My Thoughts Through Hurricane Harvey

I decided to visit Houston for the last two weeks of my summer to spend time with my family. My dad says once I begin a full time job, I won’t be able to fly home as much. Also, it would give me a chance to celebrate my first year of grad school and first ever public health career being done.

But as the news reports came in, it quickly became apparent that this will have to wait. We heard about Hurricane Harvey, we didn’t think it would hit us. But last Friday, early morning, I hear the news loudly. My mom and dad are watching it.

“Get dressed we need to go get supplies” my dad tells me.

I nod. This is important. It looks like the storm will be serious, and even if we are able to stay in our house, there will be flooding and we will need to stay inside for a few days. The grocery store is packed and items were quickly going off shelves. Many aisles have a sign that says “Due to Hurricane Harvey, this item is out of stock. Please be patient as we re-stock”. We get all the necessary items: water, canned goods, toilet paper, paper towels, charcoal, candles, lighters, snacks, milk, eggs, bread. And food for my dog.

We also go to the gas station to get gas for our car. The gas station is also packed. When we get home we sort these items and continue to watch the news. On that Friday and Saturday, nothing happened in our area. There were emergency alerts, but no serious rain. We were able to take a walk outside both days!

That all changed Sunday. Sunday it started pouring like no other. Non-stop. There were leaks in two rooms. There was a bird, sitting by himself who looked injured in the rain. I built him a shoebox nest and moved him to a dry area. The water was up to the middle of my thighs. My mom yelled at me to come inside. We continued to watch the news all day. Our neighbors come by a few hours later. Both our next door neighbors are away on vacation so we go and secure their outdoor belongings with their help.

Monday morning we wake up, and we see no grass and no road. Everything is drenched in a foot of water. We get a call from my Dad’s boss saying his house (very close to us) is flooded. Another colleague of my Dad’s says he just had to evacuate. I look at my family. We begin moving all our necessary items upstairs. We place tape on doors and lots of mats to prevent water from coming in. It works.

Monday night, the neighborhood board lets us know that they will be releasing water from the lake so we should be okay. My family is happy. Still, I have a bad feeling it is not over.

But the next morning we wake up, a lot of the water has been gone and the roads are clear. My dad is happy. We stepped outside briefly to let my dog use the bathroom. And my dad notices all of the debris left behind. He grabs a rake and begins cleaning it up. I tell him maybe we should wait until we know the storm is over.

He just shrugs and continues. I grab my dog who has decided to go swimming in the flood and dry her off. When I hear my dad lightly calling me. “Shaz. Shaz. Shaz.”

My dog runs to my dad. I walk slowly. I see blood.

“I stepped on a nail” my dad says limping.

“Oh my god” I hold his arm and grab the rake.

I see my mom inside the house. “GRAB THE FIRST AID KIT!!!” I yell trying not to cry. There was so much blood I thought I would faint.

My dad walks into the house, leaving a trail of blood. My mom gives me Clorox and asks me to clean it up as she bandages up my dad. She lets me know we will be taking Dad to the Emergency Room.

I feel sick. I quickly wear gloves, clean up, and dispose. Dad is losing color, I grab him a Gatorade. I ask him if he has his wallet, he says yes. The rest of had packed our purses and wallets away into bags in case we needed to evacuate. There was no time to get them. We all get in the car and go.

In between, I was chatting with “Prince Player”. I told him about a dream I had. Where it was the first day of school, and I was late to class, so when I saw him I grabbed his hand and said “Hey” and walked away. He said he can see that happening, but if it was him, he wouldn’t have walked away. Oh my.

I’m shocked he hasn’t asked me about how I was doing with the hurricane… he is one of my greatest friends. I shrug. It’s fine. He doesn’t like me being sad.

We arrive at the ER. Surprisingly, it is not packed and they are able to see my dad quickly. The doctor says we all did the right thing. The nail went into his vein and it was good we bandaged him and brought him in so quickly. He gets a few shots and prescribed antibiotics and pain medications.

We search for a pharmacy that is open. Almost everything is closed due to the hurricane, I finally find one. I get there and there is a long line. Once I arrive to the counter, the receptionist tells me it will be an hour. Sigh. My family and I decide to get food. Again, a struggle to find something that was open. We went in circles and finally found a McDonald’s.

As we drive back to the pharmacy, we feel a flat tire… Oh no. At the pharmacy, we get out and see a piece of glass in the tire. YES DEBRIS AGAIN. My mom calls our insurance who says they will take an hour to get there to help us. It was 8. We got out of the house at 5 and are all physically and emotionally drained.

“Fuck it. We’re gonna change this ourselves” my dad says getting out on his injured foot.

“YOU SIT DOWN” my mom says.

My dad disagrees and has me hold a parking spot for space while he and my brother begin to change the tire. It’s difficult. The parking lot is packed and everytime someone tries to park in that spot, I give them a sad look and motion to the damaged tire. We have no way to get home and my dad is standing on one foot. Uber is down saying they want their drivers and passengers to be safe with the Hurricane happening so they will not be running. Otherwise, I would have gotten one for Dad and my mom and brother could have waited for our insurance.

But finally, after 3 good samaritans stopped by and offered us various types of help, 1 hour later- we were done.

We still had minor damages to the car but were able to drive. My mom and I would take it to the shop the next morning we decided. When we all get home, my dad says he needs a drink. We all pour ourselves one and heat up a pizza.

I’m sad. But I look up at out TV screen, and see some individuals who lost everything they had. Our good friend Aaron once told me never to compare my experiences to someone elses, but it’s so hard here. Our house can be repaired. Our car can be repaired. My dad will hopefully heal soon.

Yet, when I close my eyes. I am devestated. I see debris and blood everywhere. The Dean of my school released a great article about how even being in the path of a natural disaster can cause mental effects. And an injury, can add to that. I see it. It is Saturday, and we are all still sad. I have been running errands for my dad everyday and am helping him get back on his feet. It’s not easy. He is still in pain.

And I turned off the news. I can’t hear about it anymore.

I’m thankful for my friends Susan, Steven, and Sam who checked up on me every single day. And still are checking up on me.

“It’s just an after shock” I told Susan when I couldn’t stop crying Wednesday morning.

“Well don’t forget what Dean G said in his article, it may very well be PTSD. And that is okay” she says.

I sighed. Other friends checked up on me just once, and continued to Snapchat me random updates on their life. When they know I am sad. And don’t want to see what they are eating, vacationing, or watching on TV- I want them to listen. And when I heal we can go back to this. It hasn’t even been 1 week since the disaster. They can give me time. Right? I don’t think 1 week is a lot to ask.

Life must go on I guess. I am healing. Today, the Director of Graduate Students at my school who has been helping with my ADHD accommodations wrote to me.

“Hi Shaz,

I wanted to check in with you and hoping you and your family are well and safe. Please know that I have been thinking of you. Sending hugs and hope your way. Let me know if you need anything at all”.

This. This is all I needed to hear. I love my Boston family.

You know how in “Part of Me”, Katy Perry says “I just want to throw my phone away. Find out who is there for me”. This is how I always felt in Chicago.

Thank goodness Boston and Houston are different.

Especially Houston. I saw a strength in my city this week that I’ve never seen before.

This isn’t the way I imagined going to start my last year of school, but I’m inspired by my city. And thankful that I have shelter and my family. And I pray for everyone who lost theirs. Please do the same.

xoxo. S.

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A Letter to Kaiya

Today I am writing to our friend Kaiya at Adventures on Quiet Nights.

for everyone just tuning in please read A Letter to You!

Dear Kaiya,

First I would like to apologize that this letter is delayed. With the incident I wrote about earlier on my blog and Hurricane Harvey (did you hear about this?? There is a hurricane which has now changed into a tropical storm where I live in Texas) things were busy.

But I’m glad to finally sit down and be writing your letter 🙂 You were my first reader that gave me a specific topic to write about, blogging tips! After blogging for 4 years, I am excited to write about this! You asked me to write about this topic because you are a new blogger. This is awesome! Congratulations and welcome to WordPress Kaiya 🙂 You are in for a lot of fun ❤ So with no further ado, here they are!

1.) Be yourself- When I first began writing my blog, a friends asked me why I was doing it. He asked why I could not write in a diary. I can’t write my thoughts in a diary because, when I was battling ADHD, anxiety, and depression- there was no books or articles I could find about a woman like me dealing with those emotions. I don’t want anyone else to go through that. And so, I write for those individuals like me.

One reader told me that. She said “With you telling everyone about your life you are also making other women in the same position not feel alone and that we all feel the same in some way :)”.

That was awesome. There are millions of bloggers. What will you share or write that will make a difference? Be yourself, and write that!

And let me say, you do this well already! I have read all of your posts and I admire your strength 🙂

2.) Build community- Kaiya, when you wrote me your request, you told me as a new blogger you had been wondering “what is the point of blogging?” In public health, we talk about direct effects and indirect effects.

You see, what I mentioned above in the last tip about writing for individuals like me and giving hope, that was my direct effect- something I expected.

An indirect effect is something you do not expect. And let me tell you, this blog gave me the best indirect effect I have ever gotten in my life, a community.

Through some of my saddest times, the people who would make me feel better more than my real life friends- were my blogger friends! Their comments would cheer me up and help me fall asleep at night.

You may not feel it now Kaiya, but trust me within a year or so- you will have one! And it’s going to be awesome.

Now you may be wondering, but wait Shaz, how do I build community?

Simple Kaiya.

Read. Read other blogs. Find them through “Freshly Pressed”, a tag you search for, or a commenter on a blog you follow. And if you like what they’re saying, give them a “like” or comment! Same for anyone who stops by and “likes” or comments on your blog. Visit them back and see what they have to say. If you guys keep in touch for a while, you will become a family 🙂

Like me, Paul, and Chris!

3.) Be consistent- Okay Kaiya I know I am the last person to be writing this. But trust me when I first began blogging, I blogged 4-5 times a week! I had a “special” for each day. With graduate school happening, I do blog once a month (but hey that’s consistent so we’re doing good!).

Some bloggers/readers have described my blog as a TV show. Well how do TV shows work? It happens once a week right? And everyone knows when the show is and gets their snacks and drinks ready to watch it? It doesn’t happen sporadically at different times (I guess if it is off season it does lol!) but you get my idea.

Blog once a day, blog once every few days, blog once a week, blog once a month, whichever pattern suits you. Just keep it consistent 🙂

4.) Accept criticism with a grain of salt- I was not ready for criticism about my blog. Be it from my friends in real life, or my readers on WordPress.  If you like the criticism, acknowledge it and take it. If you don’t, you don’t have to. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

At the end of the day, we blog for ourselves. It is our name attached to our writing. Our hopes, our fears, our dreams.

So own it!

And that’s that Kaiya 🙂 You are the newest addition to the WordPress community from all of my readers so I am honored I was able to write to you! I hope you enjoyed my letter and tips. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Shaz

So Here’s What Happened

A week an a half ago, I was wrapping up my internship. A very stressful time of ending my job and submitting my project. I also got the news that I have been promoted from Executive Vice President to CO-PRESIDENT of my school’s club!! Wow, it just never stops for me. And I love it. I think. Anyways, that Friday night where I end this long week, I go to bed. I would have gone out but I was tired from all the work I did and had a photo shoot the next morning for my President picture 😉 So I passed out around 11.

Around 5 am I wake up. I feel uncomfortably sweaty. So I get up and turn up the AC.

I get in my bed when I hear an annoying vibrating sound. I look around and realize it’s my phone.

The first thought of all thoughts in my head is, “Why is my phone vibrating? Did I accidentally put my alarm on for work? Why would I do that? I know I don’t work on Saturdays”.

I grab my phone. I panic when I see the screen.

IT IS. “K”. His name appears in giant letters across my phone. The guy that emotionally abused me. And has had no contact with me for 6 MONTHS. Surely, this is a nightmare. But it’s not.

What the absolute hell??? I THOUGHT I HAD BLOCKED HIM!! Why is he calling me??? I put the phone on my coffee table and step away from it as if that will make it stop ringing. Or at least so I don’t accidentally touch my phone and answer the call. A minute later (or so it feels like), it stops.

My heart beats fast. I wait a few minutes. Now is when he should text saying it was a mistake, he didn’t mean to call me. But he doesn’t. I triple lock my doors. I usually only lock one of the locks, but that night I do all of them. He knows where I live, and he knows I live alone. I don’t know why he’s calling me, and this isn’t funny.

I block him and get back in bed. My heart is still beating fast but I have my photo shoot early in the morning and I need my sleep. I’m terrified. I say some prayers and fall alseep.

I had the worst nightmares. Terrible terrible nightmares. When I wake up, I tell Steven.

I had just told him about “K” when we talked about why I haven’t been in a relationship lately. He like “Prince Player” had been wondering why I hadn’t shared anything about my relationships lately as that is something I usually talk about.

“Must have been a prank call. Or accidental” he says.

“But why?? Who calls someone after 6 months??” I ask.

I decide to go to the gym. Usually I go at night, but that day, I don’t feel safe.

As I’m walking to the gym, I decide I can’t take it anymore. I don’t need to live like this. I want answers. I need to know I am safe.

I unblock “K” and text him.

“Why did you call me at 5 in the morning last night?” I text.

I keep an eye on my phone.

An hour later. I see three texts on my phone.

“Oh I think it was a pocketdial”

“But hi bee”

“How’s your summer?”

WHAT. THE. HELL????

  1. Pocket dial??? How do you “pocket dial” someone who is not in your “recents”?? And at 5 am??
  2. Hi bee???? How can he think it is okay to still call me this??
  3. HOW’S MY SUMMER?? Oh, I guess he forgot Winter and Spring too.

I go back to blocking him. All he had to say was, “Sorry. It was a pocket dial” (if it even was a “pocket dial!”) He has no business in my life anymore.

“He’s a player” my friend says.

“He was drunk. He probably didn’t remember” another friend said.

HELLO. WAKE UP PEOPLE. ARE YOU SERIOUS? I don’t care! I don’t care if he is a player or was drunk! Above both of these, he is an emotional abuser. And emotional abusers should not be contacting me!!

For the love of god, I only texted him to check that he was not out to hurt me. Not anything else. It bothered me that people still think I am the naive person I used to be.

So yes reader. This is why you haven’t seen me this past week. I have been trying to get over this, and defending myself (although I absolutely do not have to, I know I did the right thing).

He is blocked. I double checked he is blocked on just about every social media and anything on my phone. I guess I had only blocked him on social media before because I knew he would never call me or text me (and he didn’t!) until a week ago.

It is absolutely terrifying that right after I published that post about his abuse, right after telling “Prince Player”, Steven, and my other close friend about it- this happens. But everything is fine now.

Thank you Kaiya and Myka for being patient. I’ll have your letters out soon! 🙂

xoxo. S.

Paused

Hello friends!

You may have noticed I have been a little absent this past week. Something happened that threw me off guard (not in a good way). And then…I had to prepare for the ending of my internship and being elected onto the executive board of a club! I am frazzled, but excited. Thankfully, I am home now and should be getting back to updating you all and writing your letters 🙂

I promise to catch up on all of your blogs as soon as I am back on here!

xoxo. S.

A Letter to Me (from Meghan)

Hello everyone,

Today, I was delighted to experience a For the Love of Sass first. As many of you know, I have been writing letters to readers who are interested. One of our good friends Meghan responded to the one I wrote her! Have a look 🙂

xoxo. S.

Hey Meghan...

My lovely Friend Shaz wrote me a nice letter last week. See below.

Source: A Letter to Meghan

I meant to write her back sooner but I was out of town and forgot my laptop. I also ran out of data so I couldn’t use my phone. My bad!

Dear Shaz,

I was so excited to get your letter. I’m not going to lie, I was checking everyday to see if it was my turn yet. This letter will probably be a large ramble/responding to what you said.

First and foremost, I still love Ben and Jerry’s. Fun fact:I’m somewhat lactose intolerant so I don’t eat ice cream very often. When I do eat ice cream,  I go straight for a pint of Milk and cookies or Brownie Batter Core. YUM. Now I want some.

I have loved your blog since I found it. I actually love it for the…

View original post 451 more words

Facts About Your Letters

Hello friends,

As of now, I have 1 letter left to write (request more please!!!!) If you don’t know what I’m talking about please read, A Letter to You!

Writing these letters have been a lot of fun. It is the newest thing I have been doing with my blog. A big step from writing about my grad school struggles and what not. Speaking of which, I am so proud for getting ELEVEN posts in last month. Once grad school begins, it will be barely once a month 😦 I hope you guys will still love me!

Anyways, here are some things you may not know about when I write your letters.

1.) I write your letters between 1am-4:30 am. This is when my brain works.

2.) I am usually munching on something when I write you letters. 1am-4:30 is when those cravings hit! When I was writing Paul’s and Aaron’s letters- I was eating coconut chips. Steven’s letter- kiwi. Chris’s letter- caramel popcorn. Meghan’s letter- smores (not gluten free, bad Shaz). Asha’s letter was the only one where I did not snack while writing.

3.) I am surprised this blog is not about food.

4.) I leave it up to you to tell me what you want your letter to be about, but if you don’t, I usually write about you. Meghan was the first person who said I could write about anything including my day so I went for it (A Letter to Meghan). In an upcoming letter to Kaiya, I will be writing blogging tips as requested by her. Do pop by if you want my tips! And no Paul, it won’t be the same as your’s 🙂

5.) Sometimes I wish we still wrote each other letter’s. I hate when I do something nice for somebody, and I get a two word text. I hate when someone misses me, and I just get a two word text. If this was a long time ago, you’d write me a letter about it and tell me how you are doing. So, thank you for requesting  letters. I’m bringing letters back 😉 (DID YOU GET MY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE REFERENCE?) No? Okay. Time for bed Shaz.

Night everybody!

S.

A Letter to Meghan

Today I am writing to our friend Meghan at Hey Meghan

Dear Meghan,

Do you know, that you are my longest regular reader after Paul? Your first comment on my blog was in January of 2014 when you said “Ben and Jerry are the two best people to turn any bad day around! Hope your week gets better ! ❤ another struggle college kid”.

Hahahaha! I was talking about how I was having a stressful day and I had my then favorite Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor to cheer me up (it was called “Scotchy Scotch Scotch” which was a limited edition). I sadly don’t eat Ben and Jerry’s anymore. I’ve been very serious about my gluten-free diet and am trying gluten-free desserts. It’s going pretty well.

When you first appeared on my blog, I loved you because we are so similar. We both have dogs who both have our hearts, we both majored in a Sciences degree in college, and we are both currently working in a lab making people’s lived better!

We have also battled hardships in anxiety and love. I know you talked about these lately on your blog.

You are my only reader who told me my letter can be about anything I want, including me telling you about my day or even making up a story! Well, here’s the thing Meghan. You may have read in my last post that I had a few crappy days lately.

And I’ll tell you why. It’s actually really silly. And personal. But since you and I are similar, I feel you may understand.

So as you may have read in my the post before my last post, ever since my last relationship- I have been really scared to enter a new one. And everyone around me is in a relationship. You see, even my parents who have had troubles in their marriage just celebrated their 30th anniversary on Tuesday. And then, my brother announced that he may possibly be moving to California soon. We asked why. He said it’s because his girlfriend (OF 8 YEARS) got into grad school there and he is thinking about proposing when she is done!!!

“See, your brother has someone. Don’t you want someone?” my mom asked.

Ugh. And that just upset me.

It’s not like I haven’t been trying. I have pushed myself and been on a few dates since that last relationship. But none of them have been that great.

In fact, my last date was with a nice med student from Harvard right. And he actually said something…not so nice to me. I told my mom about it so she can leave me alone.

And you know what she did??? She told my dad!

Meghan, let me tell you about my father. I am my father’s only daughter. If anyone says anything/does anything mean to his daughter, he is upset.

And let me tell you, he was.

I was livid. My mom wasn’t supposed to tell him. That was supposed to be a secret between me and her.

I was wondering why my dad kept asking me “everything okay?” whenever I call him. And this is why.

Sigh. So yes. I don’t even need to get started about all my friends in relationships. Okay not all of them are in relationships, but my close friends are.

And no I’m not saying I’m jealous, I’m saying I hate when they intrude into my life and ask me about my love life.

Listen Meghan, I don’t know if you ever felt this way, but- I’m doing me. For the first time in my life.

I used to be the most successful woman in my family, now I am the most successful in all of my family. I am the only one that will have a Master’s, the only one to go to a top 10 school, the first one to pop on Google when we type our family last name, and the first female to work in politics. In my family.

So…why must I have someone? Yes, it would be nice. But right now, I’m doing great without one.

You’ve wrote about love on your blog, so I thought you would understand 🙂

I know that if you lived close to me, we would probably be the best of friends ❤  I can’t wait to read your posts about baby showers, bachelorettes parties, your dating life, moving updates and the medical marijuana debate!!!

Love,

Shaz

Let Me Tell You About My Day

So, I had been having a few crappy days. It all started when I published my last post. The topic made me think about what happened and made me sad 😦 And then my mom said something that made me sad. And then Prince Player told me something that made me sad. I don’t even remember what they said! And then finally, work was an absolute disaster on Friday and Monday.

And Tuesday I worked overtime.

Today, well it’s 2 am so I should say “yesterday”, but yes- yesterday I slept in. And when I woke up, my phone was FULL. Full of notifications.

Several from my readers at wordpress 🙂

Some emails from my boss

A Snapchat from Jeanette

A Snapchat from “Prince Player”

Some “likes” and comments on Facebook on the photo I posted last night

A Facebook message from Hillary

WAIT WHAT. I pause when I see that notification.

Hillary, was my best friend in high school (aside from Steven). She dropped her bag next to my desk in 2nd period World History class freshman year and the rest was history. She was there when I first began writing, we went to many parties, and we were on the golf team together!

When she went to California and I stayed in Illinois for college, we lost touch. But we would always message each other when we see that we’ve accomplished something, it was our birthdays, or just if we thought of one another .

So today, I open that Facebook message.

“So I’m in Boston lol. Are you around?”

SAY WHAT????????????

Um, yes!

Hillary wants to do lunch and I don’t believe it. I have not seen this girl in 5 years. So many friends of mine have come to visit Boston, but none really reached out to me.

I quickly get ready and agree to meet Hillary.

An hour later, I look around for her, and I see a gal with beach blonde hair, sunglasses, looking like she’s in LA instead of Boston-

“OH MY GOD” I say.

“HELLO!!!!!” Hillary says smiling.

Hug hug hug hug hug.

We order Mango sangria’s and catch up on our lives in literally 10 minutes. It’s like NOTHING has changed at all. There’s not many people I’d day drink with, but Hillary is an exception.

I Snapchat everything and ask Hillary to tell my friends what I was like in high school.

“You were crazy, like insane, but you always had a smile on you face” Hillary says.

I stop my video. I melt. I forgot that.

She asks me if I made a lot of friends here in Boston. I tell her I did.

“I would be surprised if you didn’t. You are so personable” she responds.

I melt. I forgot that.

She also asked me if I was still writing.

I melt. I forgot that I began writing at such an early age!

After we’re done drinking and eating, Hillary wants to see the baseball park. Luckily, I live in that area, so I take her there.

Silly troublemaker Hillary tries to sneak in because we can’t find a way in, but we eventually find a person thFullSizeRender(9)at is selling tickets to get a tour of Fenway Park and buy tickets.

Hillary was a softball player in high school so this was really important to her. We walk all over the stadium and take lots of pictures.

When we’re done, Hillary wants some postcards so I take her the bookstore and we pick out a few cute ones. She is writing them when we realize she has an extra.

“Who do I send this to?” she asks confused.

“I have no idea. The last time I sent a postcard was when I was in Dubai and it was to Mr. Klien and some girls on the team” I say laughing. Mr. Klien was our golf coach and AP Government teacher.

Her eyes widen. “THAT’S IT! We’re sending this to Mr. Klien!!!”

We laugh so hard and write a note to him.

Guess who bumped into each other here in Boston? Couldn’t help but talk about AP Government and golf! We hope you are well! 

And we signed our names 🙂 He’s going to love it.

And then it was time for Hillary to leave :/

But saying goodbye to her wasn’t tough. One thing about Hillary is, she’s not sad unless she absolutely has to be.

So when her Uber arrived, she was like, “Okay bye! I’ll text you!”. Like I’ll see her tomorrow or something haha.

And I love that about her.

And I love that she surprised me today. Is it just me, or is a surprised visit better than a planned visit???

She has made my entire Summer.

Thanks Hillary, for reminding me who I was and who I still am ❤

xoxo. S.

Dating After Emotional Abuse

“Do you have a dating life right now?”

This is what “Prince Player” asks me after I tell him The Big Sick reminded me a little of the way he and I was.

I frown. Only “Prince Player” can ask me that question and get away with it.

Hmmmm. Does hanging out with a guy once and never talking to him again count?? No I don’t think it does.

“No lol. Why?” I ask.

“I was just curious lol. I haven’t heard anything about that part of your life for a while” he says.

Ah. Of course. I’m sure my readers thought the same thing.

And here is why. The last guy, “K”, was emotionally abusive. And I didn’t know it. I missed all of the red flags.

Today, I am here to write share some of those red flags. Because I don’t want anyone to stick around for it like I did.

#1: When he found my birth control

K: “Shahz, what are these?”

Me: *grabs them from his hand* “Give me those, those are my birth control pills”

K: “But you told me you don’t have sex!”

Me: “I don’t. Those are to control the cramps and vomiting that happen every month when I get my period”

K: “Yea right you expect me to believe that? I have never heard of that excuse”

Me: *about to cry* “Then you clearly don’t know enough about them”

K: *gets angry* “What was that you just said?”

#2: When he saw my selfies with my best friend Jeanette

K: “Who’s this chick in all your Snapchats?”

Me: “My best friend Jeanette….”

K: “Is she a good girl?”

Me: *confused* “What?”

K: “I want to make sure you are hanging out with good people”

Jeanette is working on her Master’s with me. And works as a pharmacy tech. This guy had nothing near that. Really??

#3: When I hired a person trainer to help me with the weight gain my auto-immune disorder caused me this past year

K: “Seriously? Can’t you just watch Youtube videos instead?”

Me: “Um. I have more serious issues than that.”

K: “How would you feel if I had a personal trainer??”

Me: “I would be happy that you are taking care of your body and proud of the fact that you are working so hard!”

K: *laughs mockingly* “How much do you pay this guy?”

My personal trainer is gay.

#4: When we were cooking dinner and he opened a jar and accidentally got the contents all over my white walls

Me: *terrified that management is going to fine me for this, starts wetting a towel and wiping furiously* “Hey, can you help me with this?”

K: *tries for a second* “Ugh. I never had to clean a thing in my life. Just stop babe. I’ll hire a maid”

I agreed on a count of the mess he made was so bad and it stuck to the walls.

Those stains stayed there for two weeks. No word from him about the “maid” he promised to clean up the mess HE made.

Me (texting): “Hey. Can you please send that maid you said you were getting? Inspections are soon, and I don’t want to get fined”

Him (texting back): “Shahz wtf? Every time we go out, I take you to a nice fancy restaurant. On the rooftop. $100 meals. And you are upset about this??”

Wait what? He did that once. And may I say, people buying you expensive things/taking you nice places after they were mean to you- that’s emotional abuse.

Me: “Sorry”

I ended up hiring a maid myself. I saw an ad for one in my building. It was a guy’s cleaning company. I live alone in my apartment and was anxious about having a male stranger in my place, but it was my only choice. He had the most affordable rate.

Thankfully, he was a nice guy. He tried cleaning it and said the stains are so bad it won’t come out, and it will have to be painted.

My jaw dropped. But he offered to paint it for me and he did. $100 out of my savings. Gone.

And that was it. This happened right before Valentine’s day. I told “K” I took care of it and asked him if we will be taking me out for Valentine’s day. He said yes, and never showed up.

That is when I sent this text: “You know what. I can’t do this anymore. I’m loyal, I’m beautiful, and I’m smart. I deserve someone that will cherish that. Not someone that will make me beg and wait for his attention.”

And when he doesn’t respond, because he thinks he has more power than me, I decide I have more power. And I block him. On my phone, Snapchat, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

I haven’t had a “dating life” since.

Sure, I’ve been on several dates since then. But they haven’t lasted more than a week.

Because I am terrified.

After I realized what I had gone through was emotional abuse, I felt stupid.

I am better than this. I am stronger than this. I am smarter than this. I come from a good family.

This does not happen to girls like me. Girls like me don’t stay in relationships like this.

I should have known.

But I didn’t. I didn’t listen to my mom or brother who were the first people to notice “K’s” strange behavior.

And I feel bad.

I don’t want to declare a “dating life” until I have gone out with someone for more than 6 weeks. That’s my new rule.612923_xYm2zZKs

I am not sad. I am not hurt. I just want time.

The sad part about all of this is, these were just 4 incidents. There was an incident every time I saw him.

To many of you, I am like a little sister or daughter. The purpose of this post was not to make any of you sad or upset. It is so that you and anyone you love can understand the signs of emotional abuse. Because I missed those signs. And if people talked about it more often, I wouldn’t have.

With love,

Shaz

A Letter to Aaron

today I am writing to our friend Aaron at The Confusing Middle

Dear Aaron,

Soooo how was your trip? TELL US EVERYTHING. I loved Turkey when I went. I have not been outside of the U.S in three years. This is crazy. I should plan on doing something this winter or the summer after I graduate from grad school.

As you know, these past few years have been crazy for me. And these past two years you have given me some valuable advice.

Like last May, when I still had not decided which school to go to and could not get over the fact that I was leaving for Chicago and my love interests (particularly Prince Player) weren’t making any effort to spend time with me and my therapist wasn’t helping me at all, you said “So, I realize I don’t know you outside of reading your posts here. But, please, do not let anyone ever make you think you’re not special. Also, therapists are the worst. …says the guy who’s a counselor for a living.”

That was really nice of you 🙂 Just a few days later when I made the decision that I was going to move to Boston, I felt special and I have never felt “unspecial” ever since.

Wow. Can you believe it? I work as a Public Health Educator now, and my main project is lowering teen suicide. So I am now a mental health expert now like you! I’m sad I suffered through depression, anxiety, and ADHD in college- but I guess this was God’s plan. He wanted me to work in this field and understand what the people I’m working with are going through.

Because as we know, this is no laughing business. This job can be so hard on some days. Every day at work, I hear the word “suicide”. I see the data of how much it has happened in our town and our state. It’s a lot. And in teens? It’s sad. It makes you wonder…what could their parents have done? What could their friends have done? What could their teachers have done? What could their boyfriends/girlfriends have done? And mostly- what could they have done?

Today my boss told me he appreciates my maturity and professionalism with this line of work. How can I not have these traits? This is a serious issue. One that I know so well.

Last year, while I was moving to Boston and starting grad school, I had you write a blog post about self-care. Self-care was something I did not practice in college and the reason why I had three serious health conditions upon graduating. No one ever talked about self-care at my university. At least, not until it was too late.

But I’m happy that I at least began practicing it in grad school. Especially this summer! This summer has been wild Aaron. I’ve been having Bubble Bath Mondays, Wine Wednesdays, Matinee Movie Thursdays, and lots of dates 😉 I get that dates are not a solo activity, but my dates this summer have really cared about me and made me feel special ❤

So thanks Aaron, for reminding me and our readers to take care of ourselves. From one mental health professional to another, thanks for what you do 🙂

Shaz