There are always blogs I read out there that show models of perfection; women/men who have their lives together, are eating the right thing, running 10 milers, acing their exams/getting prmotions at work, have perfect relationship with their spouses and seem like paragons of virtue. I read them constantly to inspire me to be better when in reality they make me feel small, insecure and imperfect. I am not the girl who can show up to an 8:30am Math class at college looking trendy in a cute outfit, with a latte and the homework completed. I’m the girl who still had bed-head/stayed up late doing the assignment/glasses(didn’t have time to put on contacts–or brush my teeth for that matter) with a frazzled look. My curls are all over the place. and I’m probably in sweats.
I’m not that girl who wakes up every morning for “some yoga” and then has no problem eat veggies/fruits for EVERY SINGLE meal, saying no to cupcakes/carbs and is happy every single second. I struggle to workout. I mean I love it when I’m doing it, and most of the battle is getting up to do it–but it’s not easy or natural by any means (except for dancing–which is the most natural thing in the world). Even now–I hate treadmills. They make me feel like a hamster. I rather would dance around my room, go swimming in the ocean and run up and down the streets to feel the wind in my hair and my heart pumping against my chest. I love fruits and veggies, but I am very conscious of my intakes and am starting to drink the Green Smoothies in the morning to get those “out of the way” first thing in the morning. I love love love food, but I would pick bread and cheese over lettuce and tomatos in any world where neither of those foods had calories. I am severely imperfect. I am very hormonal, irrational sometimes and overly judgemental at other times. I have my strengths (I am kind, generous, compassionate, outgoing, sensitive, egalitarian etc.)–But at the same time, I can be unkind, I can be irritable, judgemental, closed off, and just plain bitchy. I’m no paragon of virtue.
I think I should outline my college experiences and how they make me the fragile, cracked, vulnerable but yet strong piece of worn leather I am today.
My first semester of college was a very fast moving frenzied time in my life. I was independent. I was on my own schedule. Because I was so outgoing, I was taking part in 10-15 clubs and doing well. I was making groups of friends and keeping up a social life. I worke makeup every morning and planned out my outfits. I was taking two honors classes and gave off the apperance that I had it “all together”. I dumped my wonderful senior year boyfriend (one thing I regret so much is breaking his heart, but he and I are good friends now, and I still apologize to him ALL THE TIME) to find a “college guy” and experience it all. I wanted the parties, the boys and the social life. I even lied to my parents and said everything was alright. In October I found a guy who I shall call here “The Abuser”. That should foreshadow what his personality was like. He was everything I was looking for at the time–He was smart, a sophomore (an “older man”), arrogant, cocky (which I mistook for self-assured–nothing can be further from the truth) and honest (which later he used as an excuse to justify emotional abuse). Well for those few months we were fine, despite the fact that I was failing school. That december much to the dismay of me and my parents, I brought home 3 Cs and a D. I felt shattered. I fell apart. I didn’t drink or anything but in the midst of all this need to have a “college experience” I lost the main reason why I was at college in the first place. My parents sat me down and said “it’s up to you–we could pull you home and send you to state school which costs a fraction of what we’re paying now and you can screw up there. Or you can quit all these social activites, accept the fact that looking good/dressing trendy/doing makeup and being a straight-A student are somewhat mutually exclusive events and go back to CMU with your act together.” I quit every single club right then and there. I was in two fashion shows, 5 dances–quit all of those and went back to school determined to shed this air-head facade I was starting to give off.
Second semester is interesting to go into–I did end up getting the 4.0. I was one of a handful of students my dean later told me, who could go from 1.74 (Academic Probation) to a 4.0 (deans list with high honors) in the span of one semester. But all that pressure got to me. On one hand, my boyfriend was starting to show his true colors. but still we were in a honeymoon period and I didn’t see the signs. I also lost my virginity that semester. I was so determined to lose it and shed this “innocent girl” image and I was ready to give it to “the Abuser” because he was a virgin too. So we fumbled through it the first time and I won’t lie and say that it didn’t hurt. It did. A WHOLE LOT. and continued to hurt for several months after the fact. With this tremendous pressure to be a good girlfriend and a good student, I started binging. I would go into these episodes where I would NEEED to consume food. It was like an itch I couldn’t scratch until my stomach was close to ripping apart and the food could be felt from the bottom of my stomach to the top of my throat. I would even steal food from my roomate who kept junkfood around (I didn’t) and would buy her the food, apologize, only to binge again. i gained about 5-10lbs. Not too many considering. but the way I felt was worse. I felt like I was trying to be the perfect girl and taking it all out on my body.
That summer I came home and The Abuser started showing more of his colors. he would be super needy and would get mad at me when I had to go to hang out wiht my family. Anyone who knows me knows that familiy is VERY IMPORTANT to me and he wouldn’t accept that. My little brother came to college to visit me once, beat the Abuser in video games and the Abuser told me flat out htat “my brother was an asshole, and he didn’t like him”.–Mind you, my little brother is 19now and the abuser is 22 or 23. He was just severly immature. He would also tell me how he was going to cheat on me (as a joke) and how I may have gotten the 4.0, but it was because I was in an “EASY MAJOR” like biology while he was in such a tough major called Electrical and Computer engineering. I admit that ECE is harder than bio, but not in a way that my 4.0 was undeserved or much easier to obtain. I still didn’t see the signs. My parents met him and didn’t like him. I told them they were being racist (he’s black, I’m pakistani). Now I know they weren’t because they love my boyfriend now and he’s black. It’s just that The Abuser was an ass and they didn’t like the way he was constantly putting me down. My cousins met him and HATED HIM. It even was that all my friends at college who traveled in similar friend circles as him didn’t like him either…They just didn’t tell me til after we broke up.
During the following semester, I lived with 9 of my friends. It was a blast. I still was pressure to do really well and by my expectations I did well. Not by the expectations of my parents–who demand 4.0s every semester. My boyfriend was starting to show his true colors. I broke up with him for like 2 hours one day over the summer but he made me feel SO bad about it, I got back together. There was some tension related to that. We completed 1 year together–didn’t do anything for it. Nothing big happened that semester except that my Aunt relapsed with her cancer for the first time and we found out it spread to her brain. I was having a hard time coping with that. That december I went to see her and it was really rough on me.
The following semeste rin January, The Abuser tells me that “he’s planning on breaking up with me the following summer.” Needless to say I was devastated. He was treating me like a 4-month long booty call. Then he’d go home, mess around with other girls and come back the following semester to get back with me. I took it out and cheated on him over spring break. That was a bad mistake on my part. I cheated on him with my first boyfriend ever ( a great guy, who was a virgin as well). I broke up with him the next day. I do not justify cheating under ANY circumstance. In my opinion the relationship was over by that point–He had already broken my heart. I just didn’t have the strength before cheating on him, to actually break it off wiht him first. He used to tell me “I was smart ‘enough'” whatever that means. He used to say I was pretty “he guessed” but I was lucky he was dating me. He made me feel ugly and unintelligent and completely inadequate. That was March of last year (2008). When I came back to school and he kept hounding me for “breakup sex”. He said he had a right to it since we were together for 1.5 years. He didn’t know I cheatd on him. He just knew I broke up with him. I was scared to tell him…I still was helping him with Spanish since I had been helping him before we broke up. Well one day while i went to teh bathroom, he went into my stuff and read that I cheated on him through a private email I sent on of my friends pre-breakup. When I came back to the room he got violent. He shoved me into the wall and hit my head into the wall. THen he got in my face and started cursing me out. Horrible things I still flinch thinking about. He then left the room, punching the wall one more time. I just got into bed and fell asleep. I didn’t allow myself to grieve or even think about how that experience would affect me.
I was completely vulnerable. I felt so broken and lost. I just focused all that energy into school. I didn’t want to think too hard about the fact that my aunt was in a coma due to collapsed lungs or that I was just abused. That summer I got an opportunity to research with this young Doctor (40s). I was completely vulnerable at this time. So he would start prying into my life. At first it started about religion. Then politics. And from there he was telling me personal details bout his life and I was telling him personal details about mine. I was completely Naiive having never worked in this type of setting before. And he took advantage of that. One time I even went to help him paint one of his properties he was renting out and he picked me up from teh train station once. I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t articulate yet how it was wrong or why I felt so guilty. He was married and had two kids. I also didn’t know if I had the right to quit the job or throw the opportunity in his face. I would tell my parents and they’d tell me to keep the discussion professional. Well I tried keeping it cool and professional but he told me he thought I wasn’t “being myself” and sent me home. He also would divulge details of his sex life with his wife and tell em how beautiful I was. I felt like an enabler even though I hadn’t done anything wrong excpet be Naiive. In August 2008, I just felt so disgusted with myself and like a victim of abuse and sexual harassment, I was blaming myself for both instances. I stopped going to work. And I came home one weekend and my parents didn’t know how to deal with me. They told me that I was so beautiful and I wore clothes that enhanced my beauty too much. I wore makeup. I didn’t dress or act professional. I felt like they were blaming me. THey probably weren’t but it came out wrong nonetheless and I blamed myself more.
The only good thing from that summer is that I met my current boyfriend. He and I had fantastic times together and I made really good friends as well. Those are the best things. But i felt homesick and instable. Well now onto fall of last year. My aunt recovered to some degree and we were in a better place with her. But I think all those pent up feelings I had stuffed down deep began overflowing. I would have dreams that I was being chased to be raped by both the Abuser and The Boss. I would have insomnia. I felt so wrong about what I was doing in regards to science–my bad experience with the boss rather than the research that summer left a bitter taste in my mouth and any kind of science that reminded me of him caused me to freeze up. I was crying every night and just feeling depressed. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and the doctors wanted to shove drugs on me. Me and my parents thus agreed that I should come home and first try to heal myself. Find myself. and then if I wasn’t better by the end of this semester, I could take drugs to cope. So that’s how I got to be home. And that’s why you’ll never hear me calling myself perfect. I am hopefully, completely and very comfortably imperfect. and I think we should pursue the acceptance of imperfection in our lives because it makes us, us. That’s all I have for now. Sorry this turned out SO LONG.