The Week After A Sexual Assault

A little more than a week ago, I stepped onto a tram after a football match. It was a lovely day, and I had enjoyed myself so far. Of course, after a match in a stadium that holds over 50 thousand people, public transport to and from the stadium will be busy. I knew that, and didn’t think much of it.

Public transport was so busy that everywhere people pushed into each other to make sure the doors could close. At most, I thought it was hot on the tram. In the end, I only had to be in there for a few minutes. I was standing close to lots of people, wearing a skirt and a sweater. Just hoping that the minutes would go by fast so I could get some fresh air.

Then I felt someone’s hand go under my skirt, groping me inappropriately. Not knowing what to do, I froze for a second and shifted my weight, trying to turn myself away from this person. This person I had never talked to before, that I didn’t know, that was touching my most intimate parts in a tram stuffed with people.

Then, he did it again. More aggressive this time. I’m someone who usually knows what to say and do. I’m someone who is not easily scared of people. Most people know me as quite a tough girl with a foul mouth, not scared to put up a fight and stick up for my friends and family. But at that moment, I froze. It’s like I lose my ability to speak and the panic took over my entire brain.

Then, I managed to push his hand away, having to use quite a bit of physical force to do so. On my right side, someone else on the tram noticed what was happening and immediately put himself between me and the assaulter. I’m really thankful for this person physically putting himself between us, and in that way protecting me.

Feeling like I couldn’t breathe, I got off the tram early. At that point, I felt so scared and not in control. I felt violated, dirty and small. I was reminded that for some people, I’m not considered a whole person with emotions, desires and boundaries, but merely an object for them to touch whenever they please. Read More »

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Building Confidence And Self-Esteem: 3 Things That Helped Me

In my opinion, the importance of confidence and having a high opinion of yourself is vastly underrated. We act like having confidence would be nice, but it’s not a necessity.

Guess what. It totally is.

I think there is some confusion as to what it actually means to have self-esteem. Some people think that having lots of friends and being successful will improve our self-esteem. Others think that losing weight will get rid of their low self-esteem. Or that you have to actually accomplish something in order to be able to have self-esteem in the first place.

None of that is true. Put simple, Self-esteem just means that you appreciate yourself for who you are, including your faults and flaws. Self-esteem means that you know you are worthy, that you are good enough and you deserve everything you have.

In the past few years, I’ve really improved my self-esteem. I went from being a girl who thought she wasn’t worth the space she took up in a classroom, to a passionate, much more confident person that has come to appreciate her own strong personality. Of course, not every day is amazing, but I mostly feel good about who I am and I take pride in the things I stand for and my abilities and accomplishments. Today, I want to share three things that have really helped me get there.

Take a self-esteem inventory

‘You can’t fix what you don’t know’ is a sentence one of my therapists once said to me. It always stuck with me. Before we can start working on our self-image, we need to identify irrational thoughts and negative self-talk.

When I was in therapy at the age of fourteen, my therapist made me draw a line on a piece of paper. On the left side, she wanted me to list 10 strengths, and on the right side 10 weaknesses. I didn’t have a lot of difficulty coming up with ten weaknesses, but it was hard to come up with the strengths. My therapist made me look at it from a different perspective: had others told me they thought I was a good at something? I recalled times where people had called me smart, witty, a good writer. People had told me that they enjoyed my blog posts (man I’ve been around for a while) and they thought I told cool stories. Viewing it from this perspective, it was much easier to come up with 10 strengths.

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6 Reasons Why You Should Learn To Play An Instrument In Your Twenties

As a child, I always wanted to learn how to play guitar. Ever since I was ten years old, I’ve been obsessed with Taylor Swift, who was still America’s country sweetheart back then.

She looked so cool with her guitar, and I really related to her songs. When I was seventeen, I picked up a guitar for the first time in my life.

And that shit was incredibly hard to teach yourself. I didn’t have the money for guitar lessons, so I tried to teach myself. It didn’t work.

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It really wasn’t as easy as it seemed. C, D, E, A, and then all those chords in minor. Not to mention the dreaded G and F chords. And I gave up, only to pick up the guitar again three years later. Only to give it up again. 

But I’m proud to say that now, at 21 years old, I’ve finally taught myself how to play guitar half decently (Justin Guitar’s beginners course is my favorite free online resource). I also understand quite a bit about musical theory, which is awesome when you actually listen to music. It’s like looking at a piece of art in a whole different way.

Here’s why you should learn to play an instrument in your twenties.

Playing a musical instrument relieves stress

Playing a musical instrument helps to lower the blood pressure and heart rate, and with that, it’ll help you relieve stress. Listening to music already helps, but playing it is like a whole different feeling. I remember the first time I experienced the rush and happiness of playing an instrument: when I nailed a simple verse and chorus for the first time. It’s a sensation that I’m now addicted to.

Somehow, making music makes me happy, and I can’t even explain why.

Playing a musical instrument helps you build confidence

Once you are aware that you are able to do something well, like play the flute or guitar for instance, you naturally become more confident of your skills. This is why learning how to play a musical instrument can help build confidence skills in both children and adults. It teaches you that if you practice and keep at it, your skills will improve and you will be better.

”Strive for progress, not perfection.”

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An Introvert’s Guide To Starting A New Job (And Surviving Your First Week..)

There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to divide human beings. But something that comes up often on this blog, is the difference between introverts and extroverts.

If you’re familiar with the blog, you know that I’m an introvert. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to be around people and sit at home all the time, but it does mean that I need time for myself to recharge after I’ve been around people. In comparison, extroverts recharge by being around people. They thrive when they’re around others.

Because of this, starting a new job is an entirely different experience for introverts and extroverts. As an introvert, it’s something that I’ve struggled with in the past when starting new jobs or when I started college a few years ago. Oh, and I’m going back to school after the summer, so I’ll have to go through that all over again.

But there are a few things that I do to help me get through something that’s so emotionally draining for me. I used to have some unhealthy coping mechanisms, but I’m now in the group of humans (another way to divide us) that believes that coping mechanisms can be healthy. Here’s what I do.

Before you start

Research: And when I say research, I mean research. Of course, you already know a few things about the company because you applied for a job and had a job interview there, but I like to go further. I read everything. I stalk the employees on LinkedIn (I turn off that feature that tells them who’s looking on their profile) and I will read reviews from previous employees. Somehow, this helps me quiet down some of my anxiety.

Take time for yourself in the morning: Get up early. Go for a run. Get coffee at your favorite cafe before you get into the office. Make yourself comfortable. It’s a small act of self-love, but it makes all the difference. Read More »

The Truth About Eating Disorders: Why We Need to Stop Romanticizing The Anorexic

I knew a girl.

Pale. Delicate. Skinny. There’s something so romantic about her. Something that needs to be protected. She draws you in. Beautiful and broken and lost. She has those big, nervous eyes. She’s made of glass. Every word breaks her. And she bleeds. She bleeds all the time, but you wouldn’t know. Because the outside is always perfect. Day after day, she’s striving for perfection. You think you know that girl: the Anorexic.

Only you don’t know her. I’m sure of it. Because I was that girl.

They don’t tell you the whole story. All you see is that beautiful fragile girl with the needy eyes and nervous smile. All you see is someone with lots of motivation. Good grades. Perfect make-up.

They don’t tell you about the nights where they can’t sleep because of the hunger, and they go downstairs in a haze to binge on food. You don’t know about the purge that comes afterwards: the vomit mixed with blood. The kilometers on the treadmill that are never enough to get rid of it all.

They don’t tell you about the mornings that they contemplate going to class. Not sure if they have enough energy. Not sure if people will notice that they lost even more weight. But at the same time hoping that they will.

”Soon, I’ll be thinner than all of you, she swore to herself. And then I’ll be the winner. The thinner is the winner.” – Steven Levenkron

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positive thinking

Why Thinking Positively Doesn’t Always Work (And What to do Instead)

As a self-help blogger, something I see a lot in this community is the notion that ”positive thinking” can change your life, and that it’s all you need to change your life.

Personally, I believe that positive thinking has a place in this community, and it’s important to take a critical look at your own thought patterns, but it’s not the end-all solution to all of your life problems.

[unpopular opinion] Positive thinking will not solve all of your problems. In fact, thinking that positive thinking is all you need to feel better and become this success machine is quite a dangerous way of thinking. [/unpopular opinion]

But please don’t crucify me just yet. Read More »

I Have Concealed Anxiety, Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know About It

I have anxiety.

But you would never know unless I told you.

That’s because just like many others, I conceal my anxiety. And although I consider myself to be pretty good at it, that doesn’t mean my anxiety doesn’t influence some of my decisions and behavioral patterns. I’m trying to open up more about my struggles with my mental health on this blog, which is why I want to talk about my anxiety today.

Of course, my experience with concealed anxiety might not be the same as someone else’s, but I can really only speak for myself, ane maybe a tiny bit for the other people in my life that I know that suffer from (concealed) anxiety. Here we go.

They come across as introverted and outgoing at the same time

It’s not that people with concealed anxiety are anti-social (at least I don’t consider myself to be anti-social), it’s that I often get overwhelmed easily. Whenever I spend time outside the house, I need time to recharge myself. Alone. But I love going out at the same time, so sometimes it annoys me that I need to do that. If I don’t take the time to recharge myself, I become a lot more irritable, tired and emotional.

They’re hyper-aware of their surroundings, but you would never know

Anxiety naturally makes you hyper-conscious of your surroundings, as it is an evolutionary function that is essentially meant to help us stay alive by being aware of other people’s motives. Of course, it’s not not that great when your anxiety is through the roof and you can’t manage is effectively. But you might notice every once in a while that I pay attention more than you’re used to from other people.

I kind of like that about myself, I’m very detail-oriented and I will often notice things about someone no one else does.

They’re not always panicking on the inside, anxiety manifests itself in many different feelings

Having concealed anxiety doesn’t mean that I constantly panic about every little thing. My anxiety manifests itself in constant worry, making things bigger than they are, and just competing thoughts in general. Read More »