Truths

The Lion’s Den

I feel betrayed.

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Iheart and I have been so close for so many years, ever since the app first launched.

And they still play songs like “Twerkit” on my selected stations. Haven’t they learned I prefer anything that isn’t indicative of the generation I live in?

Anyway, I decided to take a shot at an internet radio server because I couldn’t figure out any other way to begin this blog post. I guess I could have just said that. Oh well, I make things much more complicated than they should be.

One thing I have realized, that I’m not entirely proud of, is my tendency to hide behind this persona I’ve created. It makes it shockingly (not shockingly) difficult to express true feelings, true motives, and an honest opinion to people as often as I’d like to.

For example, because there’s always been an expectation over my head to perform at my academic best placed on me by teachers more so than anyone, and eventually myself when I realized they realized I wasn’t a mute moron I’ve always tried to play myself off as if I have everything together.

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I minimize the mental stress I feel when speaking of it.

I minimize amount I struggle in certain subjects when speaking of it.

My perfectionism requires I do whatever necessary to keep order on the outside. I must not show a single crack, a single crease or leak to the world lest I am prepared to deal with someone thinking less of me and me thinking less of myself.

It’s my anxiety speaking more than anyone. I think it takes a long time for people to dig deep into themselves and not only recognize but understand that a lot of the time the pressure placed on them is stemming from their own mind. It’s easy to feel the whole world on your shoulders and not realize you’re the one holding it there.

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So I try to remind myself a B on a test does not spell out DEATH. Death doesn’t even start with a ‘b’, unless I’ve been spelling it wrong all my life which, let’s face it, I would never do.

Of course, someone was speaking to me through the lights tonight, I swear. The car on the street had it’s parking lights flash in a Morse code fashion and when I passed no one was locking it or in it or anywhere near it. Then the light at Walgreens right above my car, the ones that never falter, did the same. I’m telling you, it’s a sign.

But I digress. Of course I do, it’s me, I’ll always say some dumb shit in the middle of my post and interrupt eloquent language with a sailor’s mouth. 

I also try to remind myself it’s okay to say what you feel, or what you think you feel. It helps people relate to you. If it’s one thing I have trouble with, it’s connecting with other human beings on a human level. You can probably tell. Perhaps that’s because the person they speak to the majority of the time is just a manikin constructed with life-like features to fool them.

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And then other times I wonder how my ability to switch between a human and a manikin will help me in the future, career wise.

My brain is often more aggressive than my anxiety can handle. Therefore I strive for the best in everything. I make competition between me and someone when there shouldn’t be, and when they don’t know I’ve made one. 

If they get praised for their writing, I make it a goal to get praised more often. When I do succeed (I’ve won an essay competition at my college this semester with a 9 page essay I wrote in six hours) my anxiety keeps me from reaping the benefits. They want me to read it at a ceremony and network myself among other writers and college executives.

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Firstly, it’s nine damn pages. They said I could just read a passage but lets be honest here guys, I wrote the thing in six hours and I understand people are often impressed with my formal writing but I was not impressed with it. In fact, I felt it was one of the worst essays I’d ever written.

Secondly, I fucking suck at socializing. And I really suck at speaking in front of huge groups. I thank them for the recognition but I’m just not ready for that.

One of my past professors has pushed another one of my essays into yet another competition. I’m not arrogant about winning, but I feel I have good chances to win that one as well.

Yes, they pay you.

Why get a Bachelor’s when you can get an M.D? That’s my mindset. 

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I always feel the need to 1-up someone and it’s not healthy. It’s not healthy because if I don’t succeed in such a task, I spiral into a soup of self loathing.

It’s part of the reason I enjoy movies like “City of God”. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about some slums in Brazil in the seventies. It’s about cocaine, power, and if you know anything about philosophy, a lot of philosophy.

It starts off describing a trio of slum teenagers and children, some of which rob and loot and deal drugs. They get money to help their families who often refuse to accept dirty money.

But there’s one kid who stands out from all the others without standing out and as a child full of ideas who is sick of not being recognized by the older “hoods”, tricks the trio and sprays a reign of death through a hotel brothel. He shoots ’em point blank. He’s a brutal child.

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But eventually he rises to the top because it’s all he’s been focused on. He finds ways to overpower everyone, he runs his slums by particular rules and regulations and although everyone bows at his mercy, they are at a type of peace for once.

He falls prey to the arrogance that partners with power and the arrogance is his downfall. I want to experience his success, his power, without the downfall and the only way to do that is to slither to the top without burning people along the way. I’m not out to hurt people (physically or mentally) and I’m not out to show off. I don’t want to be respected because of a title, because I’m a manager or an executive or a bestselling author or essayist, I want to be respected for the actions and the message I spread.

Often to get into those positions you sacrifice your integrity. You sacrifice your morals for the position, for the gold that comes with the position, and you don’t realize what you’ve done until you’re falling flat on your ass.

atm-machine-scramble-1This is why I’ve always loved Kant: we’re rational creatures. We don’t want to be treated as someone with instrumental value–in other words, we don’t want to be treated like objects, like tools, like an ATM machine. It’s not just about treating others with respect, or the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would want done to yourself), it’s also about having self respect. If you let yourself be used, you’re behaving unethically. 

I lived by that motto before I even knew how to spell Kant. It’s why, no matter how bad my anxiety is, no matter how far my depression knocks me down, I’ve always refused to let myself be run over or treated badly. It’s why I could build up the courage over my social anxiety to speak to my boss about my accommodations.

Once you’re in the professional realm, there’s no room for being a piece of raw meat. You’re in the lions den.

 

 

About AlishiaDee (372 Articles)
Alishia D. is a blogger, a beginning novelist, and a counselor at 2nd Story Peer Respite house where diagnostic labels and the culture of mental health is long forgotten. She's a mental health peer who has bounced through as many labels as she has doctors, and enjoys being sarcastic when she can. She also hates writing in 3rd person.

2 Comments on The Lion’s Den

  1. Congrats on your essay!

    Liked by 1 person

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