• jess

It's not "okay," but apparently I have Gender Triggers

Okay, here’s a personal one, Motherfuckers. Also, an angry, void-of-any-research one. I'm RANTING this one out to relieve some steam.

Sorry (not super sorry) to everyone I'm about to piss off. If you know I'm talking about you... fine, actual, "sorry." Don't take it personally, I'm taking responsibility. I know it's my well-meaning brain reacting to yours.

Happy Friday! I’m less "TGIF" and more "GTFO" today. Burning up on the inside. Feeling pretty fucking livid and generally indignant.

Particularly, at men.

I’m not proud. I’m not saying this is right. I’m not a fan of generalizing your emotional responses to an entire group of people. I’m also not pretending that this isn’t MY shit rearing up with it’s ugliest, most sexist voice screaming the loudest. It is.

There’s no doubt, I’m super sensitive to the opposite gender. I'm taking accountability for that right now. It's me, not totally you.

There’s a buttload of trauma there. There are unprocessed memories and complicated reactivities in my body. There are negative expectations from my past. There are old patterns that drum up feelings of shame, panic, and anger. I know, it’s inside of me. I’m triggered, I’m reactive, and I’m very finely-tuned to the subtleties of interactions that may or may not be intentional or conscious on their part.

It’s on me - I’m not happy about it and I’m not claiming to be “correct” here.

But after a lifetime of their authoritarian rule, sexual harassment, and father-like dismissal… uh, I’m done with all of it. I think that’s understandable.

If you aren’t aware of my story - well, I grew up in a male-dominated household. My dad was a large, domineering, violent man. My oldest brother was the same. Both of them were addicts and aggressive criminals. Both of them effectively caused my trauma brain after ruling our lives with physical intimidation, narcissism, and over-expressed self-certainty.

From there, I’ve been unlucky to work in environments with entitled, explosive, ego-centric men who believe that women exist to serve them. I’ve had CEOs who openly sexually harassed me while threatening to fire me for - quite literally - no reason, other than my lack of smiling. I’ve had a professor-boss who tried to fire me for refusing to take on a second full-time job that I wasn’t qualified for, under the umbrella of my first full-time job that I already wasn't qualified for. I’ve had coworkers who referred to me as “a crazy woman” or made up stories about my sexual exploits to turn other coworkers against me.

And all the while, they’ve tried to sit me down, lecture me on a life they know nothing about, and pat me on the head for my "efforts."

On top of that, my romantic relationships… well… they follow the structures of the prior abuses I just detailed. Always someone’s subservient sidekick. Always assuming the blame when things aren’t perfect. Always expected to make things perfect, somehow, anyways. Always being idealized and put down at the same time. Always being lectured, taken care of, and infantilized… when I’m not being pushed into acting like a substitute mother figure. A constant codependent back and forth, fluctuating between fantasy, parenting, and gaslighting.

So. When I sense manipulation, I get irrationally angry. When I think someone is viewing me as a damaged little animal, I get super fucking outraged. When people have the audacity to talk down to me like I’m an inexperienced little kiddo, you know, I get beyond-rageful.

And for some reason, it seems like men are about a million percent more likely to interact in these ways.

I’m just really wondering today if men can’t functionally be a part of this trauma healing group. Maybe just for my own sake? Maybe for the comfort of the community? I don’t know. I’m not sure how many people this impacts, since the comments are generally directed towards me. Maybe I’m just being explosive and assuming that other folks feel the same discomfort and sharing-shutdown. It’s very possible.

And again, I'm not saying I'm RIGHT to feel this way - just that I DO feel this way.

So far there have been three fairly-common outcomes of men finding TMFRs and getting involved, and all of them really rub me the wrong fucking way.

  1. Developing love interest

  2. Presenting a know-it-all, mansplaining, negging persona

  3. Trying to white knight this shit

Alright, look. Maybe point number one is no ones’ fault? I mean, feelings are feelings. I know, I just tend to react poorly when people express their romantic interests that are formed on the basis of… well, fucking NOTHING. Yes, I’m spitting out some personal thoughts and recollections, and maybe when you get in touch with me, you are too… but don’t get it twisted - we’re strangers.

You might hear my voice and my stories on the podcast, but you don’t know me. Seeing a picture and hearing a few tales is not enough material for developing any kind of obsession or fallacy of intimacy. A human can be “interested,” based on this much information, sure, but anything beyond that is a self-constructed fantasy. And sorry, but it ain’t going to happen. Not here as an alternative to OK Cupid.

I know that we can’t control our feelings, so I feel like an ass for bitching about this… but we can control our thoughts. Please, don’t start thinking about me beyond the scope of my words. And the scope of my words ends at “I’m not trying to date someone who clearly has no respect for appropriate or realistic boundaries.”

On the second point of seeing some mansplaining know-it-alls… Yo, no one asked for you to come over and lecture me on trauma, podcasting, or my life decisions.

What the fuck? I’m sorry, but did you seek out my words on complex trauma? Yes? Okay then, call me an uppity butthole, but unless you actually have material or resources for me to constructively use to improve my efforts…. Uhhh…. Zip your fucking lips. I’m not an expert - I say it all the time - but I’m also not asking anyone to interrupt my message for their equally-amateur thoughts on trauma recovery. Thanks!

If you have thoughts about my life choices (i.e. quitting my job), go ahead and keep your concerns to yourself unless you’re offering me a new one. I’m a big girl, and one who’s fucking tired of being told what to do, if that wasn’t clear. Listening to the advice of random strangers who think that their extra years of life experience with a penis gives them the right to tell me how to live… uhhh… not in the cards.

Also, if you just need to reach out to tell me how my podcast could be improved for your own listening preferences (for example, “you sound scripted at some points, I can help you with that”) - hahahaha, you can find the closest door and fuck right off through it. As stated a million times, I have about 4 jobs. Writing and putting out podcasts is something that I do with what WOULD-be my spare time, but instead I have NONE, in an attempt to help people. Sorry about my tone, it's not something I have the bandwidth to perfect at this moment.

I’m not a professional podcaster or anything else. I’m not doing this project with any outside help. I’m not trying to put a bunch of pressure on it. I’m not aiming for perfection. I have other shit to worry about. If the production value or my “performance” isn’t up to par for you - guess you can do it better. Go ahead! Put yourself out there and help people! Nothing stopping you from starting your own website, blog, community, and podcast from scratch. Do the work while you juggle several real jobs, then come back and show me how to do it right. I’ll wait. Until then, shut down your compulsion to relay the ways you could teach me to do it better.

Lastly, my final point of contention, which is sort of a combination of the last two… DO NOT TRY TO FUCKING WHITE KNIGHT ME. Seriously, all the middle-aged men who’ve jumped in and started up with their “I’m just worried about you, are you okay, get ahold of me if you need to…” bullshit. Fucking stop. Gross.

If it was unclear - and apparently it has been - I’m fucking fine. Compared to where I’ve been and what I’ve been through, I’m GREAT. I’m steps into my trauma recovery. I’m capable of doing this project because I’m generally good. I’ve been in a horrible, suicidal pit at many times in my life. I’ve been destitute and dangerous to myself. And never once was I publishing researched articles, starting online communities, or trying to broadcast my learnings at those points.

When I write blogs or publish podcasts about having an anxious day - bitch, I’m talking about my anxiety being at a 3/10 where it used to be a 12/10 every single day. I am good. When I say I’m feeling a bit “down,” that’s what I mean. It’s not a secret cry for attention or pity - I could get that on Facebook or Reddit any fucking day, if that was my goal.

I am not here for anyone to come comfort or save me. If anything, I’m here to comfort and save other people. “Reaching a hand back down to where I used to be,” essentially. Not to say that I’m perfect or I’m a holder of sacred truths - just that the difference between where I was and where I am is WORLDS APART.

Is my language honest, descriptive, and vulnerable? Sure. Does that mean I'm desperately crying out for help. No. I'm illustrating the experiences I've been through for others to connect with them. Half of the things I say are old throwbacks to being in the worst places in my life, dramatized and condensed for the sake of humor and connectability. No one tunes in to hear a constant stream of "I'm doing well today..." or else they'd just stick to their real world, shallow conversations.

Besides the fact that if you’re listening to my shit, you clearly found it for a reason. How about you keep worrying about your mental health and trauma recovery before you try to creepily father me. It’s gross. I don’t want your motherfucking unsolicited advice, I don’t want to hear that you’re worried about me (? dry heaving while I even type that), and no, I’m not going to call you if I’m having a hard time. Inappropriate.

You aren’t going to flash your lifestyle, knowledge, or finances in front of my face and receive favorable reception. I’m not going to be your sugar-baby. I’m not an exotic but damaged creature who has been overlooked by every other man as I wait in my cage for you to unlock the door. I promise. I’m well satiated when it comes to male attention. I’m not waiting for anyone to come “discover” me in my natural habitat to whisk me away to a prettier place. I don’t want to rely on you - or anyone - for money, advice, or a false sense of security.

If you find yourself putting on your armor and mounting your noble steed - steer yourself right back to the stables. This princess isn’t riding double. I have my own horse and my own dragons to slay.

Fuck. Okay. I know, I’m angry and being a dickkkk. Trust me, I’m aware. I’m generalizing my anger into a bias against men and it’s not cool.

But, I still have to mention… You know who hasn’t done any of this inappropriate shit? Not-men. Women join the community and do nothing but share and support each other. Women talk about their struggles openly, without anyone responding in a condescending tone or offering unwanted “help.”

I’m here for that. I want to have a nurturing, supportive community of chill-as-fuck trauma sufferers on the road to recovery. All mutually learning and working through our shit together, with genuine interest in one another as complex, challenged, and healing human beings.

I don’t want to be shoved into some box, constructed from the same old cultural explanations and expectations. I’m tired of being seen as a sad, scared little girl. I’m also not interested in being a lust worthy fantasy based on a blurry picture and some imagined personal intimacy. I don’t want to be a cold-ass, academic bitch, either.

I’m all and none of these things. I’m just me. And that’s good enough. And I’m dealing with it, as I’m fully capable of and destined to realize, all by my-motherfucking-self. That's part of my fucking recovery, and that's the meat of the message behind Traumatized Motherfuckers.

If you’re seeking me out, if you’re listening to MY words, if you’re following my journey… fucking cool. I appreciate it. I really do. Be in my corner root for me. Hear my struggles and my learned lessons. I hope something I say is helpful - for real, I do!

But don’t look at me through victim-colored lenses. Don’t misinterpret my words as a plea for help. Don’t insert YOUR personal issues with boundaries, codependency, and inferiority into my narrative. Don’t find one thing you appreciate about me and feel the need to express three other areas where, actually, YOU could improve things. It's rude.

I’m not a broken little bird, waiting to be saved. I’m not a daddyless girl, looking for a substitute. I’m not a fucking victim of my life, incapable of pulling my own shit together. CLEARLY.

Sorry to sound like an asshole, but here I go: I’m the moderator of this community. I’m the writer of this blog. I’m the host and producer of this podcast. I have visualized, created, and continued to make it all - day after day, year after year - MY FUCKING SELF. And I've kept my shit together, throughout all of it.

I’m not looking for your help or your pity or your love. I’m looking for like-minded humans who want to talk about where we’re at and how we’re moving forward. And that doesn’t include hanging onto fake-daddy’s big strong hands. I’m not a pathetic, confused puppy, waiting on your approval or your expertly-crafted escape plan. I’m a self-assured human who’s getting more confident and independent every day. I’m a strong, tough, smart, resilient bitch.

I am the OG Traumatized Motherfucker.

And I’ve had enough of your gender-biased bullshit, just as you’ve probably had enough of mine. Let's acknowledge that we're both totally "not-okay" with this shared gender trigger.

Cool. Peace.


Traumatized Motherfxckers

Not doomed. Not damaged.

Not dead yet.

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