Why is there a sense of need in belittling the “opposing” side?

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I have observed this type of situation for a while, and I was also once guilty of doing this, until I asked myself, “why?”. Why must we belittle other situations to make our situation seem the better choice? Or even worse, why belittle other people to make ourselves feel superior?

For example, I am part of the itty bitty titty committee (not literally, there is no such committee, but I am on the smaller chested side), and some of my friends felt the same way about themselves. For such a long time whenever we would feel down about it, we would cheer each other up by jokingly mentioning all the negative things about having larger breasts. It’s not like we were attacking specific people, or trying to belittle the women attached to those breasts, we were just talking about the large breasts without taking into consideration they are attached to a woman that also has feeling and could not be happy with her breasts the same way we are not. I never put much thought into it, I just knew that during those times it did make me feel a bit better reminding myself why I shouldn’t want to have large breasts.

I’m not sure how I came to realize what a greater impact these comments could be having as a whole. I just started thinking about why I was falling into the routine of listing negatives and comparing my chest to others. Then I looked around me, and it was happening everywhere. Heavy women making negative comments about skinny women such as, “bones are for dogs.”, skinny women also making comments about heavier women, people justifying their decisions by belittling the decisions of others, etc. I became overwhelmed with negativity. The only positive was that they were making themselves feel better, but at what cost? To the cost that this has become a trend, and it’s normal for everyone, they don’t put thought into it and they don’t realize they’re getting trapped in a vicious circle of negativity. Even skinny women are not making those comments directly to heavier women, they become aware of those comments regardless. And that’s the same with anyone else, everyone one way or another finds out about how others view their body, appearance, decisions, or lifestyle negatively. And this habit has also somehow made some people believe it’s OK to make these comments directly to people, not keeping it within themselves anymore, they want to make it public.

Why not feel better about something without resorting to negativity or bashing of others? Because it’s easier to find the negatives of others, than to find the positives of yourself or the situation you are in. When looking for positives, it’s something you really have to sit down and think about. And it can be tricky, because sometimes it feels like you are mentioning positives when you say something negative about someone else, because that makes it a plus one for you, but it’s important to really look at how we word things. So for example, instead of saying something negative about being heavy chested to make small chests seem more acceptable, we need to just need to already make small breasts acceptable and something positive without belittling big breasts! There does not need to be a comparison, we do not need to come up with negatives of each side, we just need to LOVE what we have just because it’s a part of us, not because it’s “worse” to have one thing over the other. I think this way of thinking will really have a strong impact on how everyone views themselves and the situations they are in. Right now it feels like everyone is in a competition with how many negative things they can come up about the “opposite team”, someone with opposite characteristics as themselves. But if that stopped, if trying to find negatives about people stopped, then that would create a chain reaction to having no need to do that anymore. If there wasn’t so many negative things said about having small breasts, I probably wouldn’t have felt the need to come up with negatives about heavy chests to try to make it “even” or make it “better”.

Now I don’t do that anymore. I am in a journey to love myself just because I want to be happy, not comparing myself to others, not being a part of that negative circle of comments anymore. If you’re at the store and you’re trying to pick between two products, list as many positives as you can about a product, instead of listing the negatives, because it’s small things like that that can reflect how we see other situations. I know first hand for a long time I was a “negative Nancy” without realizing it, because I acted like a happy friendly person to others, but it was always easier for me to list negatives about something when it came to making decisions. Now I am a strong believer in positivity, and I am much happier now. My attitude towards others has still been the same, respectful and friendly, but I did not realize how much my view in life in general would change after changing these negative thinking habits.

I really encourage everyone reading this to try to catch yourself thinking something negative, whether it’s when you need to make a decision in a certain situation, choose between two objects, or feel better about yourself when comparing yourself to others. Then, if you’re up for the challenge, stop yourself from doing that each time.

The more positive thoughts you have and surround yourself with, the happier you will be.

Don’t toss around negative comments at people, you don’t know how they can affect that person

Every person has their story, their worries, and their struggles. Too many people make “accidental” negative comments. By accidental I mean that possibly, their intention was not what the real effect of that comment caused. Whether they were joking, or they meant it but didn’t think the other person would take to heart, the truth is that one negative comment does not affect everyone in the same way. Why is that so? Because we are all different, because we have been through different circumstances in our lives. For instance, you could make a comment to someone about how slow they are, or how they can’t keep up the pace, and you will probably expect the other person to laugh and take it as a joke. But for someone like me, although I have never been in that circumstance where someone made that comment towards me, I would probably feel a little bad about myself because I can’t help being slow, and I will never be able to keep up with them or anyone else that is physically healthy. You could say I’m just looking at that comment negatively and it is something so minimal it should not affect me the way I described. But I don’t see it like that, I see it that if anyone in the same situation felt like that it would be realistic, because not ever being able to keep up with them is not an exaggerated thought, it is realistic and something you already knew, but it’s just another reminder. A comment like that would not have a greater effect on me than that, and I would probably forget about it after some minutes, but it is still a reminder that isn’t so pleasant. 

Nobody has the right to undervalue someone else’s emotions or reactions to something. No one should think that the other person is over reacting by crying or feeling sad because of a comment that was made to them. Everyone has the right to feel, and just because that comment does not affect you, does not mean it can’t affect someone else. And also, no one should feel like they have to repress their emotions just because other people don’t react the same as you did because of a comment made. If something offends you, makes you feel sad, or ashamed, you have every right to express that and let the other person know that was not OK. Don’t feel like you have to pretend it did not affect you just because others don’t think it was hurtful. 

When I was in elementary, a boy from my grade made a comment about my appearance. He said “you look so skinny, you look like you’re going to die.” As a 9-10 year old girl, I had no idea how I was supposed to react to that comment, all I knew is that it made me feel sad and angry at the same time. Angry that he had no idea what i’ve been through to just make a comment like that, and sad because of the type of muscular dystrophy I have, gaining weight has always been a challenge. It’s not like I wanted to be skinny, I actually hated that about myself and I would always wear sweat pants, overalls, or just anything loose that covered my whole body. From elementary through High School, I never dared wear a short sleeve shirt or anything other than pants. That boy probably didn’t think the comment affected me the way it did, and I don’t think his intention was really to make fun of me or try to hurt me. Kids can be hurtful, plain and simple, and I think a lot of that has to do with adults not paying enough attention to teaching kids what effects negative comments can cause on others. Why? Because some adults don’t even know that either. Throughout my later years, most of the people that have made comments about my weight are by adults. They always say it with a smile though, but does that make it less hurtful? When that happens I just smile or do an awkward laugh, because the way they said it lets me know that they did not mean for it to be a negative comment, they just don’t know me enough to know how that comment can make me feel. They assume I might be a girl that is dieting to try to look like those thin models, so they think they’re making me feel better about having more weight, because they emphasize that fuller women are more beautiful. I don’t take too much offense from their comments either, and I try not to judge anyone that says those things because I’m sure if they knew me, they wouldn’t say that. 

People need to realize that if they don’t know someone, it’s better to not make any comment that can be negative. I don’t write this specifically for me, but for all the people out there. I see too many around me receiving comments that just baffles me how the person saying it can say it without a care in the world about its effects. Throughout my life comments have affected me emotionally, and I can just imagine how other people that receive negative comments can feel too, and I don’t think anyone should feel like that. There’s really no need for them anyways. If you see someone you don’t know personally, what does saying something negative to them do for you? Nothing. It contributes nothing to them, to you, to anyone. 

 

Let’s be positive, and pass it around. Every time you say something nice to someone, you should feel like you did a great thing, and keep in mind that you could have just made that persons day. 

Why is it so difficult to make friends of the same gender?

Friendship is as beautiful as nature

I’ve always had more trouble making friends of the same gender (females) than it is with the opposite gender. I look around me, and I notice that most of my friends do indeed have more friends of one gender than the other. Do you experience the same situation? Could it be a sense of competition within the same gender, which makes it difficult to understand if the other person is just seeking a friendship, or has ulterior motives? For some of the females in my area, I know that second assumption could possibly  be true for them. Living in a small town, there is usually rumors, drama, and rivalry between some females (talking college level adults here), and I do notice some of them a little hostile against meeting new females in public places because they just don’t know if that  person could be associated with their “enemy”. Sounds silly, right? and I just don’t understand that kind of thinking.

Sure, sometimes I can get a conversation started, and keep it going if I keep seeing that same female (for instance, in a classroom setting). But it just doesn’t go beyond that to an actual friendship. With most males, it’s usually fairly easy. They can keep a conversation going for quite a while (Could it be that they are more confident because they are not worried about if their makeup has smudged and the other girl is criticizing them about it in her head?), and it just feels like they are doing their part to start a friendship and it’s not just a one-way attempt to be friends with someone. And no, these instances have not lead to the male having a hidden agenda of trying to score a date, those times have really lead to just a friendship, even if it ends up dyeing out after some months or years (ie. loss of interests, distance, etc.).

So, having been through this quite a lot, as expected, I lack female friends. Sure, I have acquaintances that are females, and those Facebook female friends that will write happy birthday on your wall once a year, but aside from that I literally just have one female friend whom I truly consider a friend (who wouldn’t after 13 years of friendship?). Nothing wrong with just having one girl to hangout with, but when both of your schedules get arranged in an opposite manner and you are no longer able to see each other more than once every two months, having other female friends does come in handy. From just being able to talk to another female, to going shopping or going to get our nails done, it’s just not something I can do with guy friends. So what has this lead to? I think i’ve become less social, and I’ve turned to video games and doing hobbies that only require one person, me! I know this is maybe not the right choice, I should be putting myself out there and be social, because I think we all need human interaction to practice our social skills. I’m just not very good at that anymore, and I don’t really know where to start.

In high school it was so much easier because you see the same people everyday, everyone eats together, and everyone tries to find someone to sit with at the cafeteria. I would sit with about six other girls, and we all became good friends with each other at the time, but we didn’t quite know how it even started.

As for joining clubs where I can share the same interest with others, well I have yet to find one. Most of the clubs I know of in my area are of sports or some kind of physical activity like dancing. Having muscular dystrophy prevents me from being able to do that kind of physical activity, so I stay away from those. There used to be an anime club in my college, and although I occasionally enjoy anime, it was never a huge hobby or interest of mine. I used to take a student body government class during my first semester of college, and I did get to meet a lot of people, and maybe if I would have stuck around the next semester in it I could have made friends (the first semester it was more of making acquaintances), but as the semesters passed it was just more and more difficult being able to take that class because it didn’t fit in with my schedule. I am also only able to take two or three classes a day depending on their length because sitting down for long periods of time causes my sciatica pain to act up. So there goes my chances of taking a photography class. I have always wanted to take the photography class offered at my community college, but the downside is that it lasts about four or five hours, and I don’t know how my body would react to that much time.

I guess only time will tell, and eventually I’ll figure out how to make new female friends.

Challenged between what I love to do, and what I can do pt.2

Digital Drawing

 

The above image was the first digital art drawing I ever made. I have always liked to draw, since I can remember, and it was a way for me to feel “accomplished” and good about myself after I finished a drawing I was happy with. They were small goals that I could actually work towards and accomplish, since I didn’t really have anything else in my life at the time I felt the same way about. I grew up with “can’t do’s” in mind, being told by others or by myself what I can’t do because of my disability, but drawing was something that didn’t really require physical work besides using my arms. I always used pencil and paper, or charcoal, until a few months ago that I purchased by first tablet.

 

Own charcoal drawingThis image is from a while back, I did the drawing with either black charcoal and white pastel, or black and white pastels, on sketchbook paper.

Now it has become sort of an obsession, I could spend hours on the computer if I could. Who needs to be social now anyways huh? (lol). Well it’s not all butterflies and rainbows anymore. About a year or two ago I started getting pain in my left leg from the sciatica nerve because of my MD. I haven’t had an MRI or CT scan done for that, but it’s what I assume since my sister has the same thing (she already had those tests done) and she has the same MD diagnosis as me. I was going to physical therapy for it for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t find it really improved or worsened it. It’s not that bad though, just uncomfortable and if I do let it get “out of control” it can be more painful, but not too much. Anyways, this leg pain prevents me from being sitting down (or even standing) for long periods of time. Depending on the drawing I want to create, it can take me anywhere from 3-7 straight to finish it. But realistically, it takes me days or weeks to finish because I can’t work on it too long because of my leg. This is really difficult for me because I’m literally the type of person that really submerges into the work and gets a sort of “high” that makes me not want to stop until it is complete. I’m like this with drawing, photography, web design, video games, and other things that interest me and I enjoy doing.

 

I plead guilty to not always listening to the first signs of my sciatica starting to speak up. Sometimes I’ll say to myself “just a few minutes longer, I just need to finish this part so I don’t forget what I imagined it looking like later” or “I’m ALMOST done”, but a few minutes turn into 40-60 minutes more. And then you guessed right what follows it, my leg is not hurting and it probably won’t go away now until the next day. Some may say that’s irresponsible of me, but I just can’t help feeling like this. There’s just not enough time in one day, and not enough days in my lifetime. There’s so many things I want to do, create, accomplish, learn, how can I do all of them? My answer to myself has been to work hard at it all, do as much as I can in one sitting, in one day, in my life. That’s probably not very healthy for me… but I do try to balance it out as much as I (mentally) can. I’m not just hibernating all the time, I like being outdoors, going on trails (easy ones), and doing yoga, it’s just probably not enough compared to the time I spend doing other things that require sitting.

 

When I was in high school I wanted to become a graphic designer. I literally envisioned myself doing that for the rest of my life, and being happy. I had goals and a vision to where I wanted to go to in that field. After high school I realized it wasn’t very realistic anymore because of my continuing health problems. I wouldn’t be able to sit for a long time enough to get work done on time, and who knows what other problems I’ll discover i’m developing along the road. It took me until now (age 23) to discover what I want to do and can do in a career. Realizing I can’t do everything and accepting that I have a disability is what I feel helped me learn what career is right for me. I didn’t do the previous before, and I think that’s why I had such a difficult time finding something.

Do you feel like you’re being taken advantage of in friendships? Does your disability make you “too nice”?

Has it ever crossed your mind that you’re being too nice, or good giving, and instead of feeling good about yourself you end up feeling used? I have been through that conflict a number of times.

I feel that my struggles throughout life and my disability have made me a down-to-earth person that feels sympathy towards others and that literally takes to heart the quote of “treat others the way you would like to be treated.” But of course, it doesn’t always go as expected. I do favors for strangers without expecting anything in return. I do favors for people that I know when asked because I WANT to do it for them, and also because I want to feed our friendship. Doing nice things for strangers is much easier and rewarding than doing it for people I know.

In highschool I learned that friendships are like a bank, you can’t always make withdrawals and no deposits, because you’re just going to run out of money in the bank, and that’s when friendships usually end. Meaning, one should not always ask and take from the other, without once in a while making a “deposit” (doing something for them even when not asked to, or giving something). This way, one does not feel “used” or like he/she is putting more into the friendship than the other. I’m sure everyone’s had that “friend” that is always asking and asking for things, but is never there when you need them.

When I do an act of kindness for a stranger, that’s usually the last time I’ll see that person, and the last memory I’ll have of them is either them thanking me, or just the feeling of knowing I did something nice for someone even if they don’t know who it was from. Much different than when it’s towards someone I will keep seeing or someone that I just have contact with eventually, whether it’s just an acquaintance, a friend, or a very close friend (or even a family member can fit into this category). When doing a favor for someone I know (when asked to), I don’t do it with a hidden agenda, it’s usually a “sure why not” thing, and also knowing it’s a way to feed a friendship so it does not die off. I know when a friend does a favor for me, I feel grateful and I feel like our friendship is stronger because I can now count on them, and eventually I return a favor to keep the ball rolling. On several occasions, however, my friendship with someone dies off after I do them a favor, and that really gets me thinking on a lot of things, but they’re not good things. After encountering that a few times, I felt like I had two choices; I can either become a colder person that doesn’t give out favors often in fear of just being used, or to remain myself and not let the “bad apples” get me down. I mean, maybe they have a reason? But not knowing that reason doesn’t make me feel better. Maybe I’m just too sensitive? That could be it.

I like to draw, do graphic design, and photography, so since they’re things that I love, sometimes I don’t mind doing it as a favor to someone. Recently I created a logo for someone starting up their business. I wasn’t asking for anything in exchange, only for them to give me credit (when asked who made it). Well the person seemed really excited when presented with the final result and said they would link my website to their website and mention my name. That was more than I asked for but I was grateful because it was something I spent a lot of time on. I thought this would be a simple logo, since I was doing it for free I really wasn’t planning to spend weeks doing it. But it was eventually a 2 week process, I created several different examples to choose from, spent many hours refining and adjusting the chosen one, etc. I’m not complaining about that, but it just didn’t make me feel good in the end when I went through all that and didn’t get credit. My name/businessname was not listed anywhere on the website like mentioned, nonetheless my website or e-mail. I don’t make a big deal out of it, that didn’t ruin my day, and I didn’t bother to contact the person about it, but it was on my mind for a while, just wondering if I’m crazy for thinking I deserved to get mentioned credit for it, it was a favor after all.

Having to go through many things related to my disability, and even seeing this disease slowly take away the lives of my two brothers, really makes me want to be kind to everyone because one can never truly know what battles the other person has in their lives. As a child, I was never really accepted by the other kids, I didn’t have many friends, and me being quiet and unsocial made it difficult to even make friends, so it really makes me cherish the friendships that I do acquire. Now, I’m not a clingy type of friend that wants to hold on to every person wanting everyone to be my friend, haha. I just actually value each friendship, and I make it a point to keep my friendships positive. I used to have trouble accepting the fact that some people just didn’t like me, maybe because I was used to being rejected a lot when I was little, and being an “outcast”, and that’s when I would do be nice to people and do favors even when they weren’t so grateful back and still didn’t like me in the end. As I grew older I just stopped caring about that, who liked me or not, and I just treated everyone with the same respect, except no more going out of my way to do something nice for someone that wasn’t nice to me.

Now, I try to remain ignorant to the fact that there are people in this world that take advantage of other’s kindness, because I don’t want that to change the way I am. I am smarted about it though, so if someone wasn’t even thankful for a favor I did that they asked me for, I’m way less likely to ever do a favor for them again. And my grateful I mean, don’t try to be my friend just to get a favor and then “see ya, sucker”.

On the other hand, I have a great friend who i’ve maintained a friendship for about 13 years or more, and it has consisted of just constantly doing favors for each other back and forth in addition to normal friend stuff. Sometimes I buy her lunch, and next time we hang out she buys me a drink or lunch or something, she asks for a favor with something, and a few days, weeks, or months later I ask for one, and in the end it always seems to just be so balanced out. Over these 13 years one has not done more for the other, it’s pretty much equal. That’s how I wish I could be with other people. I don’t mean always doing favors for each other, but if one asks the other for one, they should not cut off the friendship just because they already got what they wanted, they shouldn’t have been friends with that person in the first place. I lose and gain friendships all the time, it doesn’t really bother me, but what bothers me is when I feel used. To me, the meaning of feeling used is when person B asks person A to do something for them, person A does so, and then person B decides to not be there for person A anymore.

Do you at times find yourself feeling like this? Do you think your disability has made you kinder and more understanding toward others? Feel free to answer down below in the comments!

Challenged between what I love to do, and what I can do

nature photography of flowers

Does anyone else feel this way? I’m sure a lot of people do. Whether it’s because of a disability, money, or anything else, the struggle is real. Because of my muscular dystrophy I have a difficult time walking long distances, walking uphill, getting up from the ground, carrying heavy things, and I can really go on from here, but I don’t want to bore you with that. The thing is, I can do the above, but it is really difficult sometimes, and I get so out of breath people think I’m going to have an asthma attack! This interferes greatly with one of the things I love to do, something I have a passion for and I don’t mind doing it 24/7. Photography!

I remember when I was in middle school, I had a little blue 3 megapixel plastic camera and it provided endless fun for me. My main model was my baby nephew, I would take pictures of him, upload them on the computer, and edit graphics on to the photo like of him stomping on a little town and causing explosions, or him swimming under the sea with sebastian. In high school I loved doing photo shoots with my best friend. We would get dressed up, put some white sheets on the wall, and take turns pretending to be models. I’m not too comfortable in front of the camera, so of course my favorite part was being the photographer. As I went into college like a lost little fish not knowing which direction to go, my need to photograph people and animals grew stronger. I was always taking pictures with my cellphone or with my updated 12mp pocket cam. Fast forward to now, at age 23. I’ve been shooting with a DSLR for a little over a year, and I love pushing myself to improve my photography with each day that passes. I just wish I had the strength I did before.

There’s so many beautiful places to shoot at, but most of them require a bit of hiking to get there. If i’ll ever get to shoot at all the places I wish I could, I don’t know about that yet, but I have high expectations. When I shoot models I need to constantly change angles by sitting on the floor when they’re sitting, and quickly get up to take a photo before they get up. Of course, that “quickly” doesn’t come soon enough. After 2 times of sitting and standing it really starts to take effect on my legs, lungs, and face, I usually feel like I turn red like a tomato. Then there’s the camera with a heavy lens. It’s all fine when I’m just holding the camera at chest level, but what about when the model is taller than me and I need to raise my camera to their eye level? Heh, my arms shake like crazy after 3 seconds of holding it near my forehead. All I carry with me to shoots is a backpack with my camera and lenses, and a tripod (which I try not to take often because it’s too heavy for me). I haven’t dared to purchase umbrellas, light stands, or any other heavy equipment because I’m fearful of not being able to carry all of that. And I feel that those moments of waiting for me to slowly and steady move the equipment just makes the photo shoot awkward and may make the model feel uncomfortable, especially since they don’t know what the deal with me is.

The thing is though, that despite all of these “can’t do this, can’t do that”, I still want to do it. Even if my face turns red, even if I’m out of breath and even if my legs and arms hurt at the end of the day, It’s what I love to do, and I will never let MD get in the way of that. I feel that MD is something that I have to deal with, but not something that controls my life. Muscular Dystrophy doesn’t define me, I define it, I tell it what I want to do, and that I’m going to find away around whatever challenge it throws at me just to be able to do what I love. I would never stop doing photography if someone told me to, so why would I stop if MD seems like it’s telling me to stop? Because maybe it’s not telling me to stop, maybe it’s just challenging me to see how much I really want it. Or maybe it’s challenging me to be the best that I can be at what I love. When I have an idea for a photo shoot, I try not to focus on the challenges that It will pose and what I won’t be able to do. What I do instead if acknowledge those challenges and offer an alternative or a solution to them. If I feel like the model is going to be taller than me and I’m going to have to hold up the camera, I’ll just take a little stool I can stand on, or try to do different poses that bring her/him down a few inches.

If there’s a solution to something, I’m going to try it, and if there isn’t, I’ll just find an alternative of something different I can do instead. That’s how I’ve been dealing with Muscular Dystrophy in my life, and I feel it’s been working for me so far.

Introduction of That Chick With MD

Why the name?

I chose “That Chick With MD” because it’s essentially what I am, a female with Muscular Dystrophy. I will remain anonymous, for now, so I just thought that was a good name for a blog without revealing my identity. I think I also chose it because that’s probably how other people have seen me, especially in the “all dreaded” middle school and high school days. Although they didn’t know I had Muscular Dystrophy, not many people knew my name, and instead I was identified by my “un-normal” physical appearance and physical capabilities.

What will this blog be about?

I created this blog to record my journey as a female with Muscular Dystrophy trying to do what I love, although it may get complicated at times, and MD does interfere with a lot of things I enjoy doing. But this is what this blog will be about, me trying to defy MD by trying different methods to do certain activities that may be challenging to anyone with MD. My hope is that this blog somehow helps someone, at least one person, that may be in the same or similar situation. You don’t have to have Muscular Dystrophy to relate. I think this blog will be relatable to anyone facing any kind of obstacles in their life, no matter the reason.

That Chick With MD’s interests:

I love photography, anything from wildlife to newborns and portraits. I also love creating things, whether it be drawing with paper and pen, or recently digital drawing, I just love the feeling of creating something from nothing. I also enjoy other crafts like crocheting, knitting, and cooking. And last but not least, I’m a big nerd! I love video games. Currently I just play COD Blackops on the PS3. Feel free to join me!

I also like being active by going hiking, exploring new places within nature, and even going kayaking!