Age discrimination

Hi! I’m 28 years old. I was told this summer that “I look 15” & therefore, my comments do not apply! Yes, this has been my life. This has been the way that I have been treated by people older than me MY ENTIRE LIFE. I am almost thirty now and I am still made to feel this way by women older than me.

I was treated this way as a child. To the point that I said almost nothing at all because I was taught by adults’ reactions to me that my opinions are unimportant. It was not until third grade that an adult made me feel smart & important. I had a third grade teacher that gave me praise for my work and school has been my favorite place ever since. Finally there were adults that cared about what I had to say, even if it was just me having figured out the answer to a math problem and had the opportunity to answer it correctly in front of the class.

All of my close friends look like me- my age, cute, somewhat fit, skilled at fashion/makeup, most of us are pretty short too. We find each other because we are all we have! We are also similar in that we are all motivated, successful, and educated. I find that we end up NOT being friends with people who show any kind of jealousy. With jealousy, there is insecurity. Insecure women are threatened by women like us. Confident, pretty, and successful in our careers. They find any opportunity to make us feel less than. It is highly disappointing when it comes from someone you respect, because now you can no longer respect them.

The woman who decided to tell me that I look like I’m fifteen, was an old friend’s mom’s good friend- or someone that I grew up knowing, someone I’ve respected my whole life. She has always treated me well and I really liked her. But now, we find ourselves in a conversation about diets and Lasik surgery and my input about trying the keto diet for Lent was taken badly. Diets are not for someone like me, how dare I enter that conversation, how dare I have an interest in foods and nutrition and the biochemical process of metabolism when I look like I’m fifteen. All of the jealousy, all of the insecurity, all of the comparing of choices that I made to yours are all echoing around your dismissive comment of “well, you look like you’re fifteen”. And that’s the form that discrimination takes when you’re a successful, childless, attractive woman. You don’t get to live freely. You have to live knowing that you are hated by most of the women that surround you. And they want you to know it, too.

It happened again the other night. I was out with friends who are in their thirties, a few years older than me. After the woman next to me made some comments about how smart watches are stupid and pointless (after I talked about some good deals I found and that I was going to buy myself one for early Christmas), the group was discussing whether or not they liked day drinking. The guys seemed to like it and I disagreed and said that it makes me feel tired. The woman who hates smart watches, about five years older than me, decides to chime in with a “it gets worse. If you think it’s bad now, wait until your my age” and I said, “ok, I said that I don’t like it now…” slightly annoyed with her negativity directed at me and only me, and not at all directed at the men, who are older than both of us, and do like it. She said, “sorry, but it gets worse. I’m just saying” Shocked because I didn’t expect those jealousy/insecurity comments to come from a beautiful thirty-something woman who I considered a friend, I made a face that showed my discomfort in the comment and said something like, “yay… so excited for my life now…” and my opinion of her from “someone who had their life together, a successful job, a beautiful family, a possibly good friend” shifted completely into “another addition to my list of frenemies” (women I have to pretend to be friends with that have made clear negative comments about how clueless I am and how I am so young and naive. People who use me to make themselves feel wise and superior in comparison).

So this is the price I have to pay for being the way that I look and the age that I am. Here were a couple recent examples, but it’s much more common than you’d think. My years teaching were the worst. The comments were aggressive and gut-wrenching. I was diagnosed with situational anxiety because of them. And yes, it’s probably why pretty girls are mean.

Miss Rambly

Hello, it’s been a while! I went out with an old friend the other day and I just felt… rambly! Not only did I feel like I was rambling and not making sense to her, but I was annoyed with myself! Maybe it’s that I was excited to be out with a girlfriend one-on-one after I hadn’t in quite a while and we had so much to possibly discuss, so much to catch her up on, but I couldn’t help thinking “damn, do I know how to have a normal conversation anymore?” At that point, I started just asking her questions about herself. It’s hard for me to keep track of if I am doing all of the talking, if I am talking about myself and my own life too much & not asking about hers enough or if she was able to chime in enough that I didn’t have to worry about that . Was I nervous? Am I just more self-aware now? Did I go back to my old high school ways because I was talking to a high school friend and now I’m finally realizing that I need to shut the hell up?

Naturally, I ramble. My brain rambles when I’m alone with my thoughts & when I feel comfortable with someone, I just ramble out loud to them. I do genuinely listen to my friends and family and care about what they think & what they want to talk about, but I need to stop and remember to ask them questions too. Normally other people can relate to what I’m saying and the conversation progresses naturally, but when I get rambly to people, I need to take a step back and think before I speak! Not that I get offensive or anything, but I just feel like I end up talking about myself too much. I don’t like when other people do that, so I want to be more careful not to do it to them.

Anyway, this is why I made this blog. And so, my intention is to be more conscious of what I say in conversations and try and keep a mental track of if we are only talking about topics I brought up or if I am giving chances for someone else to bring something up, as well. Honestly, just writing about it seems to help.

A social anxiety

It kills me when people don’t understand me or think I don’t have good intentions even when I explain as clearly and honestly as possible my thoughts and feelings. I try to understand other people and how they think and the more I try and understand their perspective, the more they think that I am out to get them in some way. I fear I am too forward of a person for most and I have no idea how other people’s brains work. Do other people prefer to lie? Do they lie to themselves? Do they have jealousies? Do they keep their feelings within? Do they hide behind some mask and trick themselves into fitting some mold? And do they even know that they’re doing it?

It seems the more I try and figure people out the more that they push me away. I fear that people are nice to me in a superficial way and actually avoid me as a toxic person. Like I am that friend that causes more stress than I’m worth and it’s easier to deal with me in small doses than for anyone to just be honest with me about what is bothering them. I actually appreciate people that call me out SO much because it is so rare to find. I try and surround myself with people that don’t seem to portray that kind of hesitation as a friend. But then I am genuinely interested in people that I can’t seem to figure out. Should I be a therapist? No, haha, half the time I don’t even have myself figured out. But does anyone ?

Reading- relaxing or stressful?

Growing up, I had perfect vision then out of nowhere in college, I couldn’t see the board even sitting in the front of the room. My mom told me “it’s because of all that reading that you were doing” which contradicts all of the pressure I’ve received from everyone in my life to be a good student, do all my homework, and study for assessments. Like since when did I have a choice to choose my vision over reading and studying all of that time? I remember missing a homework assignment one time in high school and the guilt I felt was overwhelming. I’m not sure I felt guilt that intensely since. I laugh at that now after my five years teaching.

I finally learned to relax probably within the last year or so. Relaxing can only happen if you make your environment the way that you envision it as much as possible. Remove all annoyances and create routines to keep clutter in order throughout the weeks. I realize the way I’m describing it doesn’t sound relaxing in any way. I used to think reading and studying was relaxing because I’ve always had assignments to do or tests to study for (I STILL do now) so I had to make a situation for myself that was relaxing to get my mind focused. I would usually go to a cafe away from distractions. Now that I am done with classes, I can actually read for pleasure without feeling there’s something else more productive I should be reading. I can’t believe not until I’m almost thirty do I get to have that.

In my life as a student, I learned to associate reading books and articles with work. I associate reading with note-taking, deadlines, summaries, and reports. Today, I just opened a magazine and read whatever was in there. Even though I do have an exam to study for, I decided to not guilt myself into not reading for pleasure once in a while. I’ll study for the exam when I have the mindset for it and today I wanted to read a magazine.

When I allowed myself a few minutes to read and let my mind wander at my local Starbucks, I followed my stream of consciousness and it brought me to the realization that inspiration happens in those thoughts and it just popped in my head: I need to write a blog. My thoughts were too long and windy for Instagram and I didn’t necessarily want to include a photo, Facebook is pretty much just for family pictures, memes, and random questions at this point, and my notes app is out of control. I needed somewhere conveniently on my phone to express myself. Why haven’t I thought of this sooner?

Oh, because of the guilt. The guilt that said, “you should be reading, you should be studying, you should be exercising…” whatever it is. I surprise myself with what happens to my brain when I have a minute to actually relax.

I realize this blog is very much about me and what happens inside my mind and it may not be of interest to anyone at all and that’s ok. I am happy to put my words together in a constructive way and express myself somewhere where I can be myself and ramble.

If you do happen to read this, thank you and I hope you enjoy it. I think you can make comments or something so feel free to start a conversation on here or contact me.