Ten Benefits of an Abusive Childhood

While you’re in it, it obviously doesn’t seem like a childhood filled with verbal abuse, feeling constantly under siege, or being physically harmed to the point of having PTSD would have any benefits. When you become an adult, however, you learn that enduring all of the shit that you did actually does have some positives. Here’s just a few.

1. We don’t have anyone to put in a home when they are older.

Most children of abusive parents decide to cut ties with their “caregivers” as adults. As for me, I haven’t talked to my father in about a decade (is he still alive? What a mystery that I do not care to solve!) and have spoken to my mother once in five years.

Neither of these people are my responsibility.

I will not be paying for their medical care and I will not be making decisions for their health as they age. Someone else is gonna have to pull that plug.

2. We are already in therapy so we are prepared to deal with all the rest of our shit.

The older I get, the more I realize that everyone needs therapy. Whether you think you do or not, whether you come from a great family or one like mine, you should talk to someone who knows how brains work on the regular. My therapists have uncovered things that I did not even know were there and helped me stay (relatively) sane while navigating the world.

Find a good therapist on psychologytoday.com.

3. We know what a shitty relationship looks like.

This one can be a little tricky. If you grew up in shit, most likely you will either end up exactly like your parents, or exactly opposite of them. When we do run the other way at full speed, we look for those relationships that are uber supportive and, after a few years of therapy (see number 2), we refuse to accept anything less.

4. No difficult conversations need to be had – because we don’t talk to them!

Again, this is for the children of abusive parents who have the luxury of no longer speaking to those who led to their creation. Of course, one may have to for the sake of siblings or for financial assistance, or some other valid reason. However, if you are in the position to be able to, cut them off for your own sake. It was one of the best things I ever did.

That said, I never had to come out to my parents. I also never had to tell them about diagnoses, introduce my partner to them, or share any of my life with them in general. (Sigh of contented relief.)

5. We aren’t easily rattled.

The little things in life aren’t going to devastate us. In fact, there are multiple studies and articles like this one that say of children from abusive homes, “exposure to early challenges which don’t destroy us may actually enhance our ability to cope with future threats.” Indeed, I’m super calm in a crisis, never cry over spilt almond milk, and I’m about to start classes to become an EMT.

6. We make awesome friends.

We will always show up. If you need help, even if you need help MOVING, we will be there. Our friends are our family – since we do not have a biological one – and we know what we always needed and deserved, so we try and deliver just that.

7. We adopt all of the animals.

Name one person you know that had a fucked-up childhood that hasn’t adopted an animal. I’ll wait. (Cue sipping iced chai for a loonnnggg time.)

8. Jokes don’t really offend us.

A bit like the us never being easily rattled benefit, we also are not quick to be offended. Send us the links to those hilarious, crude YouTube videos, spill the tea about coworkers, and hey even send around this article. The title will probably make us laugh our asses off.

9. So much money is saved on flowers, ties, cards, and other shit for “holidays.”

I’m gonna eat out alone next weekend for Father’s Day. And enjoy it. And have all the hummus to myself. Hell, maybe I’ll even buy myself a tie.

10. When we put ourselves back together we are stronger than anyone else.

Truth be told, if you haven’t struggled, you aren’t legitimately strong. You haven’t been put through hell and clawed your way back, so if you lose your job, your world crumbles. For those of us who grew up in poverty and/or turmoil, our survival instincts kick in. We know where to go for financial assistance, we are willing to work any job to stay afloat, and we do what we have to do to survive. Survival instinct isn’t something that can be taught from a book or The Google. You have to earn it, the hard way.

There you have it. Ten reasons why an abusive childhood is beneficial to us as adults. Obviously, this means that everyone should start abusing their children asap to reap these benefits.

April (or whatever month it is rn) fools!

So many positives come from growing up in a supportive, functional, affirming household without the downsides of increased likelihood of diseases, be that physical and mental, the emotional scars that never really go away, the loneliness of not having a family to call up and ask for advice or visit during the holidays, and insert a million other examples here. BUT, if you are like me, effectively an orphan, take some solace in the fact that you are not alone and that you are bomb and can survive a literal apocalypse.

Now, go forth and enjoy your regular old Sunday, however the fuck you want to.

Liberal Men Will Let You Down Too. I’m Looking At You, Joe Biden

I was scrolling through my Goodreads “read” list the other day and as I went back the past two years, I realized that every man I have read a book by recently has been accused of sexual misconduct. Aziz Ansari. Willie Parker. Admittedly my list of books written by men that I have put myself through is short, but we are talking two for two. 100% of the men on my “read” list over the past two years have been accused of inappropriate behavior towards women; Ansari for pressuring a woman who clearly was not interested into sex and Parker for sexual assault.

What strikes me most about these two instances is that these are were both outstanding, liberal, feminist men that we as a society held out as doing the right thing. Ansari worked on one of the most feminist shows ever made (also my favorite of all time), Parks and Recreation, and was known for calling out gross male behavior on his own show Master of None. Parker is a leading abortion provider in states where providers are few and far between such as Mississippi and Alabama and has served on the board of organizations such as Physicians for Reproductive Health.

With these new allegations toward former Vice President Joe Biden, I cannot say that I am surprised. I am disappointed. In myself. For thinking that just because a man says he fights for women, that he cares about our bodily autonomy and respects us as equal human beings, that he would actually practice what he preaches. We’ve seen it so many times. Here’s a hint: if you wouldn’t act that way toward a man, don’t do it around a woman. Would Biden kiss a man’s forehead? I doubt it.

A New York Times article from April 3rd quotes Biden as saying, “Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset and I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying.”

If that paragraph doesn’t make you want to punch a wall, we cannot be friends.

No, Joe, our boundaries have not changed. How would that make sense that social norms have changed our desire for personal space? We have always wanted you to step back; now we are just more empowered to tell you. This is his way of pushing responsibility of his creepy behavior off of his plate. Own up to your mistakes – I mean, if we can call hugging and kissing and rubbing women’s backs mistakes instead of utter stupidity and complete disregard for personal space – or in other words, woman up.

Giving up on men entirely is not the answer, tempting as it is. Standing up and not accepting their behavior, calling out men who do not call out other men (it’s your job, dudes), and making sure other women are supported, accepted, and are ok, that’s what we can do. Oh that and help elect more women into office.

As for me? Well, until there is a fundamental change in human male behavior (will this be in my lifetime, I do not know) all books written by men are officially banned from my Goodreads list.

Honesty Scone: Being a Woman is Exhausting

Taking up space in a world that men think they own is exhausting. It’s necessary, but it can be draining.

In the grocery store where men think they can push past you to get to the lettuce. In a meeting where a man tries to talk over you. And sometimes, as was the case a few weeks ago, men literally try to take up all of the space around them.

For an entire 3 and a half hour plane ride, the guy to the right of me decided that not only was the armrest between us his, but also that he could take up some of the space on my seat with his elbow or knee or whatever body part he wanted.

Boys who are never told no turn into men who pour over into women’s spaces, put their hands where they are not welcome, believe that women’s lives are less valuable. There are countless examples of this in screenshots of dating site conversations, like on the Instagram account #byefelipe. 

Keep fighting, fellow women. Keep walking into men, staring them down, and keep pushing them back into their seats. I know it’s exhausting, but nothing will change unless we fight. Yes, men need to be raised better. They need to be taught as boys – from birth – to respect women, and not in the sense of holding open doors and pulling out chairs.

We already have hands.

What we need, men, is for you to keep your goddamn mouths shut when we walk past you on the street. To make sure that you don’t take women’s ideas and claim them as your own. To take the fucking space that you already have in the world and make it feminist; without demanding space in feminism.

Have pictures or stories of men that need to be called out? Share em and shame em below!

Women, You Don’t Owe Men Shit

A few months ago, I was in a thrift store just checking out the furniture selection for my newly single lifestyle when a dude decided that he deserved some space in my life. “How are you? How ARE you? HOW ARE YOU?” He asked more and more frantically and loudly as I continued to ignore him. As is typical for me, I had my headphones in and zero interest in beginning a conversation with a middle-aged straight white man (who also happened to be shopping with his wife/female partner).

“Hi,” I said, after his third obnoxious proclamation in my direction. I wanted to continue looking at what I was interested in, and in order to do so, I had to stroke a man’s ego. You can’t ignore men. It drives them insane.

Here’s my argument to you today: Let’s make them insane.

And while we’re at it, let’s make men afraid.

Women are always taught to make ourselves smaller, to not take up too much space, to let others cause a ruckus. There’s fear for our safety, fear for our likeability, and most importantly according to society, advertising, and media, fear that men will not want to fuck us if we are too. Too loud, too confident, too bold, too hairy, too masculine, too muscly, too anything. We have to stay in our lanes, in our boxes, don’t push, don’t question.

I’m here to say: question.

Why do men think they can call us “sweetie” as we pass by on our way to class or look us up and down as if they are planning on consuming us? Why do we let them?

I’m not arguing that all situations are safe or easy to push back in. If it’s late at night, you’re alone, and in a non-public space, that’s maybe not the best time to get in someone’s face.

But.

If you feel safe, but pissed, violated, frustrated, sick of men’s shit – tell them. Tell them that they can go fuck themselves. Refuse to be smaller. Reject their attempt to make you fell lesser. No one can do that without your consent (paraphrasing my girl Eleanor).

The next time some dude gets too close to you in the grocery store line, hit him with your bag “accidentally,” tell him you need more space, start to act real weird and loudly burp or fart – just remind him you are human and he needs to back. the. fuck. up.

And when you do this, don’t apologize. Even if it’s insincere. Men are never sorry. Don’t give them your apologies. They need to earn it.

One of my favorite things is bumping into men and having them apologize to me. Try this experiment: every time you walk past a man, don’t move out of the way. Most of the time, he’s not going to either. He’s used to people catering to him. This is going to lead to you bumping into each other. Trust me. Almost every day I bump into a man.

And you know what? Sometimes it leads to a hurt shoulder. But you know what else it leads to? Satisfaction. Own. Your. Space. You matter. Act like it.

Coming Out – 1 Year Later

Once you know you can’t unknow. Once you see the potential on the other side, the glittery, rainbowy, sparkling, amazing other side, you can’t turn around. There was a timespan of about two months between meeting a woman that literally took my breath away and being diagnosed with a major illness and then about three months between diagnosis and finally realizing that, “Oh shit, I am GAY.” It was kind of a lot happening at once.

Figuring out your sexuality – especially later in life – is not an easy process. There are so many layers to deciding to forego one sex for all eternity and committing to a label (labels are surprisingly something I, as a commitmentphobe, are fond of.) So much letting go of past assumptions of yourself, what you thought you always knew and were even proud of. Telling everyone you know that, “Whoops, got it wrong the first time I came out to ya. Here we are again!” But then there’s also the slight disappointment when no one is surprised at all but you.

So many things have dawned on me since I first started thinking I could be gay those many months ago. How I never looked at attractive men and thought, “Yes, I would like to sleep with/smush faces with them.” How I always wanted to be the cool male characters in movies or in t.v. shows – the Dr. House or the Michael Bluth – but never wanted to have the sex with them. How I really just kind-of wanted to cohabitate and have their awesomeness become my awesomeness.

One of my favorite songs is called Dear Me by Eric Hutchinson. In it, he writes a love letter to his past self. He tells him that everything is ok on the other side. That he will make it through and that the struggle will all be worth it. So…

Dear Me,

You GAY. You have to go. You have to give up the safety and security that you just got after a lifetime of uncertainty and you have to jump. You’re not gonna be fine. You’re gonna be better than ever. Your illness is going to stay under control. Stop worrying so much. It’s your one life. You gotta live it. Start now.

Love,

Me