe I am mistaken.

Maybe I assumed incorrectly.

I tend to do that when I’m angry.

Assume the worst.

Blame everything on you

Because of course it’s not me.

So her email.

Her pain.

Feeling alone.

Again, I know the feeling.

When I moved from California to North Carolina when I was 23, I felt alone.

The only people I knew was

Me, myself and I.

And to top it off, my friend Teddy, who I was very close to at the time, stopped talking to me because his new girlfriend didn’t trust our friendship.

I don’t think he realized how painful that decision was for me.

I cried immediately when he told me we couldn’t talk anymore.

I sobbed realizing I was alone.

I was so utterly alone.

I had just moved across the country and I had no one.

All I had was my work.

And my mom.

I would call her everyday

During lunch.

Just because I needed to hear a familiar voice.

So I do understand my sister’s pain.

And I do understand I acted rashly in my anger.

And I apologized for what I did.

But I don’t expect it to go back to normal.

I’m not that naive.

I understand I cut a deep wound in her heart.

And since I have my own wounds, I know they don’t heal quickly or even smoothly for that matter.

I feel all I can do is just wait and hold space for her pain.

Because isn’t that what I would want if I were in her shoes?

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Being jobless

Man, what a ride.

I feel like I’ve experienced every emotion known to human kind.

I was first down.

Then further down.

I felt the instant tears of rejection on my face.

I could feel my heart seizing.

I couldn’t breathe.

I felt like they had broken up with me.

All I kept thinking was, josh was right.

I felt betrayed.

How could they do this to me?

I felt worthless.

And then in that moment I realized I finally could relate to others who lost their job.

Finally I could feel their tears.

Finally I could feel their fears.

I was one of them.

And it brought me such compassion.

And now a month later all I want to say is thank you.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to feel this pain.

For without it, how could I relate?

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Dandelions

Your are not entitled to happiness.
If you felt happy at every moment of the day, how the hell would you be able to relate to people? You need pain in your life so that you can relate to others. Without it, you’re just a big ball of fluff with no sustenance.
In essence, you’d be a dandelion.

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Just shut the fuck up

Going to the beach has always triggered me. I don’t talk about it because I don’t like giving voice to shame or negativity.

But now that I think about it, I’ve never once not been self conscious at the beach, even at my prime fitness level I thought about it.

And it’s stupid and cliche and I hate it. I hate that I am self conscious like everyone else. Because I am grateful for my body and its health and its excellent job of keeping me alive. Why should I expect it to be the tightest, sexiest whateverist too?And I know no matter how fit someone is, they are still self conscious so what am I trying to achieve anyways? I guess it is just the natural cycle of things, but I wish it would stop. I wish I never thought about how I looked because it’s exhausting and I am ready to be productive now.

I don’t weigh myself anymore or date douche bag gym rats or count calories or binge eat or starve or take diet pills either. I do nothing dangerous, but even after all I have overcome, I am still here dwelling on how I look. Dwelling on the fact that I don’t gym as hard as I use to or I don’t eat as clean as I use to. But you know what? I wasn’t satisfied then either!

And I know, I know I am not on this earth to be sexy or to be beautiful. I am just here because I am here. So why am I so afraid of how I measure up? And how do I stop it?

How do we stop it?

Propose real solutions.

  1. Speak kindly to yourself daily
  2. Tell loved ones when you are struggling
  3. Ask yourself what you are grateful for
  4. Tell yourself, “One day I will be jealous of this body so just shut the fuck up!”