“Jaymeann, my dear, you should go back on your medication for anxiety and depression…”
I’ve been seeing “Mark” for about a month now and he’s already witnessed me go through so much in the past month: a car accident, a court case, and just about everything in between.
My time with him has been filled with such remarks. All ranging from the way I should grow my hair back out because he liked it more, to how I was always going to be seen as a sexual object to other men. Mark often told me I was far too naive for this world simply because of my optimistic attitude, and found every opportunity to talk over me and prove to me that he knew more about this world than me. There was an 8 year age difference between us, and he never once failed to mention that he was significantly more mature and more aware than I ever will be, telling me listening to heart was a sign of my immaturity and I would grow out of it.
But this comment really caught my attention. For a moment I was in awe of his concern. Thinking “wow, here’s someone looking at me with caring eyes, and wanting the absolute best for me.”
” You’re just far too worrisome, you need to take better care of yourself, for no one is going to want to be with a moody crazy bitch, no one is going to be able to handle it” He continues to speak, as if he knew every single one of my fears and had decided bring them all to life.
I’m speechless, I am angry, livid actually, and I look at him wanting to scream and unleash the wrath that he deserved. The audacity, to not only make comments and judgement about my mental well being but to assume that the actions I made were that to impress a man and that my I took care of myself purely to have validation in the world.
Yet, I stand there not saying a word.
“Fight, Jaymeann, fight, you’re angry, show it, you have every right to be.”
Do I though?
I realize, I’m mad at everything he doesn’t know.
Mark sees my silence as an opportunity to speak what he thinks to be true. But my silence to me is nothing but a reminder of the years I spent being told I wasn’t allowed to be angry, or at least I wasn’t allowed to show it. My anger wasn’t valid because the words that brought me down were spoken out of love ( which eventually I learned was not the case), as if it was suppose to justify their abusive actions. I didn’t have a voice, and I spent my nights writing my feelings whether it be of hurt or of happiness, in journals that I would hide under my bed. It was the only way I was able to say anything at all. But Mark doesn’t know that.
He is also completely unaware that despite how I felt about his words, I couldn’t help but remember that he was in fact correct in my search for validation and that a year ago when I had checked into therapy and started taking medication it was all in hopes to bring back a boy who no longer wanted to love me. He had instilled the fear in me that my new job was going to eat me alive and that he would have broken up with me sooner, but knew if he did, I would have been too anxious to go to my Disney interview. And now I was far too anxious to even begin. I wanted to change so all my new co-workers would like me but clearly I wanted to change for him as well.
Mark keeps talking, now saying that he’s only saying these things because he cares about me, but he’s also just not going to deal with me in this way. Every word out of his mouth is just another fear I’ve been telling myself can’t be true. “You’re not gonna be successful with your anxiety” “People are going to think that you can’t take care of yourself.” I ask myself if he doesn’t know why I’m angry, should I be? But there’s so much more he doesn’t know.
He knows nothing about the strength and comfort I found in myself in the past year, and how I’ve discovered so much about myself. I was walking into a new job constantly replaying the words ” you’re too unstable for this” in my head and was overwhelmed before I even started. But with each new day, each friendly face I met and each step I took, I could walk into that same job and know this is exactly where I’m meant to be. I call Disneyland my home not because it is my life, but it saved my life. I slowly but surely found I no longer was shaking before I walked into a new room, changed my major and found a brand new career path that inspires me to wear a genuine smile every day because I get to do what I love. No longer did I care to make decisions over someone who walked away from my life.
Eventually I was able to forgave my abuser and find solace that my future isn’t going to be anything like their life is. Often I am called perky, giddy, and by Mark, naive; however to look at the world positively and with hope does not make me naive, but instead shows that I choose to live my life with the courage that tomorrow is going to be a better day. I’ve said good riddance to toxic people in my life and have surrounded myself with such wonderful and beautiful people., and have spent my time falling in love with the little things life had to offer me. I no longer ask for help in hopes that it will impress someone who doesn’t love me, nor do I hide my writing under my pillow where no one can see. I use my writing as my voice, and my passion for equality to speak for those who don’t have the chance. My words and my abilities are powerful.
I’ve spent the past year making sure that everyone knows what they feel and what they want to be, is valid; no else needs to tell them that for it to be true. Why should I allow myself to be contained the same walls I had been knocking down for others?
So yes I should be angry, And I have every right to be. I easily could have looked at my time with Mark as a step back in my journey, but I saw it as another lesson I needed to learn.
I’ve learned that I don’t think I’m best able to express my anger through loud voices or cruelty. Anger doesn’t need to be shouted to be seen or heard to even make a difference. I choose to use my anger to educate and make others aware not only the importance of equality, but why it’s important to always be a little kinder than necessary. Even to those who might not deserve it; I find they need it the most
Knowing that I no longer can spend my time with Mark and choosing my battles, I silently look up at him and kiss his cheek and I say nod in agreement. And with the help of a great friend of mine I was able to gain the strength to completely walk away from him the next day.
One might think I would have been disappointed in walking away silently but I didn’t forget that strong feeling of anger and violation; I use it as a motivation to live each day a little better and a little stronger.
My anxiety and depression are still a part of my life, but it is not a part of me. Some days are better than others, but I refuse to be defined by the bad days and more importantly I refuse to be defined by those who believe my actions should be made in order to please them.
One year ago today I was going to crash my car in the hopes that I would not make survive; I didn’t want to live anymore. I reached about 100mph before I started sobbing uncontrollably finally aware of what I was about to do and I finally pulled over to catch my breath and drove to my best friends house instead. Two days later I checked into therapy, and two weeks later I started working for Disney and started the best adventure of my life and remembered how wonderful it is to be alive. All the Marks in the world, may remind me of why I’m scared, but they aren’t going to take away the courage I have to keep on fighting.
So here’s to the past year of being alive.
I’m still here.I’m still alive, and I’m so incredible happy that I am.