Sadness

Depression happens the same way you fall asleep. Slowly, then all at once. Sooner than later you can’t remember when it began. All you know is you’re lost, confused, and completely bat shit crazy with sadness. My mind is strong, but my brain is a fragile, helpless little thing – hellbent on its own destruction.

I thought it was homesickness. And I did miss my home. I felt isolated from my loved ones and from community and my weeping could all be contributed to loneliness. But when I went home, I missed New York. I missed the Puerto Ricans, the punks, and the heroin addicts that made noise in my street. Ohio wasn’t my home anymore and I had begun to create a life for myself without even knowing it. Then it was the boys, the one I love out of habit and the other that I am totally infatuated with. Neither one of them want me, really. They sleep with me and ignore me, and ignore me then sleep with me. And the pattern just continues like this, reminding me that I am still 17 and stuck under the thumb (or, penis if you prefer) of some careless self-obsessed man-child. Between the two of them, I am invisible. I make noise to get attention. I cry, and scream, and throw things, proving that I am still the craziest one in the room, unable to move forward because I am always slipping back into bad habits.

My job only worked to confuse my brain into thinking depression and anxiety were two radically different things. For 40-45 hours a week I move back and forth between being belittled by my boss and being screamed at by clients. It is continuous game of pingpong and I am the ball. I am never prepared to take the hit, so I just fly across the room into the face of the next paddle. I shake from nervousness on the train to work, shake violently during my 30 minute lunch as I try pathetically to gum my banana, and then weep on the F train all the way to Brooklyn. Anxiety, a foreign feeling of high alertness which gave way to the familiar feeling of absolute hopelessness. The two coincide with each other, but are at the same time very different – like twins. They may look and sound the same, but they move through the world in their own horribly unique way.

I have probably struggled with depression my whole life, I just didn’t always know the word for it. When I was a little girl, I remember crying and crying. Crying so hard over things so little that it left my parents confused and astonished. I would write things in my diary like, “Today I didn’t get picked to play T-Ball, I am heart broken.” and I probably really was. I also remember the days, weeks, maybe even months, when my mother wouldn’t get out of bed. I’d come home after school and drop by book bag by the stairs. I still remember climbing the stairs two at a time, holding onto the railing and using it to pull myself up before I jumped onto the landing, my pig tails bouncing wildly behind me. I would push her bedroom open gently and peer in, Mama I’m home from school, and she would open one eye and groan sadly in confirmation. Somedays I would draw her pictures, leaving them in piles beside her bed. I have never been a stranger to depression, only to the notion that it is abnormal or a part of life that can actually be controlled.

As a teenager, sadness showed itself in the form of self-loathing, inadequacy, and rage. I hated myself with such intensity that at times it felt like my brain was actually crumbling inside my skull and that I was inevitably unraveling into nothingness. I couldn’t control my emotions. Everyone thought I was crazy. I was funny, so no one really cared that I was a such a bitch. It’s a fact that people will always forgive you of your sins if you can make them laugh. I read moody teen literature where the main character was always in some psych ward for cutting or making herself sick. The books just gave me ideas, and I liked both of them. Cutting distracted me from the mental pain and bulimia made me feel good in a way that I still can’t quite describe. It took all of the noise away and left a gentle buzzing in my ears that made me feel separate and apart from my body. I have always liked that feeling. Vomiting is gross and pressing a razor to my legs left suspicious little scars so eventually I had to stop. I learned young that drugs, alcohol, and even sex can be used to keep the sadness at bay, but it will always find you.

Irritation is another sign that sadness is on the forefront. A sideways look, an unanswered call, anything can make me snap. I am a reactive ball of fury and I mad with the urge to fight and yell. I am exhausted by my own anger. I cannot trust my own perception and my brain keeps deceiving me. I am not to be trusted, I am paranoid and confused and bound to blow at any moment.

Today, I lay in my bed and count the days until my prescription can be filled. I tried everything – mediation, vitamin D supplements, eating healthy, exercise, and prayer but none of it was a match for my sadness. Depression is the elimination of light. There is nothing at the end of the tunnel when it hits. There are no good days, no sun, no love, there is nothing but the weight of hopelessness – and it is crushing. Sure, there are ways to treat depression without medication but where does anyone get the energy for that? It took everything I had in me to get out of bed this morning and I spent my last bit of willpower pulling this computer onto my lap and writing these words. There are a lot of people out there who do not believe in medication and I think they are fucking crazy. Here’s the truth, mood disorders are not personality flaws they are chemical imbalances that need help to be corrected, and that’s okay. So take it from me ladies, sometimes it’s more than PMS or the weepies, sometimes it’s serious and to that I say fuck diamonds, because Lexapro is woman’s best friend.

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Cool Story, Bro.

It was a quarter past two when we left the bar. I had been drinking with a friend from work and his roommates. Alcohol can play tricks on the mind and at that point my beer goggles could have made Gary Busey look like Channing Tatum. This may have been the reason why I agreed to leave with my friend’s little brother. He was, of course, an unapologetic bro, complete with a cut off tank top and a backwards hat. He wasn’t my usual type but after a long night of tequila and cherry bombs my standards had dropped tremendously.

I don’t remember what we talked about on the long walk to his house. For all I know we could’ve been walking in complete silence. Although, I was probably talking he may have only been responding with grunts or nods of agreeance that said, “I don’t care, but I look like I do.” In reality, we would have had nothing to say to each other. I’m a free thinking modern feminist and he well, likes to wrestle when he’s drunk. The first time I met him I was taped to his best friend. We were playing edward forty hands and our hands were taped together around two forties of warm Budweiser. He was on crutches because he had recently had some kind of surgery. He hobbled up to me, lifted his crutch up off the ground and poked me in the crotch with it. He didn’t even blink as he continued to crutch me in the crotch. He just stared at me for a moment before putting his crutch back on the ground and hopping away. I must have forgotten this strange little incident when I decided to go home with him.

When we got to his house, things got weird. He didn’t say much, he just walked straight to the back of his house, found his dog, and hugged it for a very long time. I started to feel uncomfortable, as if I was intruding on some shared romantic moment. I walked into the kitchen and asked the first person I saw if I could use a cup for water. He looked at me and said, “Well we don’t have any clean cups, but we have bowls.” So there I was, standing in an unfamiliar space drinking from a bowl and watching this guy practically make out with his dog.

We stumbled up the stairs and upon entering his room he announced with great pride, “Isn’t my room great?” He was being serious. “Uh, yeah.” I managed, fighting back the laughter, “It sure is something.” Still reveling in the glory of his bachelor pad he turned on his speakers and proceeded to play dub-step at max volume. Nothing dries me out faster than wompy beats and base loud enough to rumble an entire house. I was sitting on his bed trying to keep my head from exploding as he stood with his back to me. His arms were stretched out horizontally with his hands clenched into tight little fists as his head bobbed up and down to the music. It was easily one of the strangest things I had ever seen. Just when I thought he might stand there forever, he turned around and ripped off his shirt. He stood there for a moment and stared at me. No one had ever made me feel like prey the way this kid did. With out blinking his eyes seemed to say, “You ready for this?” and I know mine must have been saying, “Oh god, no.” He grabbed a condom and jumped on the bed.

With the condom still in hand he kissed me. He kissed me until someone kicked open the door. It was his roommate, “Hey dude, you got any rubbers?” “Here, take this one!” I offered up the one in his hand. “Oh damn, you’re not using it?” He winked at me, “nice!” I explained to them both that I actually needed to leave because I had much more important things I could be doing at 4:30 in the morning like, not having sex with this gorilla. His roommate left and he looked defeated. “Are you serious? That’s so dumb.” He wined. “Yeah I’ve got to go but thanks for having me!” Before I could even sit up he was on his feet standing at the side of the bed. He dropped his pants and began to move his hips in a semi-circle which sent his penis wagging back and forth. My mouth dropped. “You don’t want this girl? Are you sure you don’t want some of this?” Oh yes, I’m quite sure I don’t want that. I was absolutely speechless. I’ve witnessed men do a lot of strange things but this one took the cake. If this was some kind of strange new dating ritual I wanted none of it. He must have noticed the disgust on my face because eventually he stopped and pulled his pants back up. He laid down on the floor and began to pout. I tip toed over him grabbing my jacket and then my shoes. When I bent over to grab my purse he stuck is arm in the air and grabbed my left butt cheek. He started slapping and grabbing it. I jerked my head around to look at him and still he continued, with out blinking and with out emotion. Okay, this is getting weird. This guys a psycho and I have to get out of here. He was still laying on the floor when I jumped over him and scurried out of his room and into the night. It was warm so the mile and a half walk wasn’t bad. I was comforted with the thought that at least I wouldn’t be sharing a bed with a horny robot.

The next morning his brother called me, expecting I would still be at his little brother’s house. When I explained that he had terrified me with his wiener dance so I left, he seemed hurt. It was a how could you not fuck my brother kind of disappointment that I was unfamiliar with. I don’t know what turned me off more, his actions or the fact that his eyes were glazed over with a brain dead haze the entire time. Either way, this experience begs me to ask the question: What is wrong with young men? Seriously, why do they think they can just run around like horny animals all the time? It’s sick, but what’s even sicker is I’m sure there are girls who actually sleep with guys who act like this. When did the college sexual experience trade in a mutual exchange of pleasure and emotion for 5-7 minutes of mindless jackhammering, or is this the way it’s always been? My point is that most young men seem like they could care less about making the woman they’re with feel good. Sex has become less of a partnered act and more of masturbation with the help of a vagina. So ladies, next time you’re standing at the bar or waiting around a party clenching your red solo cup and a beefy guy in a pink polo catches your eye, keep walking. You can do better, and you are no bro hoe.

College Mating Rituals: Grinding

I want to first begin by informing you that I got this picture off of secretsofclubdance.com and no, that is not a joke. It’s a step by step guide on how to look like a total jackass in the club while at the same time impressing that hot chick who’s throwing up in the nearest trashcan. Cool, bro you won’t even need roofies!

As a senior in college I am no stranger to the club scene or the choice of dance for this generation, I’m speaking of course about grinding. Sure, the roaring 20’s gave birth to Swing, the 50’s had the Sock Hop, The 70’s brought with it the disco era, but what does generation Y have to show for itself? Grinding, the act of assuming an ass up position so that some gelled up frat boy can rub is crotch all over it, awesome!

Now, ladies I know very well that grinding isn’t always a consensual act. Most of us don’t slip on our highest heels and swallow down our cranberry vodkas hoping all the while that some strange man will sneak up behind us and begin dry humping. So why then do we let it continue? Instead of being straightforward with the unwanted hopefuls who approach us on the dance floor, we devise exit strategies. My personal favorite strategy is when a girl feels a man slide up behind her and instead of telling him, “NO.” She latches onto her friend and explains that, that’s her girlfriend, “and she gets really jealous, sorry!” I mean, exactly whom is that supposed to help? Another good one is when the female senses she’s been spotted by an eager male, becomes frightened and sandwiches herself in between her two nearest girl friends, forming some kind of awkward wiggling conga line. Smooth, really smooth, until of course he comes back.


The sobberish girls have all kinds of strategies and defense mechanisms up their sleeves and are also aware that there is safety in numbers. Sadly, the drunker girls are slower and they often find themselves cut off from the pack, unfortunately this is a great opportunity for a herd of testosterone ridden males to descend upon her, leaving her absolutely defenseless from their sloppy gyrations. If you think I’m making this sound like a national geographic narration, it’s because I am. Everytime that I’m dancing with my friends and I see random men making moves towards us I genuinely feel like cattle at a watering hole. I mean let’s get real ladies, there is something seriously wrong with thinking that it’s okay for a total stranger, who reeks of menthols and Natty Ice, to grab you by the hips and rub his penis all over you. I don’t care if he has jeans, athletic shorts, and boxers over top of it, it’s nasty.

Grinding is such a clear way of objectifying women. “Oh, look dude there’s one! I have absolutely 0 impressive dance moves, but let me just walk up behind her. She will totally go home with me after that!” I don’t know who’s filling the heads of these neanderthals but they must be insane. I would love to believe that college boys are completely delusional and this doesn’t actually work, but I know that it does. In reality, college clubs are simply meat markets. Girls suck down cheap liquor, get dry humped, and then are most likely taken advantage of. It’s quite downing when you realize that instead of getting filled with information in college, young women are mostly being pumped with liquor, roofies, and social ideals that work to degrade us. If you’re not comfortable with allowing a man you don’t know to violate your space, let them know. So ladies, the next time you’re out with your friends and some Joe Shmoe tries to get on it, instead of sparing his feelings just give him a reality check.