Passive to Sassive

In this piece, I had to relate my life to a song, so I picked Grace Kelly, by Mika.

Bio

It was bound to happen: the moment I snapped. Like a bull tired of being teased by the matador in a ring surrounded by crowds against it: my vision went from colour to red alone. I remember it so clearly, the day the last straw was added to the camel’s back. When I arrived in America six years ago, I was sure I had the right mindset to make friends and keep them: a feat I’d never been able to sustain before. I joined a choir, believing that people that sang in a choir would be kind and easier to get along with.

Two notes: Filtering is bad, and choir people are mouthy for a reason. “Aww! She sounds so cute!” came a chorus of reactions whenever I asked our instructor to repeat a few notes on the piano (pun intended). That was the first lance in this bull’s hide. “So like, I guess you’re a big Beatles fan?” was the second lance; I only know the songs ‘Yellow Submarine’ and ‘Twist and Shout’. The third and final was when three sopranos asked me to join them for lunch, which simply turned into a show-and-tell. “She says things really weird, it’s so cute.” “Say that thing again.” I humoured them, but after that lunch, they never invited me again.

I became ‘British’ instead of ‘Gabby’. Nobody wanted to know more about me as a person. I hated being asked questions about England, I’ve never even lived there! I grew up in the Middle East and consider myself Arabic more than anything else… something nobody ever learned about me. Forget the Beatles, I like to listen to belly-dancing music, Mosque singing and Arabic instrumentals.

When the third lance was driven into this once, passive beast, I knew then I would never go back. “Do I look like a doll with a damn string to pull at the back?!” I remember telling anyone that asked me to say ‘funny British words’. “No, -YOU- sound funny!” “Pay me first, then I’ll think about being your little side-show act!” Oh, the sass! Oh, the freedom! This bull was on a rampage, sparing nobody in its path!

“I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky, I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like. Gotta’ be green, gotta’ be mean, gotta’ be everything more. Why don’t you like me? Why don’t you like me? Why don’t you walk out the door!” These are lyrics from Grace Kelly, by Mika. It portrays the excessive change someone can go through to make them appeal to others. But when you mold yourself to try and make other people like you, and it still isn’t good enough, that’s when you cast your middle-most fingers to the sky and kiss them goodbye!

-Do You-

-Be Happy-

Advertisements

Gabby the Half-Yank

Nobody I’ve met so far in America has ever guessed that I am actually Half American. My accent is still so strongly British that it’s almost crazy to imagine my father is from North Carolina. In my younger days, I didn’t really know what an American was. To me, my dad just had a really, really funny British accent. Overseas, when we think about the land of freedom and soaring eagles, we think of either Texas or Hollywood (exclusively those two).

Americans were either jolly, plump-bellied, gun-slinging cowboys, or dolled-up Kens and Barbies. Their depictions were solely found on the television screen, so I didn’t realize America actually existed. All the stories that came from the country itself sounded far too magical to ever be true.

“In America, everyone has a pony.” “In America, everyone is really rich.” “In America, everyone is happy and kind to eachother.” I think everyone, back then, was still in the belief that America was the wild west, but that might have just been what the kids were interested in learning about when I was younger. I was awe-struck when I came to realize that this country was real, and believed I would never, ever, get to see such a wonderland (as it had been described to me).

It turns out, not everyone received the same mental-image when it came to America. Most of the popular children were patriotic Brits to the very core. Our History teacher, Mister Bannister, was a babbling buffoon; he once made a side-remark related to American Idiocy and World Wars: I think that’s where the fad started.

I was quickly singled out. My name was changed (by them) from Gabby to ‘Yank’. What’s a Yank? I thought to myself. I had a very thick, Yorkshirian accent and knew nothing about America, but I was still treated like an alien. No longer did people want to sit with me; I lost many people I once thought of as friends… all because of a silly trend.

A few of the most memorable moments of being picked on by the ‘cool kids’ was having hamburgers thrown at me. “Eat Yank, Eat! That’s what Americans like to do!” Similarly, and perhaps alarmingly, my South African biology teacher got involved, “I bet Gabby eats five times more for breakfast than all of us, because she has American blood in her.” He said. Imagine hearing that as a self-conscious eleven-year-old girl?

I had to be taken out of the British School and put into an American School. It wasn’t much different though. “Can you say wah-tur?” “Why do you say tah-co? It’s Toh-co!” “You sound so funny!” I remember my American co-students saying. I couldn’t escape it, no matter where I went.

Being different taught me patience: it taught me how to feel numb to whatever negativity is thrown my way. Someone is -always- going through something; people are always judging, even if silently in their heads. When I look back, I think I should have just embraced who I was and went on my merry way instead of dwelling over it and running from bullies. If I had then, the knowledge that I have now, I would have simply stood my ground.

Because of my experiences, however: I am immune to that sad feeling that people often associate with criticism. I’ve heard it all and I can happily digest any critique (hopefully constructive) that is made upon me or my work; instead of getting upset or putting myself down, I’d sooner take a deep breath and figure out my next steps to improvement. This is a motto I live by for now and forever.

The Worst Day of my Life

1488642_4154078468395_8288683014229905262_n.jpg

Bio

It was almost four years ago, but I still remember it as if it happened this morning. There I was, sat in my big, pink, fluffy, Hello Kitty pajamas. I’d pulled an all-nighter just to play video games with my friends overseas. Despite being exhausted, I was giddy from all the fun I’d had for the past, countless, hours.

“I’ll be right back guys, gonna grab some food.” I said, putting down my thick headset. I had to de-tangle myself from the many wires which connected to the various things sat on my desk. Once freed, I lazily trod down to the kitchen. Through the large windows in the sacred-grounds-of-food, I could see my parents swimming in our pool and enjoying the Florida sun. I hissed, feeling my nocturnal eyes burning at the mere sight of golden rays embracing the outside world like a dry, hot blanket.

After standing in the light of the fridge (the only light I will accept) for what felt like ten minutes alone, I eventually decided that I had no energy to actually cook something… or even put a sandwich together. Microwave food it is! Swinging open a cupboard, I nabbed the closest thing to me… a tin of hoop-shaped tomato-soaked pasta. It was an easy preparation process; I’d been doing it since I was at least eleven.

Step 1. Grab can opener.
Step 2. Latch can opener onto can.
Step 3. Twist can opener to open can.
Step 4. Dump contents into bowl.
Step 5. Use spoon to scrape any stragglers into bowl.
Step 6. Put spoon to the side, and set the can in the recycle bin.
Step 7. Put bowl in the microwave.

You’d think, after years, and years of doing this, I would eventually remember it off by heart. But no; This story has only a slight happy ending.

After putting the bowl in the microwave, I waited… and waited. “Beep beep beep!” It was ready after a record-breaking one-minute fifty-nine.

Step 8. Remove bowl from microwave… CAREFULLY.
Step 9. Pick up spoon…..

Pick up spoon… Spoon? Hello? Where is spoon? In my tired stupor, I decided not to actually use my eyes to try and find my dear old pal’, spoon. No no, I decided to use my left hand to aimlessly wave around in an attempt to find spoon. It happened in the blink of an eye. It felt like a prick by a needle, then suddenly the empty can was on the floor. But wait, wasn’t it supposed to be in the bin? Oh and well well well, look who comes rolling out of mister can!? SPOON!

Drip…. Drip- A pitter patter can be heard. As my eyes went to inspect the source, I certainly was not prepared to see what I saw. The pinky on my left hand was severed at almost a ninety-degree angle. The can lid had sliced cleanly through it. I screamed like a dolphin out of water and cradled my wound, trying to slow down the red waterfall which relentlessly poured from it. It may or may not be an exaggeration, but I cherish this story with an air of drama unbeknownst to any other.

My parents could certainly hear me from outside and rushed in to see what had happened. They panicked around me, thinking I had lost a finger, or electrocuted myself or… or something!

“Don’t touch it! Don’t touch it! Don’t touch it!” Was all I could scream as I jumped up and down. I knew nobody was going to actually touch my wound, but I was as protective as could be over it. After much convincing, I allowed my dad to see my pinky.

“Holy smokes!” Was the last thing I wanted to hear. Next thing I knew, I was being rushed toward the emergency walk in at the local doctors. The second last thing I wanted to hear was that my nurse didn’t speak much English. As she tried to clean up my finger, I kept asking questions-

“Is it bad?” – “Yes.”
“Will I need stitches?” – “Yes.”
“Will it hurt?” – “Yes.”
“Is there any other way?” – “Yes.”
“Do I really need stitches!?” – “Yes.”

By this point, I was really psyching myself out. I would take literally -anything- other than this. The bin nearby was almost full with bloody bandages, the sight made me throw up. Luckily the nurse was able to grab the bin of bloody bandages and thrust it in my face so that I could throw up in there instead… oh and what a lovely view of bloody bandages. She also bonked the top of my head with the side of the bin.

I was getting drowsy from all of the crying and screaming I was doing. I refused to let my doctor actually assess my finger and do anything with it. This is the case with all of my doctors, as I refuse to be in the same room as a needle.

“This is a nightmare… Remind me to take a day off next time you come here.” I could remember him saying. A few of the nurses were laughing in the corridor, which only made me angry. I know full well I was making a big deal out of nothing, but when you have a phobia… you have a phobia! Eventually I felt sleepy enough to let my guard down. It took my dad having to hold down my arm for the doctor to actually do anything with my poor little finger.

During the process, pictures were taken… I refused to see them until my finger was fully healed. It truly looked like a little pork sausage cut in half and squirted to death with ketchup.

After it was all done, my parents brought their grown-ass daughter a big slurpie and some chocolate for being such a good girl. To this day, I now have a lovely spiral-shaped scar that runs up my left pinky. It serves as a reminder of my worst day ever. The day I got stitches for the first time, when I have a dire needle phobia.

I made the above-photo to commemorate the day I stopped eating hoop-pasta (TOTALLY AVOIDING COPYRIGHTS). When we got home, I daren’t even look at the cold bowl I had prepared two hours prior… and dumped it in the sink with a sense of justice.

Anxiety

So after recently being made aware by my female-health doctor that I am showing symptoms for severe anxiety, I’ve been trying to really watch myself and monitor it a bit more closely. I know I’ve always had anxiety, most likely from being bullied during my childhood, and being antisocial the rest of my life. After reading through the various blogs of Womansday.com, I came across a post which really struck me as familiar.

Blog post here!

I decided to add my response to it. I once took psychology in college, and it is known that one of the best ways to release tension and worry is through speaking out and possibly reaching out to people with similar problems.

Bio

1. How annoying it is when people tell you to “stop worrying about it.”

It’s immensely hard to just let go of something and move on with your life when you are pushed into an anxious state. Your hormonal imbalance and internal chemicals can’t simply turn off, unless of course they are countered by other hormones such as dopamine. Typically, the only way to ‘stop worrying about it’ is for the issue to either be solved, or for some kind of justice to suddenly happen. If something isn’t right, I typically cannot just stand idle, or try to forget about it. It can be anything from little bother to extremes. I personally worry too much about being a good host. As I have not had many people over at my house before, I am desperately trying to make sure my guests are well-fed, well-watered, and comfortable. As soon as I feel like one of those categories are not being satisfied, I go into a horrific panic. It is to the extent where I may have to excuse myself from the room and hold my face for a minute or two to try and calm down. One instance that happened recently was that I had an emergency call to go to work, but I had a friend with me. They reassured me t’ill the point they were blue in the face that they would be absolutely fine on their own for three hours at the mall… Yet I felt a heartbreaking grief that I was abandoning someone to boredom. Throughout my entire shift at work, I was feeling short of breath and stressed out. The clock felt as though it was going backwards from how slow it was. “Stop worrying about it” was what my friend constantly exclaimed, but I worried because it didn’t feel right -to me-.

2. “Maybe” is the worst word in the English dictionary. 

When I’ve suggested something, and someone says ‘maybe’, I immediately worry that I have either upset them, or suggested a boring idea. I can only wish that I took back my words, or that I could just throw my phone/computer away and hide in the darkness for a bit until it all blows over. Rejection was something I knew quite well outside of my family life, so I expect it most of the time when I suggest things. ‘Maybe’ feels like one of those words where the person wants to say no, but in a softer way… or at least a way to get out of saying the truth for now. It leads to overthinking what the person might mean by using it, or what they feel about whatever you’ve said to receive such an answer. The first feeling I get when I hear ‘maybe’ is probably shame, or apologetic. The suspense of wanting to know ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is unbearable at times.

3. How loosely people use the word ‘panic attack’.

I’m actually not too bothered with how people loosely use the word. I am mature enough to understand that a lot of random words are used as adjectives these days. It’s hard to tell who actually means it, and who is just exaggerating. I do know, however, that having a panic attack is not something you want to exactly tell people about afterwords… other than perhaps your mum or dad, or someone close to you that you’re seeking comfort from after the experience. Over the years, I have learned how to tap into my happy-place, which has significantly decreased the amount of attacks I have actually had. Typically, keeping myself busy, or doing artwork/writing has really helped in driving my mind off of the path to really breaking down. I’ve trained my mind to latch onto things and keep moving forward, but sometimes it isn’t moderately easy. For people who don’t exactly know what a panic attack feels like, I’d more or less describe it like a cold fire in your chest. You feel sweaty and bothered, yet your back is very, very cool. No matter how you position yourself, the discomfort is inside. No matter what you tell yourself, nothing is going to be okay. At that moment in time, you fully believe that there are no solutions to problems, and there is no way of getting out of this. Ill-things are happening, and you are desperate for order to be restored; you’ll do or say anything. For that moment in time, you are entirely vulnerable… and if you are in public, you feel totally humiliated. Young, ignorant youths would like to believe this is an ‘edgy’ or ‘dramatic’ way to gain interest, but for anyone who has ever suffered a public episode, most find that people become very uncomfortable and awkward around you. I’ve once panicked at the beginning of a semester in a high-school class, and nobody knew how to talk to me for the rest of the term. Joining in on a group discussion either led to evident silence, or people treating me like a china doll.

4. Waking up in the middle of the night and not falling back asleep because your brain is a spinning wheel of anxiety. 

Most nights, I have to keep my tv playing boring cooking shows to help my brain get numb enough to stay asleep. If I could focus on something other than wordly or personal problems, I might just be able to have a full night’s rest.
“I’m not doing so well in my math class.”
“I won’t be able to get my AA if I don’t get better in math.”
“What if I never get better in math?”
“What if I never get my AA?”
“What if I waste all my parent’s money?”
“Will I make them proud eventually?”
“Will I be able to pay them back for everything they have bought for me?”
“What if I can’t pay them back?”
“What if I can’t get my dream job?”
“What if I am too scatterbrained to be a journalist?”
“What if I never make it far?”
“Look at all this money I am wasting?”
“How am I ever going to move out of the house?”
“Will my brother ever move out of the house?”
“Will my parents always waste their money on us?”
“What if my parents can’t have a comfortable retirement?”
“What if it’s my fault?”
“What if I got in an accident tomorrow that costs a lot of money?”
“What if it’s raining and my car skids over the road.”
“I’m a bad driver.”
“What if I hurt people while I drive.”
“What if I can never live with myself because I hurt someone?”
And then from that point onward, I would begin to draw up multiple, horrific scenarios where I hurt people, and my hormones would make me suffer for it. This is just a brief, summed up chain of questions that could keep me up all night, and cause my panicking to switch into full-throttle. It’s a case of trying to predict every possible outcome. Surprises are not someone with anxiety’s friend. We like to know what is going to happen, so we can be prepared, and feel safe. When I was younger, I used to be in such a turmoil of questioning, that I’d eventually end up pre-living the grief of losing a loved one. I would have to go into the room of whatever family member suffered in my thoughts, and either reassure myself that they were still here and alive, or socialize with them to make sure they were happy. Only then, would I truly be happy.

5. You get anxiety about the tiniest of things.

I don’t see it as ‘triggering’ as the ‘cool-kids-on-the-internet’ see it these days. It’s more like; I’ve overthought it, it’s my responsibility to get back to a comfortable state. I feel silly when tiny things have pushed my anxiety into overdrive. Getting interrupted when I’m trying to talk is probably the most common one for me. I feel as though my words were too boring, and I immediately feel humiliated and ashamed of whatever I was just speaking about. Whether it is a story, or just a piece of information, I feel very worried when I am cut off. Another one is going to the bathroom when I have company over. While I am doing my business, the only thing I can think in my head is; “I am a revolting human being, and I am going to lose all of my new friends if I do this natural thing that everyone does.” It’s a very silly situation that I acknowledge fully when I am not stressed out about it, but it has a heavy effect. To give it a flip-side, I feel weirdly relieved when friends go to the bathroom themselves; it’s almost as if I am reassured that other people go there too, and we are all on the same page now. (Judgement is expected…)

6. You can’t stand being late or early.

There’s nothing more satisfying than being told “You’ve arrived precisely on time!” or being congratulated for existing as impeccably punctual… but there is nothing more dissatisfying than feeling as though you’re letting people down by not turning up at the right time, or feeling like you’ve become a burden of awkwardness by arriving too early. Perhaps it wouldn’t be too much of an issue if charisma was on one’s side, but of course, one was born with the parley talents of a floundering turnip. Hiding in the car might have been a good idea, and this is typically something I resort to. In my mind, there is a very specific time that you have to arrive, in order to be considered a decent human being. That is precisely five minutes after the designated time. After arriving, I feel as though I appear solid to the schedule, yet not ridiculously loose or eager. Perhaps if I arrive with a smoothie drink in hand, it’ll make me look like this wasn’t my only plan for the day. There are a million thoughts which go into the process of making yourself presentable to others, without the worry or anxiety of wandering what they might think about you when you’re not there.

7. If you ever have to cancel plans, you’re afraid everyone will hate you.

The only thing I’ve ever had that comes close to it, is having to turn down a request to cover for people’s shifts at work. Even though my coworkers know it is my day off, and not my necessary responsibility to suddenly drop everything I am doing to cover for someone, I can’t help but feel like the devil for telling people I can’t cover for them. I feel unreliable, lazy, mean, selfish, all the cruel adjectives in the book. I would never cancel because I just want a lazy day, of course, but usually I’d only ever say no if I was being a host. The pain of worry and feeling sorry kicks in. It’ll get so bad that I feel as though I should check in with work, or see if I can do favours for people later on, all until a sense of justice finally arrives to save the day. There has been a time when I had guests sleeping at my house, in my very own room, and I have gotten completely dressed for work at 7am, just in case the regret is too harsh for me to not go to work. I would then of course have to ask my guests if they would be alright with going to the mall or something, while I work– and then the viscous cycle continues of worrying about -them- now. I won’t feel comfortable and less-anxious, unless I know that everyone else is 100% sated.

8. When your anxiety is in full-throttle, and you just shut down.

In moments like these, I need my parents to take care of me. There is nobody else in the world that I want more than my parents when I have entered such a state of hopelessness, that I have almost reverted back to a childlike state that just desperately needs mum or dad. I don’t want to be alone when I feel like all hope is lost, I just want my most loved ones to surround me and help me forget all the problems out there in a world I am only just discovering right now for myself. I remember a time when I was about twelve years old, when I had such a severe breakdown, that I managed to convince myself I was some kind of alien. I didn’t understand how everyone else could be so calm, when I was having all of these questions that simply had no answers at that current moment in time. I remember my parents spent most of the day cuddling and watching tv with me. It became a lot harder to express my anxiety as I got older, but now and then I would still come down and reconnect with my parents to have that sense of sanity and reassurance again. My only advice for this… try not to be alone when you are shutting down, I’ve only found it makes it harder to recover.

9. You have anxious ticks you don’t even notice.

I clench my jaw badly. I clench it so much that my gums tingle, and my molars ache. After bouts of extreme discomfort, I can almost convince myself that if I un-clench my jaw, some of my teeth might fall out. I never grind, I just apply a lot of pressure. I used to get very worried about the health of my teeth, and eventually had to switch to a more sensitive tooth-paste because of it. When I had my wisdom-teeth removed, that certainly didn’t help out at all. With a mouth almost literally clenched shut for a month, getting anxious was very painful indeed, and resulted in the healing process taking much longer than it should have.

10. When too many people are trying to communicate with you at once, your brain feels like it’s about to explode. 

This is one I simply do not relate to. I’m sure if I was that popular, it might effect me, but I’m still quite a closed door. I only chat with people I have grown to trust, which only adds up to a small handful. Even now that I am an adult, I still only have under five people I will actually make an effort to talk to due to my motivational capacity. If I am speaking to someone I have not yet learned to trust, or do not desire to get to know, I start to feel as though my energy is being sucked away. I have to look for a way to escape because I feel I am not prepared to deal with the person just yet. Their intentions seem malicious for now until proven otherwise. Comfort only comes with believing the words people say, and knowing their general motives, in my beliefs. I plan to change this over time, however. Eventually I will be able to learn how to handle various other people without stressing myself out too much.

11. On the flip-side, when no one’s texting you back, it’s definitely because they all hate you. 

When I am trying to communicate with others, and nobody wants to respond… or simply cannot respond, then I start to feel extreme emotions of self-doubt and lack of appreciation for myself. In those moments, I will recluse myself to the arts until I can feel a bit more pride in my independent self. I acknowledge that I have abandonment issues; even having to say goodbye to someone after a good day of fun makes me feel extreme self-loathing. What if I could have made the day better? What if I did just one thing differently? Do they want to see me again? Were they honest to me? These may sound like psycho, obsessive thoughts, but it’s more or less the belief that nobody wants you, and nobody is going to care if you don’t exist anymore. As someone with anxiety, I want to believe people when they say they had a great time, but I simply don’t. It’s part of the reason why I kept myself locked in my room for so long, even after the bullying. The only way to not face rejection, abandonment, or judgement… is to simply not get involved in the first place. You can’t hate someone that didn’t exist, and you can’t hate something that didn’t happen.

12. That sporadic anxiety crying.

This is so real, and it is not a ‘cry’ for attention.
“Stop being a baby.”
“Grow up.”
“You’re an adult…” 
“It’s not that big of a deal.”
“This is pathetic, come on.” 
“It’s not worth crying over.”
These are things I have been told when the crying just happens. My mind is not sad, my mind is not thinking sad things, heck… my mind is just chilling out there… But the situation is heated, tense, or even just a bit uncomfortable-…. “RELEASE THE FLOOD GATES!” Yells a voice in my head. “But why!?” Replies my tear ducts. “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” Retorts the voice, “There’s literally no reason! You’re just going to make us look silly!” The tear ducts complain. “EVERYTHING IS DEFINITELY NOT OKAY-” “-But everything seems fine-” “NOPE.. NOT OKAY..” Then suddenly, tears!  The situation did not call for tears at all… But now that you are crying, all you can do is pray it stops, or that nobody sees you. You feel silly and childish, and all you want is to be able to talk properly, but the anxiety has you held captive. To make matters worse, I personally get a large lump forming in my throat, which stops me from even being able to talk! It’s as if my body doesn’t want me to be in any kind of heated discussion whatsoever, and I’m supposed to either retreat or accept defeat simply because of the messy state I degrade into. This is one of the hardest things to try and explain to people.
“I’m not sad! I don’t want to cry!” You can only think that the person next to you doesn’t believe a single word you’re saying.
I remember a time when I had sporadic anxiety crying while sleeping over at a friend’s house when I was a child, and their father had to awkwardly try to calm me down while I was trying to convey that I just wanted to go home. Of course the lump in my throat made it much too hard, and I had to write down what I wanted on a piece of paper. That memory still makes me toss and turn at night from awkwardness.

13.Those terrible anxiety stomachaches.

It’s more or less like the anxiety one gets from waiting in line to a terrifying roller-coaster… only you’re just going about your normal day. Going to the loo or throwing up does not help this, but you feel like you’ve got five boxes of butterflies inside of you just rearing to burst out. Your intestines are churning and turning, writhing and squirming. I admit, while I write this post right now, I’m currently suffering from one myself. At first, you think it might just be a void that needs to be filled with food- but then you realize that even the thought of food makes you feel sicker. Something isn’t right, maybe you know what it is… maybe you don’t. Sometimes one feels bouts of anxiety from other bouts of anxiety one had a week prior to now, and you simply can’t remember what the other one was about, but now your body feels like it needs to continue the suffering. To accompany the stomachache, some people feel as though their heads get a tad heavier. Resting my forehead on my computer desk was something I couldn’t always avoid when the pain started to trickle in. It feels almost like my body just wants to curl up into fetal position.

14. You freak out if there’s no order in your life.

From worrying about family, to relationships, to work, to my career… If something isn’t going accordingly to plan, or if something feels a bit too wobbly for their own good… All of the above only amplifies. I cannot nourish my body healthily if something isn’t settled. I refuse to sleep when an argument is afoot. I will not experience joy if my grades are failing. And I will not feel peace if my family doesn’t. Justice is my first virtue, and I stay true to that. If I can fix things, or allow someone else to fix things for me, it is only then that my body can relax and function as it should. I know I am very easily irritable and emotionally-flimsy when I know something isn’t right… and that’s what keeps me making the right decisions, in my eyes. Perhaps the paranoia, overthinking, and stress that comes with anxiety causes me to suffer, but it also prepares me to make better judgement on people, as well as choosing better options for myself and the people around me. Through my desperation to feel no pain through this… chemical imbalance… I am motivated and prepared to go to any great lengths to restore order.

I hope I’ve made sense in what I’ve written, and that some people can relate. Perhaps I’ve managed to speak words that others wanted to say- but didn’t know how to write them down? Either way, this is the reality of anxiety. It’s not ‘crazy people stuff’, or ‘attention-seeker material’, it’s internal agony from the lack of proper communication between one’s brain and certain chemicals in the body. After eight years of suffering from it, it took one female-health doctor calculating a few random symptoms I was showing to guess what pain I was experiencing on the inside. I conditioned myself to believe it was just normal, and I was over-sensitive, but I had no idea the effects it was actually having on my body. Don’t stay quiet about it, tell people.

-Alquarien

 

Happy International Woman’s Day!

I’ve never done this before! But I am going to try and catch this wave!

Here’s a sarcastic poem for the chuckles! It’s silly and quick, but I felt like writing it anyway!

Bio

What I love about being a woman

Do I like being a woman?
There’s so much to enjoy.
Allow me to enlighten you,
You’ll wish you weren’t a boy.

Now, some of you will disagree,
until your face is blue.
I know most of you will relate,
This is my point of view.

In public we have decency,
truly, rather dashing.
With powdered nose and dapper clothes,
rosy cheeks a-blushing.

You’ll never believe opposite,
though honestly it’s true.
We all want to be princesses,
despite the things we do.

Men think we have tiny stomachs,
they think it’s rather cute.
But when we’re out with the girls,
Our mouths are a food-chute.

Contrast to what’s said on the net,
the slander young boys pitch.
We can make a whole lot more,
than just a damn sandwich.

Did you know we are magical?
It is a trick of ours.
When we’re told we have five minutes,
It turns into five hours!

Oh, we love to drive in our cars,
watch how fast we will go.
Cars move to get out of our ways,
and beep to say “Hello!”

We do not have to watch T.V,
our lives are a screenplay.
It doesn’t matter where we go,
drama comes anyway.

That’s only scratching the surface,
the list is never done.
Honestly, we have a good time,
and a whole lot of fun.

Alquarien

Who am I?

My name is Gabrielle Jensen, though I go by the name of ‘Alquarien’ through my work.

Why the name Alquarien? Well! I developed it through a -little- game called, World of Warcraft, which actually served as my crippling addiction for 11 years, so it’s bittersweet to keep the name alive, I suppose. Anyway, it was my Night Elf Priest’s name, and it just stuck.

IMG_1072

Any-who, this is me, Gabrielle, though most of my closer friends call me ‘Goobi’. The nickname developed from ‘cool memes’ and regretfully stuck all the way through to maturity. Now I am forever cursed among my fondest companions.

Origins
I was born in Yorkshire, England, and still actually hold my British accent even though I traveled around a lot. I spent a grand total of perhaps a year or two in England itself which typically surprises people. I spent most of my life actually living on a little island within the Middle East known as, Bahrain.

Bahrain is and was a very calm and quiet place. Up until recently, the hot-spot (ironically) was an ice-skating rink on the very edge of the country. I didn’t get out much, and I didn’t make many friends either. I was practically trapped on my computer.

School Life
The only way to make friends in the quiet little island, was to really push oneself into immense extrovert demeanor. Being that I was one of the longest-remaining denizens of Bahrain for my age, I had to watch a lot of people leave or be re-assigned to other countries. Making friends was hard, and I couldn’t keep them for more than 2-3 years.

Sadly, one of the first times I actually pushed out to make a friend, they turned into my worst nightmare. From the age of 11 all the way until about 15, I was bullied to a horrific extent for not only being introverted, but also for being half-American. The bullying got to such a terrible point, that I had to be escorted to my classes by a school security guard. It was then that I realized sitting behind my desk was my safest option.

The Internet
My dad was quite the gamer, introduced to various games by his coworker. I used to play with my dog on the carpet behind his desk while watching the screen flicker with various intriguing activities.

There was one game that stood out among others though. World of Warcraft- The bane of many introverts. At first, it was just an experiment; I was only 9 at the time, I couldn’t play it properly at all. My dad used to let me fish on his character in exchange for pocket money in the real world. A fantastic deal, to be honest.

While dad was at work, I would be ringing him up at a constant with various questions like- “What do I do in the second quest?”, or, “How do I invite people to my group?”. Although it really annoyed my dad, I know for a fact that he was somewhat glad I was safe at home instead of out with a ‘bad crowd’.

Playing Warcraft continued, and literally never stopped. I missed loads of opportunities to make new friends. I missed loads of events. I missed real life happiness. My first meaningful and physical relationship didn’t start until I was twenty.

Art and Literature
One thing that really helped my through my struggles with introvert life, was certainly art and writing. As soon as I got into Warcraft, I also got into role-playing and story writing.

There was something about creating an online persona to interact with people that felt so right. It felt as if I could live a whole new life in this fantasy world. Don’t get me wrong, my family gave me a fantastic life. I wish I could go back to show them how much I appreciated what they provided for me. What I mostly wanted though, was self confidence. It’s one thing being given all the tools to create a great life for yourself, but it’s another thing trying to form the confidence and motivation to actually use them.

I role-played from lunch to dinner, then from dinner all the way until breakfast the next day. I refused to sleep, I was so addicted to talking to people all over the world and forming this long-distanced social life that felt so real to me in every way, shape, and form. One thing I kept from that experience all the way until now is horrific, black bags under my eyes. No make up in the world can reverse those! (But if you know a way, do let me know.)

My parents didn’t appear to like what I was doing, but we always relied on the motive- ‘at least she isn’t doing drugs or hanging out with bad people’. Heck, my dad even agreed to pay for my subscription if I agreed not to do stupid things to my body. It was a fair trade. Essentially, I was a perfect child other than the fact I was lifeless. I was obedient, I had good grades, I was healthy, safe, smart, I appeared happy… but one thing I always kept to myself was that I wasn’t happy with myself. I felt regret.

Art and literature was my way of feeling self-appreciation. There were days when I would wallow around in self-pity, and then suddenly produce a piece of art. The likes and comments I received from my creations was almost intoxicating. Knowing that people appreciated me, when I barely appreciated myself, was too good to be true. I developed, and developed, and developed, until I could sell my work- which gave me immense happiness.

America
Building my confidence wasn’t such an easy thing to do. Even when I moved to America a few years ago, I didn’t feel all too great about myself. At first I believed ‘a new country, a new start’, but that wasn’t the case at all. High School was a total disaster. Although I did make a friend or three, that I believe I will never lose, I felt like I was almost reliving my younger days.

Basically, I was segregated for having a British accent. People were fascinated by me, but that was it. I always got the typical- “Ooh, say this!”, “Do you watch Doctor Who?”, “Do you like tea?”… and that was it. There was no relationship-building… no in-depth learning of who I am. I was British, and that was who I was… not Gabby… I was British.

College wasn’t all too different, but you’re not really given much opportunity to make friends there. Classes were short; you weren’t allowed to talk. There were a few times where I thought I could push myself to make friends, but it ultimately just made me more anxious.

Slowly, I started to creep into online classes, trying to stop physical classes altogether to avoid the nervousness that came from interacting with other people… it had to stop.

Volunteering
Community Involvement. That was the class I took in the spring of 2016 at the age of 20. It was one of the classes which seemed like it was just going to be an easy A for doing minimal work… boy was I wrong. Little did I know, that class was about to change my life.

I was a nervous wreck, clutching to my phone for dear life. Honestly, I treated that device like an oxygen tank. Whilst appearing all tensed up, someone actually spoke out to me. I looked up to see a man around my age sat down by the side of the classroom, waiting for it to open. I was so caught up in my phone and blocking out the outside world that I didn’t hear what he said.

I pulled out an awkward face from my plethora of ‘faces to make when you don’t really understand how to be a Human being like everyone else’. He smiled and repeated what he said. He was asking for the time of the class, which I replied to appropriately. I thought that was it- but then he asked another question! He asked why I was taking the class.

My sweat was sweating, and I was trying my best not to look at my phone as a safe haven. I replied with something typical like “seems like an easy class, you?” The way he spoke told me that he was a confident person, and it radiated over me like fresh sunshine! (Something I am having to take in vitamin D pill-form due to never going outside.. ha.) He was elaborate, and certainly knew what he was talking about.

I gotta stick to this person like glue somehow, I wanted to learn how to talk like that to a complete stranger. Sadly as we sat down, I pulled out my phone and dove into the internet to recover from the heart-attack I was about to have due to conversing with someone I didn’t know.

The whole class-period, all I could think about was different way to chat to this person after class. Would it be weird to say “Hello” a second time? Would he find me annoying if I started chatting to him out of random? Maybe he only spoke to me earlier because he was bored- or thought I might have been a chatty person. These are the kinds of dilemmas introverts are faced with… what do you say!?

At some point in the class period a volunteering opportunity plopped up. The Brevard Renaissance Fair, (Faire, it feels so weird typing American-English). Like a torpedo, I launched at the guy who spoke to me before class and asked him if he would like to cooperate with me at the Fair. To my delight, he agreed! (I even got his number!). He walked me alllll the way to my car- well, we parked next to each other sorta- (It was fate!)

As soon as I came home, I told my mother that I actually reached out to someone, and the only thing she could tell me (other than how proud she was of me) was- DO NOT TALK ABOUT WARCRAFT.

The weeks went by, and I really put myself out there with the Renaissance jobs. I ended up doing over 150 hours in two weeks (which I will blog about in different posts). As my friendship with this new person and volunteer group grew, as did my self-confidence and appreciation.

Romance
It’s almost baffling to think that if I didn’t ‘torpedo’ out to that guy on the very first day of meeting him, I might not be as happy as I am right now. Heck, I might have even quit the Community Involvement class altogether due to lack of self-confidence. He was shocked to find out I had never had an actual physical boyfriend before, and was humbled to be my first. It was incredibly good karma/fate/destiny/luck that I managed to reach out to a genuinely good person straight off the bat.

Journalism and Blogging
At first I wanted to be a Video Game designer, due to my addiction to Warcraft. But slowly over the Spring term of 2016, I realized that was a silly reason. It gave me a lot of anxiety to think about designing games, because it wasn’t really my passion. I liked to play games, but I didn’t have the mental capacity to go through programming and design classes in order to pull it off.

The military became an option for a while. The air-force in particular. My new friends and family talked it up quite a lot. It seemed like a great place to go in order to acquire life-long skills and confidence. Besides, I was failing math and getting my masters in Game Design was looking as good as roadkill in a ditch on a dreary day.

Then it hit me… I like to write…. I’ve been writing since I was able to use a keyboard… what could I possibly do to turn my interests into a career? Journalism.

From that moment forward, I have been aspiring to do the very best I can to try and make Journalism my career. From writing reports, to advertising, to writing short stories. I will do whatever it takes to feel accomplished.

With this new-found confidence, I am looking forward to my journey ahead. 
-Gabrielle Jensen

What am I getting myself into?

logos

After speaking to a career guidance councilor about my passion for journalism, I felt truly motivated to start all this up… there was just one thing I wasn’t prepared for.

Facebook! Twitter! LinkedIn! Sign up! Sign up! Sign up!

Being so detached from social media, I had no idea what I was about to plunge into. Initially I thought there was going to be maybe a website or two I would have to sign up for in order to get the ball rolling- but apparently I needed about five or seven different programs running all at once!

It’s going to be a rocky start, but I feel like I can at least post once… maybe twice a week to keep motivated and up to date.

Here’s to hoping I don’t drown under all these memberships!