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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why I'm Complicated

Oh goodie. I'm "complicated". I'm not entirely sure, but I think it's one of the best compliments I've ever received. Sure.  I'm both completely and totally secure, and at the same time (under the layer of pride), I can be insecure sometimes. I know we all have that, but everyone is different. The man didn't mean that women were hard to understand. He meant me; specifically. Hahaha! While I'd like to think that I'm easy to please. (Inside I just feel this base persona of Amy as, "if you love me, I'll love you back. I take care of everyone. Everyone is happy. I fall madly in love. Happiness and passion follow, etc . . ") However, life is not simple, and I sure as heck am not at all simple. I'm not sure I'd ever want to be.  I try to keep myself deep, but realistic.

I am conservative, but I can be liberal. I never, think in black and white. It's not just that I have a lot of thoughts, goals, passions and things to do, but I'm also hard to predict at times. If you love steak, but hate to hurt animals, then you understand the kind of dichotomy I'm talking about. That's me.

As far as personality goes, I have always been a little complicated. I'm extremely passionate, but I can get over lost relationships quickly. I think it's because I feel the pain all at once, and then I move on. I don't have time to dwell on how people made me feel, and I don't think I want to give someone else the power to make me feel bad. I mean, I decide how I feel.  I'm not dependant on any person other than myself, and I refuse to be. It's entirely possible that I'm afraid to be so. I want that independence for my kids too. I think in a lot of ways I want all humans to be more confident, and independent. It's been my goal in life to keep my kids from ever being abused like I was. Ever. I don't ever want them to have to deal with the depths of low self esteem that I suffered.

I still sometimes don't take criticism well, but I try very hard to get ernest input from people to specify things, because I don't want myself overreacting. Frankly, I don't react until I'm 100% sure what I'm going to be reacting to. Dang. I am going to apologize in advance for the novel that is now this blog. I'm sure it's going to get long here, but please stay with me. Maybe I could teach you something?

Currently, writing is my life and my core profession, but I don't write professionally. Sometimes I ask myself, why can't you just pick a profession?!  Ok. It might be my mom asking that, but it is a fair question. Right now, I'm applying to law schools.  This completely and totally contradicts my hard work to get a Bachelor of Science in Applied Social Psychology from Cal Poly. I'm not all that interested in Liberal Arts jobs. I have taken and passed: the Real Estate exam, the Series 5, Series 51 Securities Exams, Notary, Class B Commercial license, the Life Insurance Exam, and of course don't forget the CBEST. Confused yet?

As far as my major, I think I struck out to help people, and then I just really, really wanted to learn about psychology, and sociology. Maybe I just wanted to understand people, and why they hurt each other. I wanted to protect kids. I mean, I still do that. I was a Resident Advisor in the dorms, and here in life I am, of course, the Apt Complex Mom. Sometimes I cure a tooth problem at 2 am. I mean, it has to be done. So, in hindsight, I should have gone back to school, and gotten more degrees. I know people with multiple degrees, and despite their debt, they're really, really happy. So, I am constantly learning about things, and I can't stop. It's just that my classroom is usually the world around me.

Perhaps most people with higher intellects are collectors of ideas, knowledge, experience and education. Perhaps people that have near-death experiences are more "thirsty" for knowledge too? They long for fun and experience, like I do. I mean, I worked at a major wine producing company last fall just to learn more about making wine. They didn't pay me much, and my hours were pretty unpredictable. I didn't do it for money. I was just thirsty for the knowledge and the experience. I made wine!!

I have learned in my past 40 years that there is no point in living, if you're not loving it. There's no point in keeping yourself on the planet if you're not having adventures or taking risks very often. You have to be  willing to pick up everything one day when an opportunity presents itself. And more people should think that way. Too many hear opportunity knock and don't answer.  I have always regretted not grabbing opportunities. I don't ever want to think "what-if" again. So, I try to live my life in a way that is respectful to myself, but that also doesn't restricted me too much. I drink wine, but never in excess. I love KFC, but I don't need a bucket of chicken. If you live well, you don't have to regret things. I mean I was married for over 15 years, and in hindsight I should have probably taken that job at the FBI instead. Hahaha.

So, if I had been honest with myself about my goals, dreams and desires when I was younger, my life would be different. Sure. There's a chance that I'd be dead by now if I'd done it, but there's a chance that I'd be happier. I could also be in a wheelchair, a burden on my family. Who knows?  I do know that I wouldn't have my kids. (So, honestly in hindsight, I'm glad that it went the way it did. I'm just not sure I would lead my kids in the same direction I went. ) However . . . .  life is crazy, and completely unpredictable. Some cops go their whole careers without having any serious threats on their lives, and some school teachers are gunned down in their kindergarten classroom. I mean, you don't really know for sure that you can plan anything right.

I think a chunk of my spread interests stems from my abuse.  At 6 years old, I wasn't sure I was human, or that life was real. Sometimes it felt like a dream. When you're severely abused you don't have a good sense of self, and if you have one, it's pushed down very deep inside you. (Read that story here.)

Let's call that Amy 2 point O.  I was a happy baby, so that was Amy 1.0.  Sadly, I don't have memories of Amy 1.0 because the abuse from Amy 2.0 blocks my memories from before 7 years old. Amy 2.0 only probably remembers about 3 minutes of real time. The memories are chopped up into mini-memories, and the rest has been mentally archived. I don't have to feel any emotions about the memories that I have, if I don't dwell on them or chose to explore them. This emotional numbness is now known as a symptoms of PTSD, but in real life it serves abused people every day. Interesting that war is what brought it to the forefront.  If it works right, selective memory, and memory numbness serve very good purposes to protect you. People can (after time), move on from stressful events that weren't too prolonged.

After the abuse, I did begin to grow a personality. In third grade I was a great reader. I could literally read anything in any book, and understand and keep up with most of it. My best grade though was fourth. I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Severans. She took an interest in me. In hindsight, she probably inspired all the children. She was beautiful, confident and classy. She had beautiful long hair and barely wore any makeup. She had a keen intellect, and encouraged us to read much more than the requirements. She was my first real role model. Amy 3.0 was really happy.

Fifth grade did not start well. I had a teacher who did not care, and I switched schools because I thought I would be happier away from some of the aggressive kids in my grade. Poor choice. I was bullied in the new school too. It wasn't horrible. I had one friend: Emily. Anyway, in 6th grade, I was pushed down deep inside my own head again. Amy 3.0 became Amy 4.0. Amy 4.0 referred to Amy 2.0 and 3.0 for advice on abuse (which was worthless).  Amy 2.0 was just 6 years old and Amy 3.0 hadn't built any life skills, assertiveness or butt kissing skills. So, I was bullied really badly. I was harassed, constantly insulted and even stalked when I walked home. Amy had to change again, but this time I tried very hard to give myself a footing. I never fought back, but instead I excelled in the classroom. I won awards and was the first kid in my class to memorize all the times tables. I remember traveling to compete in things. Mr. Gonzales was wonderful.

It's kind of hard to explain to someone who hasn't been the constant target of a bully, but I'll try. Day after day, you lose more and more of yourself. I understand why online bullying is causing so many kids to act out and commit suicide. I mean every day you think to yourself, "Tomorrow is going to be so much worse" . . and then it is! And there's no way for you to have a positive outlook on your life, because you're right. It does get worse. Every day is worse than the last. It doesn't end until the school year is over.

In hindsight, the school should have done more for me at that age. I was quite obviously a very humble, quiet kid. I was even targeted by more than one bully group! They disciplined no one. I was even in a fight with a really, really large older girl who wanted to pummel me. (When I asked why, she said that she "felt like it".)

Anyway, I had no bullies in junior high, and finally in 7th grade I felt like I was noticed when I had my first boyfriend, Mike Osburn. He was cute, but we only dated me for like 3 days. It didn't matter. He was cute, and he had liked me. I took comfort in that. I didn't even wear makeup, so I must have been cute without it (I thought). I never expected a boy to care about me, or see me, but he did. My self confidence got a boost. Amy 7.0 was happy, and began to make friends (sparingly) and be a child.

In 8th grade I was chosen for the cheerleading squad. Amy 8.0 was different than Amy 7.0, because I began to work the school's opinion of me into my persona. If anything, it gave me a solid foundation and good examples of what I should be at 14 years old. Leah was the team captain, and she was a good example. I was so awed by her confidence, ability to speak. The girl was so mature for her age, and she didn't have to command respect. It was given to her freely. I wanted to be like that. I still did not get people. I had trouble communicating, but I finally had friends! Demetria was my best friend and we were together all the time. She was also a cheerleader.  So, ya, I'm going to call that success.

In ninth grade, I was no one. I was content, but I lost all the importance of Amy 8.0. No one knew who I was at the high school, and I had very few social skills to use to gain friends. A cute senior did ask me out though, and I thought that was cool. I had one friend that went to Cajon: Deanna Rosier. I don't know why, but she saw potential in me, and we kept in touch after her sleep over. Amy 9.0 was a pretty unnoteworthy person.

In 10th grade I tried out, and finally became and cheerleader again, but not just that . . I was made captain because I had the highest score in try outs. I was shocked, but excited. In all my life, I think this was the main thing that lit a fire under my ass. It gave me the first real positive accomplishment in my life. I worked very, very hard. I did it myself, and it was not handed to me. I counted as a person, and I did something for myself! I'm not entirely sure if I ever was a human person before Amy 10.0. I lived in a mire of emotional muck and horrible memories before that. I was constantly trying to escape, and reform myself, but this finally did something for me. It didn't just cover up the darkness for a moment, it pushed away some of the dark cloud that hung over me. I felt like a real person!

That does not mean that I had ANY social skills or ability to work with my cheer team!! Hahaha!! It was confusing to them, I'm sure! I was sometimes harsh, sometimes extremely insecure, and then sometimes oddly  conceited. I was a wreck, because I was trying to act normal, but I didn't know how. . . My best friend was the only girl who could put up with me: Shelly Scott. My other friends were Jolene Depree, Melinda Vallejo and Joel Ortiz. Those were my only core friends, no matter which lunch I had. The boys were horrible to me, and often ran around the school saying I'd messed around with them. For the entire time I was at pacific though, I never messed around with anyone that went to my own school. I was actually pretty innocent. When I did date, I mostly dated guys from other schools. That way they couldn't talk about me with my classmates.

For about 5 minutes I went to Morongo Valley and Apple Valley High School. Then my mom moved me to a private school. I graduated and went to college, where I honestly grew up a lot more. I was successful there. I liked it. I finally had no reputation, and I finally had SOME social skills. So, I built myself into the image of the person that I wanted to be, and I did a decent job. As my confidence grew and I became an RA, I learned how to take care of others a lot better.

Through everything after that I was still Amy 10.0, and I've only grown based on that persona. So, in my head, I've lived several lives, but pushing oneself over the abyss is really difficult. Life is especially hard for kids. It's difficult to explain to anyone who hasn't experienced serious physical abuse, but I don't think the beatings are the worst part of abuse. It is the fact that you are so helpless, and that there is no pity. When you're crying and expecting the person to stop, and care, and they don't. Maybe they can't. You have surrendered completely, even emotionally  . . and it's still not enough for them. They have to make you suffer more.

That is the one thing that I will never understand about people who were abused, and then grow up to abuse. Do they not remember looking up at their abuser and asking their abuser to stop, with those big doe eyes? Do they not remember praying when they hear someone coming from the other room? If you have experienced that, how could you ever inflict it on someone else? I just don't get that. I suppose that's why so many people who were abused as children grow up to drink and use drugs. They don't get out from under that dark cloud. They never grow into a human. Even if you're 10 humans, it's the best case scenario.

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About Me

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I am a bit funny, crazy, sometimes serious and usually wise. I'm very creative and artistic. However my greatest gift in life is common sense.