All Articles Tagged "insecurity"
Ain’t Nobody Trippin’ But You: How My Thirst For Respect Was Allowing Me To Get Angry Over Small Things (And How I Calmed Down)
I come from a long line of angry folks. They’re civilized folks with good jobs, good sense, and a lot of love to share, but they can be angry nonetheless. From my mom, to one of my sisters, as well as both my brothers and my uncle, I’ve watched them go from 0 to 60 in a minute when they felt it necessary, and some of that anger rubbed off on me. We’re what you would call “sensitive.” And living in New York has made it worse I must say. When men literally let a door slam in my face as they walk through it, bad a** kids throw small rocks at strangers (me, of course) when you’re minding your business walking down the street, and you get some of the worst customer service on the planet, you might have a reason to be a little testy. And honestly, I just assumed everyone around me felt and acted the same way. But that was until I punched a lady in the head last week.
It was an accident of course. During my morning commute, minding my business on the train, I was doing the absolute most to keep my bare hands from touching the very dirty pole next to me, so I proceeded to wrap my arm around the pole instead while I waited for my stop. After changing a song on my phone and in the process of once again wrapping my arm around the pole, I accidentally punched the head of the woman sitting down in the seat next to where I was standing. And it was kind of hard. This woman, white and probably in her mid-20s, slowly pulled her head up in shock, and began to rub the spot that I had just gone all Street Fighter on on accident. I turned and started apologizing: “Oh my gosh, I’m so so sorry. I’m really sorry, that was a total accident.” Expecting her to pop off or at least give me the death face, she just looked confused for a second, rubbed her head some more, nodded as if to say, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,” and put her head back down.
That was it.
And I was surprised. I’ve seen New Yorkers of all backgrounds and colors act a complete fool over less, so I was expecting her to act up. But she didn’t because she had better things to do–like finish up her early morning nap before reaching her stop. But for some reason, her response, or lack thereof, had a big impact on me.
As I went to work, I thought about how I know I would have reacted had I been that woman and someone punched me in my head, even if on accident. I might let out a “S**T!” or “What in the hell!???” so that the person knew the extent of their mistake. I’m both sensitive and dramatic. But she was able to shrug it off like I kicked her bag on accident or bumped into her. And if I had hit any other person, I’m sure I would have received a scathing response. I’ve bumped into an older black woman on the train and apologized, only to find her looking at me like she was ready to slap box because her headphones kept her from hearing me. I couldn’t help but share the story with my coworker, and when I asked her why I, and so many others might react less than peacefully compared to this mystery woman, she pointed out one thing that really stuck out with me: “I don’t know, I think we, especially as black people, see these type of things as a sign of disrespect, and many of us do a lot to make sure we’re getting our respect.” Bingo.
I don’t know about you, but I can see my angry faces over the past year (almost two) of living in New York, and I know that respect had a lot to do with the extent of my “rage.” Like the time an older Hispanic man literally sat on me when he couldn’t sit down before the train pulled off, yet he failed to say sorry or anything else to me for that matter. While I only yelled out “OH MY GOD” when his a** fell on me and crushed my purse, in my head after the fact, angry that I received no apology, I was thinking, “DO YOU NOT SEE ME!??? AM I JUST INVISIBLE IN THIS PIECE???” Or the time a white girl standing in front of me whipped her hair in my face and had no clue. Or when a man stole the seat I was about to sit in, and fuming, I thought to myself: “OH SO YOU GONNA ACT LIKE YOU DIDN’T SEE ME ABOUT TO SIT DOWN!? AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A MAN…” In most cases, if someone apologizes for whatever small thing they’ve done to me, I’ll heat up very fast, but hold my tongue and calm myself down, reply with an “It’s cool.”. But when they don’t, I’m ready to spit fire. A lot of my anger comes from people acting as though I don’t exist or they can treat me like whatever, and I can tell by the faces of those who screech down subway cars “YOU CAN’T SAY EXCUSE ME???” that their anger comes from a similar place. That and a little bit of crazy. But we’ve all got to do better.
To be honest, even before that incident, I was trying to get my anger together. I would let the actions of other people, even the simple comments, get under my skin and literally have an impact on at least half of my day. As my choir director would say, that’s giving more power to man than you do to God. So for some time now, I’ve found myself ignoring a lot of people, channeling my anger into my workouts, and learning to step back and evaluate what I’m getting ready to fuss about, instead of stepping out of my body and acting a fool. I’m still working with my anger issues, as its not something that goes away quickly, but this method has been working. If you have anger issues (not the type that you need to go to anger management for though, that’s a bit more serious) and find your self spazzing out to ensure people are treating you with respect, I would encourage you to do the same in order to calm down. Step back and ask yourself if what you’re peeved about is truly worth letting your day start off or end on a negative note and worth pulling away from your happiness. Chances are, it’s not, and it’s not worth it at all.
Female empowerment and encouragement are things that I adamantly support. I have friends that I consider sisters and enjoy meeting like-minded women. Unfortunately, all women aren’t the same. And instead of support you’re met with a whole lot of shade. Instead of building a friendship, you’re introduced to an enemy.
In some cases, it’s easy to spot a woman who is being blatantly disrespectful. In other cases, the disrespect is snuck in so subtly that you feel inappropriate for even addressing it, although you sense the shade being thrown. Yes, there are times when our beloved sisters, including ourselves, can be subtly disrespectful. Maybe you’ve experienced some of this disrespectful behavior or possibly dished it out. In either case, here are a few of the most common disrespectful things that women can do to each other.
I hate to break it to you ladies, but it’s official: Cuffing season has come to an end. The temperature hit 82 degrees in Philly today and the weather will only grow warmer as spring turns to summer. This means that unless your love is legit, your “man” will start to pick fights, become increasingly shady or disappear altogether in pursuit of the bare thighs, sun-kissed shoulders and anything-goes attitude that comes with summer love.
The truth is some of you never had an actual “man” or a boyfriend to begin with. You had someone that was looking to lay up and cuddle and have a warm place to lay his head and other parts of his anatomy in between blizzards. But some of you actually have some stand-up guys which you’d know if you weren’t busy picking apart his every flaw, or worrying about all the things Jay-Z does for Beyonce’ and not appreciating what’s special about your own relationship. So often I hear women complain endlessly about the inability to find a good man, but have no clue of what a good man actually is. Trust me they exist, but it requires you being honest and realistic about what you want and they are not just going to fall in your lap while you have your head buried in your phone.
It’s hard to admit that maybe you’re sabotaging your relationships or the fault lies within you. But if you find that keep having the same problems in different relationships, you might only have yourself to blame. Here are 10 signs it’s not him, but really is you:
Just the other day, I wore red lipstick, for the first time. Actually it was the first lipstick I’d ever worn in my entire life. It was clammy between the purses of my lips, but I didn’t mind it. This notion made me completely ecstatic. To you, this may seem a bit superficial. However, for me, it’d been a long time coming.
I was afraid I’d be noticed with anything additional or too bright. I did not want to be noticed, I wasn’t ready to adorn myself with anything that prompted catcalls and stares.
The truth is…
I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. In fact, for a few years, I’ve been wearing someone else’s. I get up every morning, pat on makeup, slip on my heels and borrow words for the day, words that I don’t recognize as my own. I even delve into habits that weren’t previously a portion of my idiosyncrasies: eyebrows, nails, and organization.
The truth is, I was a skater girl: A kick loving, curse slinging, and over analytical extrovert. I was a nerd (still am) with a zest for journaling, Harry Potter, romance, and drama.
High school and college stifled me. Girls in higher heels and upper echelon begged me for tact. They caressed the underlying notions that I’d never be good enough. Everyday, as I faced the mirror, I realized that I was an impostor.
I am a shell of my former self.
I’m 5’11, with size twelve feet, big hands, an awkward smile and a stomach that kind of spills. To the stores, I am TALL, LONG and find-it-online. To the bullies, I was Sasquatch goofy and nerd. To the men who failed to assess internal beauty parallel to external, I was “alright” or “okay.” To myself, I wasn’t deserving.
That’s where it starts, doesn’t it? With yourself?
I found it hard to take compliments. I often cringed at the utterance of beautiful or pretty directed towards me, suppressing the urge to look behind me and search for the woman they were truly talking about. Defense mechanisms were my forte:
1) In social settings, when the men are more adoring of your friends instead of you, twiddle with your phone. It shows you don’t care.
2) If anyone asks what’s wrong, nod and smile. Never let on too much. Insecurity is not attractive.
3) Stay clear of things you used to love to wear, before anyone pointed out their flaws. Bright colors, horizontal stripes and tighter things only emphasize your thickness.
4) Talk fast and quick. Perhaps if they know you are a celebrated poet, scholar and writer; your looks won’t matter too much.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to confront my insecurity. I stood on my first well-known stage surrounded by people who actually had requests. Fans of sorts. I could have dropped my bitter cloak there. I should’ve swallowed the attention whole and relished in the fact that I was a great writer, performer and someone who deserved everything.
Instead, I blacked out. I let a pretend confident spirit envelop me and tear the stage apart. A train car voice cascaded from my lips and took charge of her surroundings. No microphone needed, I’d placed my morale, in rhyme, on the ears of many. It was beautiful. However, the instant the clapping faded and I cascaded down the stage’s steps; I was hunch shouldered, smirk-never-smile and nervous-wreck, shell of me, all over again.
As 2012 came to a close, I had much time to sit and reflect on various trials, triumphs and lessons that I’ve learned up until this point in my adult life. One area in which I am constantly learning is my love life. It’s been a long time coming since love and relationships were equated with crumpled up slips of paper that read : Will you go out with me? Circle yes or no. These days things are way more complicated, but all in all, I am pretty grateful for the lessons that I have learned and am still learning along the way. Among the lessons I’ve learned are things that I will never do again for the sake of being in a relationship. Check out some of my love faux pas. You just might recognize some of these from your own life as well.
Beef with other women
I was never really an extremely confrontational person, but there were points in a couple of my relationships where I felt justified in “checking” other women over my man. As I continue to grow and mature, I realize that certain things are really unnecessary and fighting with other women over a man is one of them. If you have to fight over him, then he isn’t really yours.
MJ Taught Me: It Doesn’t Matter How Great Everyone Else Thinks You Are If You Don’t Know It Yourself
Last night I caught Michael Jackson’s concert film “This Is It” for the first time. Despite being the last person on earth to see the documentary, I was still moved by the movie as if Michael had just died yesterday and I was in the theater watching it back in 2009. Aside from being reminded, and subsequently moved, by just how uniquely beautiful Michael’s voice was I couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming sadness I always feel when I think about Michael. He never realized just how great and how loved he was.
Despite the rough media coverage and the nickname Wacko Jacko that haunted Michael in his later years, there has never been an entertainer who was so beloved by millions across the entire globe. King of Pop doesn’t even adequately some up what he symbolized to people who would pass out at his mere presence on stage and who have labeled him the greatest entertainer that ever lived, and have tried to emulate his moves for generations. And though on some level Michael knew he was a really big deal, it was clear deep down he always worried if he was enough.
When I observed Michael’s meticulous attention to detail in the 2009 documentary, I was in awe of his perfectionism. But I also noticed the apologetic tone in his voice when he slightly missed a mark or wanted to change something or wasn’t giving 100 percent vocally. You could tell deep down that even as a man who hundreds of entertainers have named as their ultimate inspiration, he still simply wanted to please people and win their affection and approval. Those moments took me back to scenes from the ’90s film “The Jackson 5: An American Dream” when Michael had candid discussions with his mother about his doubts as a performer, mostly because of his physical appearance. He obsessed over acne, which is a normal stage of adolescence, and wondered whether his fans would be able to accept him. After the Pepsi commercial fire and losing some of his hair, he questioned whether he would receive the same adoration as he did before, and he was awkward about growing into manhood in front of a slew of pre-pubescent fans. Looking at Michael’s life as he grew older I was always saddened by the fact that I don’t ever think he grew out of that stage of worry.
If there’s anything I could say I have in common with Michael I would think it would be our obsessive insecurity. I certainly don’t elicit the type of fandom Michael did but even in the small instances of a friend, an old acquaintance, or even someone I don’t know personally congratulating me on an achievement or giving me positive feedback on something I wrote, or even saying they admire my hustle, the usual reaction is shock, a brief sense of satisfaction, and then a lingering cloud wondering did they really mean what they said? Was it good enough? Are they right?
It’s such a cliche saying, but it’s so spot on when people break down the importance of the word “self” in self-esteem. No matter how many compliments you receive or how much praise someone gives you on a day to day, if you don’t believe the positivity coming your way, it has no bearing on how you live your life and how you see yourself. The only one that can make the decision that you are enough is you.
I’m grateful that I can see that misstep in Michael, although still saddened that I don’t think he ever realized just how amazing of a singer, performer, humanitarian, and all around person he was. But when I come across introspective glimpses into his life, I use it as a opportunity to give myself permission to pat myself on the back and remind myself to not waste so much time obsessing over what I haven’t yet done, what I’ve done wrong, or even what I can’t do, and reflect on all that I have done and the good that is being me. There will always be critics and someone to point the finger at what you could have done better, but as the saying goes, “what other people think of you is none of your business.” Besides, if the accolades aren’t going to be enough to make you feel like you’re enough, you definitely shouldn’t let the criticisms make you feel as if you aren’t enough. My goal in life is to not follow the same fate as Michael and appreciate the beauty that is me without worrying about who does and does not agree.
Whenever we talk about someone having trust issues, we always try to get to the so-called root of them. Meaning it’s usually not our current partner’s actions that are making us insecure, but likely something that happened to us a long time ago, either in a previous relationship or even as a result of observing dysfunctional interactions between our parents and other couples. One thing people rarely think about, though, is how they cause their own trust issues. Sometimes it’s not just what someone did to them, but what they have done to other people.
Last night I was catching up with an old guy friend of mine who I hadn’t had a heart-to-heart, what have you been up to the last few years convo with in a long, long time. He was giving me the rundown of a pretty trifling young lady he’d been involved with as he confessed to be in the “healing” phase of recuperation after that relationship. But later when he mentioned excitement over becoming a father one day, I asked him if he was interested in getting married and in a far less enthusiastic tone he said he wasn’t too sure about that. Loosely reiterated, he said something along the lines of having dealt with too many married women and not being so sure about a potential future wife’s ability to be faithful.
A couple of things went through my mind: one, he clearly waited too long to check in; and two, this is one of several prime examples of why you don’t get involved in messy situations like this. When it comes to infidelity, we tend to only think the person cheating and their unsuspecting partner are the only ones who get damaged. But the sidepiece doesn’t exactly come away unscathed either. Sure, their feelings may not be completely invested – although there are plenty of mistresses who walk away bruised because they thought their lover was going to leave their committed partner for them – but at the very least, interrupting someone else’s relationship tends to leave you jaded and in anticipation of the worst happening to you somewhere down the line as well. This is why people often say when your partner keeps hounding you and questioning whether you’re cheating, it’s likely because they’re cheating themselves. It’s paranoia run amok.
My friend reminded me a lot of an ex last night as I thought about my old boyfriend running that same line down to me. I don’t recall him ever telling me he’d been cheated on by a girlfriend, but when it came to me having male friends and spending any significant amount of time with them in-person or on the phone all of a sudden his antennaes were on ten. Why? Because like a fool he’d chosen to get involved with a married woman in the past and now had a tainted view that all women were just looking for time, space, and an opportunity to be unfaithful. I personally wasn’t interested in paying for his mistakes and had to not so politely remind him that he wouldn’t be so suspicious of other people doing dirt if he hadn’t done too much of his own.
Trust issues are a very serious and legitimate barrier to healthy relationships. Unfortunately, some of us can’t help the things we were exposed to at a young age or the poor character judgments we’ve made that allowed someone else to trample on our heart. But when your skepticism and apprehension is a result of your own wrongdoing, it’s time for a little self-examination into why you did the things you did so you can understand not everyone has those same issues and is going to be the messy individual you once were. And if you’ve yet to cause someone else heartbreak in this way or rack up a pattern of disloyal behavior, let this be another reminder not to. Sometimes it’s not enough of a motivator not to hurt someone else with your actions but when you remember that you also hurt yourself and your chances of allowing genuine love into your life down the line by doing others wrong, it ought to be enough to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Have you ever been the cause of your own trust issues in a relationship?
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- What Do Men Want? Who Cares…
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “Why Do Fools Fall In Love”
- C’Mon Now: Black Celebrities That White Folks Mistake For One Another (But They DON’T Look Alike…)
- Damn Mr. Right, I Need Mr. Right Now! 7 Signs You’re Too Thirsty For Someone To Put A Ring On It
My cousin, Malika*. My ex-bestie, Lorraina*. My sister’s ex-bestie Andrea*. What do all these young women have in common besides their race and the fact that their names end with an “A”? None of them could find it in their hearts to give another sista a straight-shooting compliment. Ever. If they did give out a compliment, it was either prefaced with a smug proclamation like, “I never compliment girls unless they deserve it,” or immediately followed with insults so backhanded that they might as well have kept the compliment to themselves in the first place. And sometimes if someone else is fawning over another young woman’s hair, shoes, pretty face, etc., they would offer the classic, teeth-suck and eye-roll combo followed by, “Yeah, whatever. She ain’t all that.”
None of the above women are unattractive by society’s standards. They are all sufficiently intelligent. So let me state the obvious: They are poster women for one of the most rampantly running diseases that has taken over the U.S. by leaps and bounds: Insecurity.
Now, let me preface this with my own admission. I been that girl (as Melanie Fiona would say), which is why I am qualified to poke, pry at and probe this topic. I know what insecurity looks like from an ugly, raw, up-close-and-personal view. I know what it is to see in someone else all the things I want to be but to secretly loathe them for it. I know what it is to rip apart pieces of other women’s personas and stitch them together to make a costume of what I considered beauty for myself, never realizing I was covering up the beauty in me to take on the beauty of someone else. It never quite fit. It was loose in some places and busting at the seams in others. So, in a subconscious attempt to deflect from my own awkward feelings, I would tear down others. I couldn’t give a compliment to save my own pitiful life. I wanted to find something wrong with everyone else because there was something so severely wrong inside me.
Sick, right? Welp, that’s the way it goes when you have no concept of how to love and accept yourself.
The catalyst that catapulted from that deteriorating state isn’t as complex as you might think. Although, by no means am I knocking therapy, I didn’t need to seek therapy. I didn’t have a “come-to-Jesus”/”Eureka!” moment. The catalyst was simply a series of conversations with myself on paper. I wrote out how I truly felt about anything and everything. That consistent exercise forced me to look at my insides and see all of the things I had been trying to get away from for years with no pretty filters. The funny thing is that no matter how much makeup you pile on, no matter how many fly outfits you don, no matter how many hot pictures you take – if you don’t love yourself, it will eventually show.
It started to show for me. I was snapping at people, looking for reasons to dislike even the most amazing young women. My friends and I were considered the “Mean Girls.” The crazy thing is that once I realized that people HATED me and who I had become, it hurt me so badly. But instead of deflecting and projecting, as I was SO used to doing, I started getting real with myself. That changed the game for me and ultimately thrust my ex-bestie and me apart and into two very different paths in life. I wanted to engage my higher nature. I wasn’t content to keep such a bitter outlook on life because of the bitterness I felt inside. So, I started getting to know the people I had once loathed. And just as my higher nature had first suspected, but my lower nature was quick to shun: They were beautiful souls. Some of the women who have made the biggest impact on my life were the ones I couldn’t stand and refused to say anything decent to in the beginning. Funny how life works, huh?
So, I can recognize insecurity in females when I see it, most especially in black women. We don’t have to feed into the stereotypical “Angry-Black-Woman” caricature, but too often we absolutely do. Too often, we allow ourselves to slip into the abyss of self-dissatisfaction, sometimes never to return. We will sit and talk smack about another young woman who is just going on about her business, enjoying a FREE life – a concept we can’t fathom because we’re too enslaved to our own insecurities. We’re shackled by our self-identified “flaws” when, in all honesty they could be sparkling gems of character if we would just learn how to be free in who we are. Another woman’s beauty, intelligence, raw style, sense of humor, gift of gab or overflowing purse of talent is not a THREAT to our own. We all have a lane in which no one else can cruise in as effectively and as coolly as we can. Affirming each other is not an admission of personal defeat or inferiority.
Now, if I am digging another sista’s personality, shoe game, hair or intelligence, I let her know and more often than not, we dig into each other and become great acquaintances, sometimes even close friends. Giving props where they are due never takes away shine from you, it only ever adds to your glow. Hopefully Malika, Lorraina and Andrea will learn how to get their shine on much sooner than later.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself and a passion for young women’s empowerment, La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change. Her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and her Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
A relationship can be such a beautiful and fulfilling thing when it is shared between two level-headed and reasonable individuals who trust and respect one another. However, a needy and clingy person can transform the once enjoyable experience of being in a relationship into what feels like a nagging, festering sore. Dealing with a clingy partner in a relationship can be such an annoying and smothering experience and is very uncomfortable for both the “clinger” and the “clingee”. Clinginess is a trait that is commonly associated with women; however, clingy men are just as common. But, what separates neediness from affection and a healthy desire to spend time with your partner? Check out some of these tell-tale signs that you are dealing with a clingy man.
He loses his cool anytime you miss a phone call
Okay, I believe anyone in a relationship would be a tad annoyed when their partner blatantly ignores their calls. It is very disrespectful and inconsiderate. However, if you find yourself in full blown screaming matches with your guy anytime you miss a phone call or you find yourself answering a barrage of questions such as “What were you doing?”, “Who were you with?”, “What was so important that you couldn’t answer the phone?” chances are you guy is on the clingy side.