Running out of arms

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After Rosie the Riveter, of course.

“Where is the divide between the people that you can tell your true emotions to, and the ones that you should say you are okay, even if you’re not?”

From an earlier post I wrote during a really miserable time. Expanding on this, I’ve realized that when people ask how I am I automatically tell them I’m good, or well, or okay. I have to catch myself and say “oh wait, actually I’m not good” when I’m having a bad day. It makes me wonder who are the people you tell you’re having a shitty day, and who you pretend you’re great to because you don’t want to seem like a downer. I feel like people aren’t expecting a real answer when they ask. But everyone has a bad day sometime..

I have a hard time speaking up for myself. I worry that if I speak up I will either offend someone or lose them as a friend. I’m really non-confrontational and try not to stir up dust unless I have to. Which occasionally results in me not speaking up until it’s too late. Part of it has to do with the fact that I’ve been in a lot of fights with people before -and at a time even welcomed it- that I try not to anymore. It also has to do with self-worth, but that’s a whole other discussion.

I often put people’s needs before my own and feel like I am juggling theirs and mine, which is where the “running out of arms” comes from. Sometimes the first person who gets dropped is myself, which I’m working on. Because the person who should come first is yourself. You are the one who will always be there to take care of you.

I’ve been faced with a lot of moments recently that have given me the opportunity to be assertive and stand up for myself. Currently I’m living in an apartment that’s lease is about to end, and tons of realtors have been passing through. They started showing it months ago, and it still hasn’t been rented. Some of the realtors do not show respect at all, since I live in a building filled with college kids and young adults. Just because we’re younger doesn’t mean we deserve less respect. I have been getting text messages from strangers for months, some of them asking my permission to show the apartment and others who tell me that they will be coming. I’ve been learning how to say no when someone asks me the day of, or tells me that they are coming at a time that does not work for me. But I find it appalling how little courtesy is shown to college students.

Yesterday as I was leaving my apartment I walked into a realtor who said he was about to show my apartment, but had stopped because of a note I had put on my door saying that they are not allowed to enter without my permission. I told him that he had not told me he was coming, and my apartment was a mess. He tried to do the “it will only take a minute” thing.. and I said no. Which is a step for me.

Writing this blog is really empowering. It gives me the opportunity to express my ideas, and is nice to be able to share them with people. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been writing poetry for ten years, and have always wanted to keep a blog, but had been too afraid to. I like having something that I am proud of, and do it for myself. As well as whoever is reading this. This semester I am in the worst poetry class I have ever had. The teacher forces us to free write and then read our work aloud, and in the middle of us reading she interrupts to say that something is “trite” or that we have to change a word or a line. It’s really embarrassing, and I do not agree with the way that she teaches. I call her the “dragon lady” for a reason, she’s kind of terrifying. Plus, she has not taught us different forms of poetry this whole semester other than to define them. I forgot to mention another important detail… My teacher hates rhyming and does not allow a single rhyme to be present in our poems…And most of my poems during the time I have been writing have rhymed in every line. When I found that out the first day of class I was a little intimidated, but I’ve been getting better at it. I know I’m becoming a better writer because of that challenge.

I have been in great micro-fiction and poetry classes before, where the environment was extremely comfortable and we offered to share our work, or were asked to share in a less forceful way. I really miss my little workshop groups where we bonded over helping each other improve our writing. Occasionally I feel like I’m one of my teacher’s least favorite students. Like when she told me to turn around and face a trash can in a corner. She laughed, thinking she was being funny and giving me a place to write with no distractions. It wasn’t funny.

I have had really bad crits before and have learned to glaze over and not get offended by people’s comments. My blog is a way to remind myself that I am proud of my writing, and my teacher is only one person’s opinion.

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