On Ask Polly: I Want People to Know the Real Me But It Just Won't Come Out

I definitely went through this crisis between 15-19, and the prevailing emotion of those years was anger. I didn't have any friends throughout my childhood and felt like nobody knew me at all, including my family. But I made some friends in undergrad who really did actually want to know me and once you meet even one person you can really talk to you'll know it's possible and it'll be okay. It just takes practise, like anything else: keep probing people and see who responds. Share little secrets one at a time and see how people react. :)

Posted on August 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm 0

On Ask Polly: How Do I Make My Boyfriend Listen?

I'm going to put "sharp knife" on my resume. It's frankly boring for me to go into a relationship where the other person doesn't really want to talk about Deep Things. Yes, let's go see a movie and talk about the cool explosions, but then I want to talk about how I relate to that character's relationship with their mother! And I want you to tell me which character you relate to and why! Share with me! Sigh. And yes, I have met therapists who were totally unprepared for my sharpness. Flinchy therapists are the worst.

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 10:42 am 1

On The End Of Comments

I read and write comments on this site because people generally aren't asses and the spam is at a minimum. Ask Polly posts would be way less interesting without the comments. Also you don't require log-in with a social media account, which I hate.

The only other blogs/sites I read comments on are mostly about and for librarians, who will be civil if it kills them. I used to post/read comments on BoingBoing but then they switched to a forum and I can't be bothered.

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 11:15 am 0

On Ask Polly: My Terrific Herd Of Friends Is Being Ruined By This Awful Freak

I have attracted people like this before, through the added burden of being queer and so being very appealing to girls who were queer and ALONE and FRIENDLESS before meeting me. I must seem so confident and together (HA HA HA). And they are always like Jessica, and I am always feeling guilty for saying No, please go away.

So I have a new rule: I'm not dating or making friends with anybody who can't support themselves emotionally. You can always recognize these Jessica people instantly, it's only your/my own fault for getting sucked in. I've just got to remember Polly in those moments: Don't explain! Keep your goddamn mouth shut for once! Explaining doesn't help!

Just Say No, Baffled! You don't owe Jessica or any of those other Herd people anything!

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm 2

On They're Watching You On Email, On Reddit, On The Phone, At The Mall. What Are You Going To Do?

I am the paranoid type and read a lot of security blogs, but it is certainly a trade-off and everybody should at least be aware of what they are giving up in exchange for "free" services.

My dad was a "it'll never happen to me" type until his email was hacked which then lead to all his banking data being stolen and having to redo all of that. He was using the same password for everything, for years. I bought both my parents copies of 1Password.

Right now people on the internet metaphorically act like they don't need to lock their doors when they go out, but the internet isn't a small town, it's huge and everybody is walking by your house.

This sounds like a great book for sending that message.

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm 0

On Ask Polly: My Mom Keeps Guilting Me About Visiting For Christmas!

My mother always pulls out the "Well they might not be here next year" gambit and I HATE IT. But I think you should go despite the fact that they're using that shitty tactic against you.

My mother and I have reached a basic level of understanding each other as adults, but that has also required knowing that, as people, we are toxic to each other. We get along way better with short periods of contact and certain boundaries. I don't accept the argument that you owe things to your parents just for raising you. Having kids is inherently a selfish decision. If your motherhood experience was sub-par my childhood was sub-par so we're probably even.

I start getting depressed and anxious about Christmas around November and it doesn't wear off until January. But yes, I still go home to see my frail grandmother and sleep on a crappy futon in the basement and eat amazing food and listen to infuriating conversations. At some point in the future maybe my immediate family will come visit me for Christmas, despite the fact that I'm an atheist and hate having people in my living space.

There is definitely some room for give-and-take in Fed Up's situation. Some protips: Try to get your mother to articulate why she wants you there and how you can fulfill that without making yourself feel too terrible. Resign yourself to it being terrible and try not to build it up into a big Thing before you even get there. You're going to the dentist for the long-term benefits, not the immediate fulfillment. Maybe leave your partner to her own family/friends for the holiday if she'd be happier. Find a member of the extended family who is the closet weirdo and make friends. Kids under a certain age are really impressionable so sit at the kid's table and casually slide some feminism into the conversation when the parents aren't listening. Take the request to sleep in your mother's house as an opportunity to seal off a room to hide in when you need to recharge. I think you can do it, if you haven't gotten too entrenched by now. Good luck to everybody suffering through the holidays for the sake of the greater good!

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm 3

On Ask Polly: I Am Severely Chafed By My Gentle, Compassionate Boyfriend

This really reminded me of the last few dates I had. All these people were so nice and interested in me, but it sort of creeped me out. Why? It's now obvious that I was disturbed by their willingness to be vulnerable, when I am so very uncomfortable with that. I can't admit I like someone because they (or everyone else) will make fun of me for it.

I get really irritated by people who seem submissive or needy because I absolutely cannot be that way with 99% of people. It also makes me feel like I have to be the strong one because if we're both weak disaster will follow. Coming back to my mother being emotionally unstable and trying as a kid not to contribute to that.

I want to be with someone I can be weak and vulnerable around, but I guess I shouldn't assume that someone making themselves vulnerable doesn't mean they can't handle my vulnerability as well.

Wow, unexpected lunch-time therapy session. Thanks, Polly.

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm 1

On Ask Polly: My Life Is A Beige Pointless Hellscape!

I have been feeling this lately, but fortunately I am on The Drugs. For the record, the only side-effects are a slightly lowered libido and constipation, and I'm still on the first two drugs I tried. So yeah, people have terrible side-effects sometimes, but that's really an excuse your depression-brain is using to convince you not to do something. I was pretty against the idea of taking a pill every day for the rest of my life, but who the fuck cares about that half a second in the morning when you're actually a functional human being for the first time?

So I don't want to say everybody needs to get on the pills and it's not easy to figure out how to manage your depression, but don't be afraid of a potentially life-changing option. It took me three years to talk myself into confessing my depressive feelings to a family doctor. I hope it doesn't actually take you that long, but every since I did I've felt like my life is more on track, that I can actually make decisions about my future without being held back. You can totally do it too. That grey blah (technical term: anhedonia) isn't infinite or absolute.

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm 2

On Let's Shame The Late People

I am a late person. I totally get how annoying it is. I have two alarms set on my alarm clock, which is set five minutes fast. I plan for my lateness when I really need to get somewhere on time, like giving myself an hour longer to get to the airport than I actually need. I show up early to first dates and then lie and say I wasn't waiting at all. I also have been "late" for work (given we don't strictly have hours) every day this week.

This is what happens when you have chronic anxiety (I need to be there early or everyone will hate me forever!!!) AND depression (What is even the point of life).

If you aren't laid-back enough to deal with my crazy, which includes being late for stuff or sometimes just not showing up because I'm too busy hating myself, we just can't be friends. Sorry.

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm 0

On Hello, Animal

I've been having a lot of migraines lately. I've always had them but didn't really acknowledge them as migraines. Over the summer they became occasionally crippling. Now it's all the time. So I started the whole migraine diary thing but yesterday I came to the realization that I really just need to take better care of my body. Grad school has totally got me into that survival "ignore bodily functions to finish this now" mode even when I'm not doing anything particularly critical. So I've resolved to take better care of myself. And then today I read this article. Your boyfriend's list is a pretty good match for mine, I think. Am I thirsty? Am I hungry? Am I tired? Am I cold? And I think it beats the avoidance tactics by being a list of active things, things that you SHOULD do instead of making a list of things you should not do. I mean, we should be able to manage this stupid reptile-brain stuff, right? Our bodies shouldn't have to hit the panic button with crippling headaches to make us pay attention.

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm 0