My Dilemma

Hi readers,

I hope you had a nice weekend! I am struggling.

Once again, this year, I was one of the 6 individuals chosen to speak at my school’s annual show. I’m not the keynote like last year (but there isn’t any of those this year anyway!), but my talk is a lot more personal than the one I gave last year.

I am talking about sexual assault. My experience with it and the extensive research I have done about it.

My mother is not happy. We went back and forth about it for days. She said I shouldn’t share something so personal. That this was supposed to be a family secret.

I said, “I’m sorry mom, I can’t do that. It’s because we don’t talk about it that this keeps happening in our family and other faith communities”.

She said she doesn’t agree with me, but supports me.

I hurt. I am proud of myself. I know that while I was going through this in my life, if one woman or man talked about experiencing this, I wouldn’t have felt so ashamed and would have asked for help sooner.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to pull myself out of this event, I know I am one of the main speakers and I will get to have lunch with the school’s Dean if I give a good talk!!! That would be a huge honor for me. If not that, I will still inspire many. I can stop it from happening to others. Or I can help others who have experienced this.

I also know that I am 23. And that it is not my mother’s choice. I was chosen, this is a sign that I need to do this.

Right?

I could really use a hug from “Prince Player” now :((((((

And that shows how anxious and sad I am.

xoxo. S.

Advertisements

My Not So Mental Health Days

“I thought today was supposed to be your Mental Health Day” by best friend Steven told me as I was caught working yesterday (Saturday).

dd8b3942908f4a6b6bc47e932a4542b5--exhausted-movie-tvIt was reader, it was supposed to be. But grad school. And not feeling well.  I had an early morning meeting with my client today and could not sleep at all last night because I felt nauseous and pain everywhere! And still do.

At least this week was actually WAY better than last week.

On Wednesday, for my Global Health Consulting class, I won an award! After each of our major deliverables (mind you we have one every week), we have to write a reflection. AND I WON “THE BEST REFLECTION” AWARD! The professor began to read my reflection aloud.

Oh god.

I felt myself turn 50 shades of red (this is in no reference to 50 shades of Grey). The moment they began reading my reflection (they didn’t announce who the winner was first! they just began reading it!) I knew it was mine :0 Anything that starts with, “Wait, what?” Yes. That’s my line right there.

I basically wrote about how for being the daughter and sister of consultants, I felt clueless about the class and anxious about our project. But after that deliverable, where we worked every single day including the weekend, we got the highest grade from our Professors out of any team and the best remarks from our client and I could not help but feel proud of the hard work and long hours each of us put into it.

My mom was so proud, she began reading my paper to my father! She said my dad was smiling the entire time 🙂

My Professor later sent me feedback saying he loves my writing style and that I have truly inspired everybody.

And after reading it out loud in class, he gave me a big box of candy as my prize!

I was seriously beaming throughout the week. I may not always be the smartest person in the room, but damn I can write!

Speaking of which, another part of the reason why I had a better week was so many of you wrote to me 🙂 Whether it was in my comments or my emails, you guys blew up my notifications! From my bed, to the bus, to waiting in line for coffee- I was reading each of your comments and you all seriously made my day.

So with that being said, I’d like to do some reader shoutouts!

Myka who said “And lastly, even in this rough time for you, you managed to end your write up with a comment about how hearing from US helps you. You’re a great girl”.

YES MYKA!! And yes readers!!! You guys help me so much.

And may I say, the compliments I get about my writing from my Professors like I did this week- where do they think I have been “practicing”? Right here! And I’m so grateful 🙂

Ana who checked in to see if I was “drinking enough water, eating enough, getting multivitamins in & sleeping enough”. Bless. You. Ana! I have an autoimmune disorder and those are the 4 most important things for me to have to not be sick. Thank you for checking in to make sure I was doing those. With everything going on, sometimes I don’t do all those things! And even my doctor will email me asking, “Hi your blood work is showing X. Are you sure you are taking you meds?” And it’s not good. So thank you Ana 🙂

Myka, Ana, and Kaiya who called that guy that hurt my feelings in the last post- “asshat” (Ana), “insenitive and stupid, “moron” (Kaiya), “that dude needs a lesson in common sense! Jesus!” (Myka)…THANK YOU. When someone hurts me, people tell me to ignore it or let it go. No friends. I have a right to be angry. And you ladies- were angry with me! And you have NO idea how much that meant to me. Bless you ladies.

So there you have it reader. I have yet to get a “Mental Health Day”, but I am gradually building emotional and physical stamina. Steven says “it’s okay” because when he visits Boston next month, “we will have a whole Mental Health Weekend!” How exciting!

Until then, I am slowly moving forward.

xoxo. S.

 

I Am Woman (Part 3)

continued from yesterday’s post

I drank a bottle of Gatorade last night and hoped I felt better in the morning. I really wanted to make it today’s meeting about infectious diseases in refugees (one of my favorite populations!)

I wake up at 7:00. I feel so fatigued but I get up. Okay, the pain is not too bad. And I don’t feel nauseous. So far so good. As I get ready, I feel it in my back.

Ugh. I walk over to CVS and buy a heatwrap. The only way I can survive today is by wearing that.

When I get back, I am right on time to leave. I call an Uber. It says it will take 10 minutes to arrive. Then Uber pool, which is supposed to be cheap, is actually $10. Seriously. I should have hit cancel right then and there. I keep refreshing, and suddenly there is no wait time. But an arrival time. I get confused. And I realize…THAT SOMEONE ELSE TOOK MY RIDE! I hit cancel immediatly and quickly request another Uber.

I can’t believe it. Now I am 20 minutes late. And I got charged for the ride SOMEONE ELSE took. My new Uber driver gets me and everything is going well. Until we have to -girls-girs-pain-Favim.com-1579388pick up another passenger. Who lives in a gated area and the security guard won’t let us in but the driver is so stubborn in picking up this passenger. This passenger finally comes out. Good lord. People can afford to live in a gated area where everyone has to go through security first should NOT be taking an Uber pool.

Now I am 30 minutes late. I sigh. I finally reach the state department and everyone is there. The two epidimiologists have began speaking, I spot my friend and colleague Susan and I wave. She gives me a sympathetic smile.

In the middle of the seminar, I feel really sick.

I get a text from Susan. “You don’t look well. I’ll give you a ride home.” Thank god. My Boston friends, are a lot more sympathetic than my Chicago friends were.

When the seminar ends, the Epidimologists asks if we’ll be staying for lunch. A few people say yes. Susan says “I have to go” and winks at me. Aw.

When we are out of everyone’s sight, she puts her hand on my arm. “Jesus Shaz. YOU WENT WHITE AT THAT MEETING. I was so nervous!”

I laugh.

“Seriously you lost all color. Does this happen every time?” she asks.

I frown and smile at the same time. “Yea”.

She makes a sad face. We have a nice ride home. She tells me about her date with a new fella and how she showed him a picture of us and he pointed to me and said “she looks like a model”. And Susan said “I know. You should see what she looks like in person”.

Wow. That is so sweet considering today I looked and felt like a pregnant whale.

I tell Susan hopefully I will feel better in time for our team bonding this weekend.

When I get home, I work on stuff for my boss and I finish early around 1:00. Ahh finally, a rest. On Sunday, I’ll have to get a head start on my three upcoming deadlines…but I’ll worry about it then 🙂

And your letters. Paul says I shouldn’t rush, but there’s so many ideas in my head I can’t wait!!

xoxo. S.

I Am Woman (Part 2)

Well. Last night before I went to sleep, mother nature showed up telling me I was not pregnant.

Great.

This morning I wake up to go to work. I crouch to the floor. Jesus. Christ. Mother of all pains. Thankfully work is with the other public health educators in the state today and most of them go to my school so we meet on campus. But my boss slams me with work.

In between I get a Snapchat from “Prince Player”. It has a Starbucks in it. Oh that’s right, I usually send him a picture of my Starbucks run. But in the morning I was so crampy and busy I didn’t have a chance to get one. I am tempted. I go get myself a latte (which I would regret later).

As I wait, my boss gives me another deliverable to work on. And on the day it is due, I already have 2 other major project due! Eep! And this new deliverable he is having me do is an article about tick bite virus prevention.

Great.

Being a female scientist is not a joke.

Alright but I manage. I’m tough. I’ll space my abstract and two articles due in increments over the next two weeks.

And then I get word the lead Epidemiologist at the state department wants to meet with me because she is impressed with my abstract idea. OH MY GOD. I quickly go home and change into a better dress and heels and call an Uber. It would take me forever if I go by train.

The Uber pool is $12. Great.

My cramps get intensely worse in the Uber as if I’m having labor pains and I start taking deep breaths.

“How do you know what that feels like?” Steven asks after I Snapchat him.

“BECAUSE. All the women in my family said giving birth felt like really bad menstrual pains!” I say.

And also because I am feeling like something keeps kicking me in my back, stomach, and everything else okay?

I keep breathing in and out.

f541976af9dcdccabe9207410fbbe117“Are you okay? the Uber driver asks.

I stop breathing and Snapchatting pictures of myself in crisis.

“Uh yes sorry. I just have cramps” I say.

Great.

She laughs “Oh I’m sorry. I just wanted to make sure you weren’t too hot from the heater.” Yea to make things worse it was 59 degrees in Boston today.

I smile and we drive over several potholes making us bounce and my cramps hurt like hell.

Great.

And then “Prince Player” sends me a Snapchat of a very delicious looking salmon and other things and it says “when ur gf turns you into a health nut” or something like that.

Great. I wish I had a boyfriend that turned me into a health nut. Or a boyfriend in general.

Finally I arrive and I am just in time. The epidemiologist is great complimenting my excellent work. I am so honored. As I’m sitting and talk with her, a HORRIBLE cramp comes over me. I smile my biggest smile and cross my legs. That made me cramp up even more. Shit. I uncross and breathe while talking. Why won’t the pain go away???

I keep breathing softly. And eventually the meeting ends. Thank goodness.

I go home.

And as soon as I take my dress and heels off, I collapse on my bed. I play some Maroon 5. My freshman year of college, when I had the worst of cramps like I had today, Adam Levine’s voice would calm me down.

When I get a text, I pause the song. Big mistake. The cramp comes back. I breathe, and quickly put the song on- but it’s too late!

I run to the bathroom and begin puking. With Adam Levine singing in the background.

I cross my heart and I hope to die, that I’ll only stay with you one more night.

Yea. You better leave Aunt Flo.

I collapse on the floor.

Great.

My whole Starbucks latte that I had this morning  is out of my system. Note to self. Don’t drink lattes when having a period.

Adam Levine keeps playing in the background. I need to stop it. It gives me freshman year college memories. Of my love life and cramps. Ugh. I turn him off. Although I love him.

I put on other songs by him and go to sleep.

Wondering how I’m going to make it to my big meeting at the State department tomorrow.

Sigh. I am woman. And it still has not gotten easier.

P.S- When I feel better, your letters are coming! I have gotten 5 requests so far, remember to comment below if you want one! 🙂

xoxo. S.

I Am Woman

Although every week of grad school is hard, this one proved to be a challenge.

Thank you, Aunt Flo.

I knew my period would happen during a busy week. I knew the worst of cramps would happen on my most important day, Thursday. A.k.a presentation day.

I felt it about to begin on Tuesday night. My dad and I were just having a debate. I argued that women get paid less, he argued that this is because guys do not get “maternity leave” or “monthly things”. I rolled my eyes and told him these are things we as women cannot control! “Yes, you can. You can control pregnancy!” he said. I laughed. We debated for a solid hour, and my dad said, “Look. These are thing I noticed as global head. I hope you, are productive in your workplace regardless of life events, and get the pay you deserve”.

And just then, I felt a cramp. I immediately texted my research partner about looking over our work and making the necessary adjustments in our section so I can submit it (before my period  gets me unconscious). He never responds.

IMG_6103Wednesday, I arrive a few minutes late to my morning class because I spend some time making coffee. Having a period and B-12 deficiency is the worst, it’s like close to being dead. Thankfully, the class is really interactive and I stay awake. The whether has gotten really nice and everyone is wearing cute outfits. I look at mine. It is for cold weather, I don’t have any warm weather clothing that is professional. During my commute home, I order some clothes and shoes. I have 2 hours to rest before I have to go to night class. This class dragged on and on. But finally, it ended. When I get home, it’s time to prepare for my presentation and my cramps get really bad. I practice as much as I can and I allow myself to go to sleep at 2.

When I wake up the next morning at 8, I am cramping so bad. I breathe. It is presentation day- 10% of my grade, I can’t miss! I can’t wear the suit I planned to because it pinches everywhere I ache. I wear one of my dresses. Very professional and cute. I look in the mirror and wonder how I will make it through 2 meetings, 1 presentation, and  a 3 hour class.

But somehow, I make it to my morning. It is a brief 1 minute, great. I have time to relax before my presentation begins. I tell myself I am crampy, tired, and sick and that it’s okay not to be a perfectionist today, that if I just make it through and do my best- I will be happy with myself.

It’s presentation time and I do pretty good. When I sit down, my two friends compliment me. “Oh, you pronounced a word wrong and I almost died” my friend Jeanette says.

“Oh my god. Uninhabitable?” I asked. I knew. I practiced all night.

She nods. I was so close to passing out I didn’t even notice I slipped up.

“Fuck” I say.

But I keep my promise. I let it go. I can’t be a perfectionist every single day. Especially on a day like this. I am proud I showed up and gave my best work.

The class is interesting. We talk about refugees, my favorite topic. But I have these horrible cramps that come and go. “Are you sure you don’t want to go home?” my other friend Gigi asks. I nod. “I have my planning meeting after class” I say. “Yea but you’re sick…” she says.

I sigh. “I’ll be fine. I don’t have class tomorrow so I’ll pass out when I get home”.

Class finally ends after what seems like an eternity. I meet with my group. One girl is very annoying and out of the loop because she never comes to our meetings, another girl rarely acknowledges me by name. But. It ends in a quick 25 minutes and I am happy about that.

Outside, there are therapy dogs. One looks exactly like my dog and rest his nose on my lap. I could cry. Hormones and dogs my god ❤

I get on the bus to commute home and stop at CVS. I pick up tampons, Almond Joy, and ice cream.

I pass out as soon as I reach home and wake up at 9:00 in the evening. Wow. I really need my B-12 medicine. I send an e-mail to my doctor about the B-12 mess up the company she sent my prescription to caused and how I haven’t had a supply in 3 weeks and feel like I’m going to die.

Right about now I start missing everybody. Especially “K”, “Heart”, and “Prince Player”.IMG_6109

I grab a mini white chocolate Magnum ice cream and call “Mr. Photography dude”.

“Oh hey stranger” he says picking up.

“I’m sorry” I say.

“How have you been?” he asks. “Alright. Not good now though” I say.

“Why?” he asks.

“Cramps” I say.

“Ouch. Which guy are you missing the most right now?” he asks. I laugh hard. He knows me so well.

“All of them” I say. “You don’t need them” he says.

“K used to take me out for steak and cheesecake when I had cramps!” I say.

“Really? We live in the 21st century. You could order those stuff in if you wanted!” he says.

“Yea but. I liked being spoiled” I say.

He laughs. “Of course you do”.

We discuss some updates and he tells me to feel better.

I begin working on my Law paper due on Saturday.

On Friday, my second day of cramps, my research partner has FINALLY decided to respond. He is very apologetic. I look through our document, absolutely nothing has changed. He has made no corrections/additions. I fix all the errors. “Sorry. I didn’t know what you meant” he says in response. I roll my eyes. At least he likes the corrections and I can submit it.

Today I work on my Law paper as it is due. I keep falling asleep due to my obnoxious health issues. I have received a response from my doctor who says she spoke with IMG_6114the company and is having them ship me my medication as soon as possible and how she is also upset the company did not address this issue sooner. I sigh. I am so exhausted.

Finally, I am done with my paper and submit it. Or at least I thought I did. I never got a receipt, and the dropbox closed. Oh no. I email it to my professor, who clearly said she will not be accepting emailed papers.

I close my eyes. I am woman. And this, is not easy.

xoxo. S.

Filter credit goes to Snapchat.

Society and Body Image

body“Skinny bitch.”

I’m sure she meant it as a joke, but I felt all my weight get sucked in. No one has ever called me that before, until I walked out of the bathroom in my beautiful new dress and got that remark from my roommate.

Happy “Tunes Tuesday” dear reader. You’d think I’d have a song to share with you this week knowing it’s summer, but I don’t. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately and this is one of them.

I am not skinny. I have been a competitive ballroom dancer all my life and was pushed to stay in shape. 4 hours of working out was required of me every day. In middle school, I was more developed than all the other girls. I got my period in 4th grade and it sucked. I had a bigger chest and curves than any other girl in my grade and I felt ugly. My mom told me that one day I would love them and feel blessed.

She was right, in high school, I felt gorgeous. Guys thought I was beautiful and I felt like Kim Kardashian.

But in college? No one consideres me curvy. They think I’m a “tiny girl” with a “tiny waist”.

“It’s like her body is disproportionate” my roommate laughed telling my suite-mates. “How can someone have such big boobs and a butt with a tiny little body and waist?” I wanted to slap her. I mean, I would call that a gift.

I confessed my hurt feelings to my gay friend Alex later that day, “Don’t worry Shaz. She’s just jealous that she won’t ever have a body as great as your’s. But she does have a point. You are tiny. Do you really eat three meals a day?” I was shocked. How could he ask such a thing?

I feel awful for teasing my gorgeous skinny friends in high school, they aren’t skinny! They are athletes who have strong bodies and work their butts off. They are perfectly normal, just like me. Just because I’m curvier than them, doesn’t make them skinny. And just because my roommate is bigger than me, doesn’t make me skinny.

I hated my roommate’s remarks. She even told me the way I should dress for my “shape”. I knew the way I should dress, I just didn’t want to flaunt around her like that because I knew she would eye my curves and make a comment about them. And when I wore looser clothes to cover them up, she’d tell me I looked like a grandma. It’s like I was stuck. Sadly, my roommate is not the only person who behaves like this today.

Our media portrays what “curvy” and “skinny” is and which one is better. Magazines are FILLED with covers like “How I got my body back!” and “You call this fat??”glamour mag

One of my favorite magazines, Glamour, did an amazing article on it. The attached picture of the two women was Glamour’s impressing article picture.They came up with the “Stop the Body Shaming” title. And I love it. I agree with their message.

I wanted to address this with you, dear reader. I was nervous until I talked about all of this in my Sociology 101 final…my professor gave me an A+ 🙂

xoxo. SassPrincess.