Straight from my journal, live and in living print.
As I triumph and tumble through my 20’s, I’ve had a lot of “ah-ha” moments about different things. One of the more recent realizations has been about friendship. I think most people have something they yearn for throughout life that sets up a pattern of behavior and in my case, I’ve always wanted that classic “BFF;” like the ones you see on TV. You know, the “Shawn” to my “Cory” (“Boy Meets World”)? The friend that uncannily understands you, grows with you as opposed to apart from you and you two bicker once every blue moon? Some may say that type of friend is rare or doesn’t exist, but as cynical as I tend to be, I’ve always believed in the concept because of how often I’ve seen it in daily life and it seemed like everyone had that classic friend but me. Most of grade school, I was always the least popular kid; I didn’t fit in for some silly reason or another. I got separated from the one kid who was my partner in crime due to being a “navy brat (my searches to find her on social media have been unsuccessful).” Anyhow, being low on friends lead me to invite anyone into my life that would be nice to me. This wasn’t a great idea. Long story short, I tolerated a lot things I shouldn’t have and was hesitant to end relationships because either I was scared I wouldn’t make any new friends or it felt like I would be wasting years of time and effort. I should’ve taken the leap while I was still in the large social world that was college, because it’s harder to make new comrades you can deeply connect with once in the workforce.
I’ve realized how much various relationships gradually and insidiously brought me down, and when you’re already cynical and have an ongoing battle with depression, it’s a formula for disaster. Things can get especially tricky with friendships in your 20’s, as most 20-somethings have a lot of self-absorption, arrogance, insensitivity and self-righteousness that they’re oblivious to.
You have friends that will tell you how to behave, nitpick at everything you do, convince you you're crazy, strange, need to change and that everything is wrong with you. They’ll make you inadvertently (and sometimes purposely) feel bad about yourself; see every flaw in you. Use the things you’ve told them in confidence to judge you or take digs when it’s convenient. In the least, they’ll fail to repay the love and respect you’ve given them. It will be hard to dissociate and say goodbye because they were all there for you at some point, but that was some point. Once they no longer meet emotional needs, they're taking up space. I used to hate the adage that some are around for a “season and a reason” because I've always believed that loyalty is a part of true friendship, but not everyone operates that way, unfortunately. Not everyone has the same expectations of their friends or the same definitions of friendship. Some fail as a friend, not because they're bad or disloyal people, but because they don't know how to be a friend. There are more people in this world who have never been truly loved and don't know what it is to be bonded to another, than those who do. Most spend their life chasing that type of thing. Whether or not you have sympathy for their lack of knowledge and the patience to try to show them what it means, is it up to you, but know that it's a very difficult task and your pupil may never learn.
It will be easy to accept poor friendships or behavior because you don’t know that there’s something better. After a couple of these bad boys, you’ll think this crap is the norm and Shawn Hunter isn’t out there, but he is. Try making friends in a setting unorthodox to you. Shawn may be of a different background or culture than you. He might be that kid next to you in class, church, work or hell, Wal-mart. You never know. I think I’ve finally found Shawn; let’s hope I’m right. We met in the most unusual, unexpected way. So far, this is one of the best friendships I’ve ever had and it only made my peer history insights more vivid. I’m already seeing a positive transition in my attitude and perspective. It’s funny how much a simple change in scenery (or in this case, camaraderie) can make a world of difference.
Being the Kelly Clarkson fan I am, I follow her Facebook news feed. On February 8th, her team posted her two upcoming People Magazine covers (week of February 18th) in which the headline was “I Found Love At Last!...Finding Mr. Right.” I was flabbergasted for a few reasons. In 2010, I wrote an article about how magazines with a mostly female audience over-emphasize sex and romance as opposed to self-accomplishment and growth.
Being the girl-power singer Clarkson is, I’m surprised she would feed into such a bad media habit (granted there may be more to her feature than the headline indicates). Secondly, I wonder why she would do that type of cover story as if an engagement break or divorce can’t happen. How foolish would she feel if they split or had a bitter ending? She would’ve publicly declared that she figured dating out and found “Mr. Right,” only to appear to be really wrong. Once footballer Roy Williams became singer Kelly Rowland’s ex-fiancé, Rowland said she felt “embarrassed” for repeatedly publicly gushing about her engagement and covering Modern Bride
, vowing to keep her future private relationships private.
I’ve never understood why celebrities advertise their relationships with cover stories and joint interviews. What’s the story there? So what, you’re in love. I thought they didn’t like everyone being in their business. I find it especially obnoxious when they arrogantly imply they have invincible, eternal love or make the same declarations about their current partner that they did about the last three. Maybe you should stop falling in love like a high-school student, but that’s another article. Actors Nicole Kidman & Tom Cruise reportedly claimed to People Magazine that they would “be on their honeymoon for the rest of their lives.” Are they dead, because I’m pretty sure their honeymoon is over. As a matter of fact, isn’t Cruise ending is third honeymoon with Katie Holmes, whom he notoriously giddily jumped on Oprah’s couch about? Unless you’re shipping a project or overcame some hurdle together, like a severe illness, why are you promoting your relationship again?
Future bitter breakups all over this cover
Considering the buzz it creates, you would think celebrities would be the ones to publicize their romantic entanglements the most, but they have nothing on everyday people. It’s crazy how many of our loved ones make shrines to their relationships out of their social media pages. I know one person who every other status or photo is about or of their boyfriend. The boyfriend comments on everything and they actually go back and forth having comment conversations that everyone can see. It makes me wonder…Is your relationship for you or me? The way some people plaster it, you would think their relationship was a product or service. I also want to ask “do you have an identity outside of your relationship? Most people use sites like Tumblr or Facebook to show their interests. You can learn a lot by looking at someone’s social media page. If look at my Tumblr, you’ll learn that I battle with depression, love music (especially Beyonce` & Demi Lovato), voted for Obama, watch General Hospital (recast Jason!) and love High School Musical. If I look at some people’s pages, all I’ll learn is that they’re in a relationship. Guess that’s who they are. And of course, if they break up with their beloved, all of the sudden they’ll be hush-hush. The moral to this story, kids, is that when you publicize your relationship, not only are you inviting everyone into your business, but you look foolish and like you’re defining yourself by your mate.
J.Says answers another advice question she received. "From your personal & psychological perspective, what do you think will happen to my niece as she gets older? Her parents nit-pick & criticize her every move and she is only 8. What do you think the end result will be?"-Marchelle (recorded prior week)
To submit questions for J.Says, click the "Contact/Info" tab and fill out the form. J.Says is NOT a licensed therapist. Follow advice at your own discretion. *Note: This video was moved from a another section.
J.Says responds to an advice question sent to her: "Do relationship titles really matter?"-Jessica T. Hit the "Contact/Info" tab to submit questions for J.Says. J.Says is NOT a licensed therapist. Follow advice at your own discretion. *Note: This video has been moved from another section.
One's self concept is sometimes aligned with how others perceive you; sometimes it's not.
Straight from my journal, live and in living print.
I CANNOT STAND IT when people will not let you acknowledge your sadness, anger or irritation. It INFURIATES me when I’m ranting about something or say I’m having a so-so day and people AUTOMATICALLY respond to my statement(s) with something like “it could always be worse,” “just be grateful you have another day” or “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” and proceed to tell me I’m being negative, pouting or whining. THAT’S SO FREAKIN’ INVALIDATING! Furthermore, yes, it can always be worse, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the current situation sucks. Even if I make lemonade, the stuff is still going to taste sour. If someone survives a mugging at gun point, it could’ve been worse by them losing their life, but it doesn’t change the fact that a mugging is a traumatic, awful experience AND you’ve lost your belongings. If you want to help me the see the light at the end of the tunnel or feel hopeful, how about you let me rant, say “yeah, that really freakin’ sucks” and THEN offer some type of solution? And when you offer an anecdote, how about it be one that doesn’t involve me acting like the situation isn’t so bad (ex. “it could always be worse”, assuming I even want advice as opposed to just a listening ear)? Also, don’t tell a ranting person that they’re pouting, whining or negative- it’s invalidating and implies there’s something wrong with having a particular emotion. If you communicate to someone that it’s wrong to have an emotion, they will internalize their feelings and shut down. They won’t speak on or express it at all. So, now they’ll be pretending to be happy and deal with frustration privately (this can be especially dangerous if you’re dealing with a person with depression). It’s my party and I can cry if I want to.
What it sounds like when you speak
Straight from my journal, live and in living print.
I had lunch with friends and everyone was taking turns updating the group on what’s new in their lives. I hate the update merry-go-round, especially when things aren’t going as well in my life as I want them to. Not necessarily because I’m embarrassed about anything, but because I don’t always feel like getting interviewed about my life or going into some in-depth discussion. Save that for therapy. Anyhow, when it was my turn to update, I failed at ducking and dodging. It came up that I’m still heartbroken and hung-up on my ex. I then was given a sermon on how I need to move on and date some other guy to do so, which I’m already opposed to. I just want to be left alone. This is MY process and I can’t be on anyone else’s healing clock; everyone is different in what it takes for them to recover from and cope with loss. If I could be “over it” instantaneously, I would. Sometimes it makes me want to stay where I am emotionally because of external pressure. I want to move because I want to and I’m ready to, not because someone told me it’s time. I’m also over people telling me how much value and energy I should assign to this situation. No one gets to define what’s important to ME. Invalidating my feelings or what’s important to me isn’t going to make me feel empowered; it’s exactly the opposite. I feel bullied instead of supported.