I’m an Attention Whore…& That’s OK

One of my exes called me an attention whore because I posted a photo of myself in my sports bra to show off my results from the gym. “Guys like me don’t respect girls like you.” ~ Why I stayed after that is a whole other topic for discussion…

 

The attention whore comment was so cutting I deleted the photo…After he broke up with me – I was so damaged from months of similar comments that I believed them, and had to quit social media altogether. I couldn’t post any picture, of myself or of anything, without experiencing an overwhelming fear that he was right about me – I’m a whore for attention and everything I post is indicative of that. I’m a bad person.

 

SPOILER ALERT…I recovered and rose from the ashes of my broken heart like the fiery, majestic Phoenix I am. And here’s what I learned. 1. He was such a jerk (*insert Ariana Grande Thank u, Next**), but 2. He was right – I DO love attention. AND GUESS WHAT? – THAT IS OKAY. Why do we stigmatize admitting that we like attention so much? When we say someone just wants attention it has a negative connotation, when a child acts out or behaves poorly we jump to the conclusion that the child just wants attention – it’s associated with bad behavior from a young age. But craving attention is NOT a character flaw – it is simply human. We all want to be loved, and desired to some extent.

 

Of course there are unhealthy ways to seek validation from others (I’m a huge proponent of achieving validity through self) – but wanting attention doesn’t automatically make you a bad person. Wanting validation, love, respect, or to be seen in a positive light is natural even for the most self assured elites among us. I’m tired of people shaming others for wanting attention. You deserve to be seen, and heard. Again, how we seek attention is likely the issue behind the stigma – but there are VERY few people who go through their lives without needing this human connection.

 

Why else would solitary confinement be a punishment?

 

When people seek attention by making long, emotional & personal posts about something bad going on in their lives – yes, they’re looking for attention – but probably because they really do feel pretty shitty about the bad stuff happening to them. Should they struggle in silence instead so as not to appear like an ‘attention seeker’?

 

When people want to post about their accomplishments, I.e gym progress (yup, we’re circling back) – they’re looking for attention – because it doesn’t hurt to hear words of affirmation about something you worked really hard to achieve. You look/feel good? Then show it off sis! Don’t be ashamed to be you. Revel in the love and support you receive from others and your mental health will thank you for it.

 

PSA: My name is Jade and I love attention. This is not an AA meeting because well, loving attention is not a problem.

The Art of Apologies

A close friend of mine’s boyfriend recently messaged me to tell me he never liked me because I’m loud..and obnoxious. And like, he’s not wrong..

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But I received an apology (for lashing out) a few days later because he was mad about something that didn’t really have to do with me, and he completely misread a situation…He just forgot one little detail. To apologize for calling me loud and obnoxious…

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So his apology read like,

“I’m sorry for telling you how I truly feel about you while I was angry about something else.”

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While I certainly appreciate any apology at all, I know when they’re done incorrectly it can leave a situation or person who feels wronged worse off. There’s an ART to apologies and the most important element is sincerity. Successful apologies show sincerity by expressing remorse and vulnerability. Successful apologies don’t make excuses or explain their actions away. They take so much courage by assuming responsibility for a wrong. That is a tough place to be, and often times it is why people will refuse to apologize in many instances, or do so in a sincere way.

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This is important. An inspiring leader understands how to apologize effectively and in turn creates a cohesive environment.  Imagine when your boss never owns up to their mistakes and instead creates tension and animosity..

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Imagine when your boyfriend or girlfriend hurts your feelings (however intentional) by commenting on your appearance and refuses to say sorry for how they made you feel. There’s a difference between saying;

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“I’m sorry you felt bad when I said you should go back to the gym but I was just trying to help.”

vs.

“I’m sorry I hurt you by saying you should go back to the gym. It was rude and inconsiderate of me and I have no place to  tell you what you should do with your body when I’m not in the best shape myself” lol extreme example but it has all the elements! 

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  1. Acknowledgment of their feelings which in turn validates the hurt you caused, rather than belittles them
  2. Expresses remorse for your sometimes embarrassing actions
  3. Takes responsibility and doesn’t make excuses
  4. Here’s a bonus; it makes you a loser in the situation (hear me out)…When you acknowledge something like how you have no place to judge when you aren’t even in the best shape that takes you down a notch and leaves you more likely to be forgiven. The person apologizing has to convince the receiver that they are paying for their actions in some way, be it monetarily with something like flowers or by lowering one’s self (There’s studies on this – TRUST, NOT FAKE NEWS). 

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No one wants to be wrong (myself massively included)…Saying sorry is hard but we all have to…or at least should do it sometime. And knowing how to be a Picasso of Apologies is an underrated yet dire social skill. Sometimes, what helps me (depending on the situation) is remembering that apologizing is hard and takes a lot of courage, but it takes an even stronger person to receive that apology and forgive. Last thing; I’m sorry this post was so long (or am I?). 😉  

How Black Are You?

“Like what percentage, isn’t it like half?” – I’ve heard some variation of this question countless times throughout my life.  It’s not that I mind people’s curiosity about my background, it’s that I mind the pervasiveness of misinformation when it comes to race vs ethnicity vs nationality…I have also noticed how many times I’ve had to hear someone else answering the background question with the coveted, “I’m 1/4 Egyptian, 1/4 Italian, 1/12 Jewish, 1/19 Irish, 1/256 Greek”…One, no one cares that freaking much when they ask…and two…okay maybe it’s just me that doesn’t care that much? Just say you’re white and/or black etc and call it a day?
Alright, there’s actually a number of things that bug me about this topic actually, so here’s just a short list to correct some potential myths. They’re not even opinion based so hear me out! 
1. You can’t know “what percentage” of any race you are based on what your parents are. Say your dad is black and white because he has a white mother and a black father.  That does not automatically mean he is half and half, or that you’re a quarter of each.  Genetics don’t work like that.  You can absorb more or less of either side (i.e. 30% black, 60% white or vice versa).  Same with your siblings.  Your full-sister can be genetically “blacker” or “whiter” than you.  
2. Your nationality/ethnicity is NOT your race.  If I say I’m Puerto Rican, or American for that instance, that’s not telling you my race.  If someone says they’re German, you probably automatically picture a white person – however, there are black Germans.  There are black Puerto Ricans, white ones, and generally hella mixed ones. There are black Spaniards, there are white Africans…You get it.
3. Companies like 23andMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage have a ways to go regarding accuracy of genealogy reporting. These companies simply compare your DNA to the DNA of other people with known ancestries.  In doing so, they look for evidence that you have common ancestors with people in the specified reference group (Spanish people for example).  The problem arises though, when we consider that every company uses a different reference group, and these reference groups are changing all the time.  This means you could easily get a result from one company that says you’re 3x more Polish than the other company reports.  What’s more is that the reference group information available for certain ethnicities is lacking, where it is mostly abundant in European/white data points.  Over time, the hope is that the more people participate, the more accurate the reporting will become across all ethnic groups.
That’s my hope at least, since I successfully transcended through ALL 5 stages of grief after my 23andMe pegged me as 60% white (with a Rican mom and biracial dad).  Until then, I’m making my first casserole and dry turkey this Thanksgiving. Trying to embrace this potential newfound identity.

Biggest Mistake In My Career

I was preparing for a high stakes job interview last week, and I came across a question that seemed difficult to answer at first:
What is the biggest mistake you made in your career, and how did you overcome it?
My career rap sheet has 5 years worth of experience (relatively short time), ranging from law firms to IT, event planning, and now even engineering.  When was there time for a HUGE mistake, and if there was one, how am I already over it by now?  I thought back on everything it took to get to where I am today and then the grim reality hit me like a pile of bricks. 
My biggest mistake was all in the beginning.  Deciding to get a degree in Political Science…what a hard pill to swallow…because while I was in school full-time I was working full-time in a law office for almost 4 years with one of the most wonderful teams I’ve ever worked with.  I thought I wanted to be a lawyer too, that my whole career would be shaped by a firm I was lucky enough to be a part of in the midst of extremely formative years of my life.  But it was during my last semester of college that I realized I didn’t want to pursue law – it was like my school beat any remaining passion for politics out of me by shoving it down my throat constantly (Poli Porn lol)…Too late to turn back now though. Now what?  I didn’t know…All I knew at this point were a bunch of things I didn’t want to do – and that folks, is where this post is going.
Knowing what you don’t want to do can be just as important as knowing what you want to do.
I quit my job and moved across the country without a real plan – I had savings and a determination to see what my newly earned degree and years at a law firm could get me.  In the past year alone I have since worked in 3 vastly different industries – and after probably 300 hours of serious reflection, job applications, reading about Masters programs, pouring over my resume, skills and so forth…I figured it out.  My dream is to become a Project Manager, first…famous stand-up comedian, second. 😉  I didn’t come to this answer overnight, but the only reason I got to it is because I pushed myself to try different things based on answers I found from looking inward.  All this is to say, if the answer isn’t obvious to you at first, or you feel like you’re not particularly passionate about anything…(cuz every millennial poster child will tell you to pursue what you love, but that might not always be the obvious or lucrative lifestyle answer)…Don’t worry.  If you know a bit about what you DON’T want to do with your life, you’re halfway there.
Oh, and to fully answer the interview question?  I overcame my mistake, by still using a degree I’m not passionate about as a stepping stone into a field I am passionate about. Not such a mistake after all, huh. No degree is a mistake as long as you know how to leverage that paper, sis!

Crazy Ex-Girlfriends

“Crazy ex-girlfriend”.  Oh, we’ve all had one of those, amirite…Why doesn’t “crazy ex-boyfriend” carry the same ring to it though?  I mean, when I say I have had some crazy exes, I almost always feel the need to reiterate in conversation…”No, I mean this guy was actually CRAZY.”  And I think I’ve figured it out…It’s because our cultural narrative implies that women are just naturally deranged, and when you come across a crazy guy, well he’s just an exception to the rule.

Well, I have to say it.  I think men are the crazy ones…Yea, yea. I have heard my man friends tell me some pretty f*&k’d up stories about the things women have put them through – I’m not saying chicks are guilt free.  What I’m saying is that dudes are especially guilty, and not enough light is shed on how wackadoo emotional they can be.  I hear these stories about crazy ex-girlfriends and then I reflect on my own experiences, trying to think of the “craziest” thing I’ve ever done. Honestly, I can’t think of anything.  If a guy has ever crossed me in the past (can you tell I’m about to take major pride in what I’m about to say), I have been known to simply pick myself up, pack my shit – and leave.  Disappear.  A couple times I didn’t even tell the guy what he did wrong (slept with 5 other chicks while seeing me at the same time), and he text me (and my girlfriends) nonstop saying I was a crazy b*&ch for dropping off the face of the earth without rhyme or reason.  I’ve always been this way.  So when I tell people I’m actually not crazy, I would SO appreciate not having the presumed conversation EVERY time; 

 

“Yea right, every girl is crazy.” 

“I’m not”

“That’s what they all say, sorry it’s just the laws of nature.”

 

Okay, but if we’re going with the laws of nature I would think it would make more sense for dudes to be the unhinged ones.  Think cave man days…Weren’t the cave men the dominant ones dragging women back to caves to procreate? 

Who constitutes 83% of those arrested for arson? 89.5% of homicides in the U.S.? I won’t go into rape stats…Okay you pulled my arm – men constitute 98.9% of those arrested for forcible rape! Sick!

But women are naturally unstable? Please! Just stop calling us crazy or I’ll slash your tires.

I’m Afraid of Dying

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how little time we have here, on earth.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting closer to the end of my 20s, and I see how quickly it happened.  I don’t know if it’s because death touched my life when my mom passed away, forcing awareness of my own mortality before my mid-twenties.  But I do know that I am afraid of dying – and I think it’s because I’m having the time of my life, and I don’t want it to end. 

 It’s not that I’m afraid of what comes after death, because I’m at peace with what I believe will happen then.  It’s just that I am so happy these days, but the one thing I know for certain is that change is the only constant.  Nothing lasts forever.  So I fear for the impending ripples in the smooth currents of my happy life, and then I fear that no matter how much time we’re given it will still never feel like enough. The first time I felt something like this was when I read a story about the deep depression an elderly woman went into when she lost her husband of 56 years.  It seems obvious but it wasn’t to me at first – there is never enough time to be with someone you love! I thought about how people say they “can’t wait to grow old” with one another, and when I heard it I used to get the sweet image of an old couple rocking in their chairs, reminiscing on the life experiences they had together.  But I don’t think I’ll ever say it to my life partner, because I can wait to grow old together.  I don’t know if it was just me that imagined there was ever enough time, and that suddenly after x amount of years you’d be ready to say goodbye to someone. I figured it had something to do with losing my mom at a young age, and the wishful thinking that I could’ve had her throughout her later years.  But I have an understanding there too, that when you lose your mom (or anyone important to you) – it doesn’t matter when it happens, it will always be devastating.

So…I’m enjoying the life I have immensely, and I know doing that is the best thing I can do.  Maybe the beauty in all of it is that since our life spans are so short, we pack everything we can into this tiny space in time – so if/when we have the chance to look back we see a slideshow of beautiful and captivating experiences. For now, any time I get overwhelmed with the fear of the inevitable, I cope by thinking about the bad news and the good news.  The bad news is that nothing lasts forever.  But the good news is – that nothing lasts forever. 😊