1. I grew up on welfare. Off and on my single mother needed help to raise my brother and me. I’m not ashamed and I wasn’t back then either. I am beyond grateful that the help was available because I don’t know how we would have made it without it.
2. I don’t know my father. I could find my father if I wanted to. I’m sure I have his email somewhere and he can find me too, but we lost each other a very long time ago. If we were to pass each other on the street we would not recognize each other.
3. My brother is a recovering heroin addict. My brother has addictions, but the scariest one has been his addiction to heroin. I could deny my brother’s addiction by not telling people about it, but why? So many people struggle with addiction, it shouldn’t be a secret. Every day that my brother is sober I’m proud of him and keep hoping for another day.
4. I’m overweight. I used to be thin, the kind of annoying thin that thought she was fat when she wasn’t at all fat. Now, I’m fat. I’m not particularly proud of my fat and I don’t want to hang on to it forever and ever, but I am not ashamed of it. My favorite cut of jeans is still “skinny” because who says you have to be skinny to wear “skinny” jeans?
5. I have anxiety disorder. I take medication that helps keep it in check and I exercise because it helps a ton, but on occasion I still get panic attacks. Mental health is a part of health in general and needing and seeking help is not something that should be stigmatized.
6. I have PTSD. Yup, I’ve never been to war, but I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I used to feel like there was something wrong with me, but then an incredibly nice man framed it for me this way: he said something along the lines of, “There is nothing wrong with you, these are just labels we give you to name what it is that you are going through. You learned a set of survival skills that at one time served you well and kept you safe. Those skills no longer serve you well, so it’s time to develop new ones.”
7. I’m losing my hair. Yup, I’m one of the about 50 percent of women who experiences hair loss. I’m genetically prone to hair loss it appears. My once thick head of hair is no longer so thick up on top. I’m not gonna lie it sucks and I don’t like it, but I’m doing my best to enjoy the hair I have left.
8. I got laid off. I got laid off from a job that I was really good at. It hit me like a ton of unexpected bricks. I proudly stand by the work I did and ni modo, whatcha gonna do?
9. I cry a lot. I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m sad, I cry when I see other people cry. What’s the big deal? Tears are not a sign of weakness. I just have feelings that make my eyes leak.
10. I don’t use accents when I write in Spanish. This is a big deal because it really upsets people if you don’t use accents correctly and I agree it TOTALLY matters. The thing is that I was born in the U.S. and even though I learned to speak in Spanish first all my formal education has been in English. I taught myself how to read and write in Spanish when I was a child and I’m proud of that. My mother who is a Spanish speaker never corrected my lack of accent usage because she only has a sixth grade education so she doesn’t really use accents when she writes either.
11. I don’t wax my lady bits and never have. I can’t believe I just went there, but I did. It’s true I’ve never had a bikini wax and I’m pretty certain I never will. Don’t worry it’s not a jungle down there, but even if it were that would be nothing to be ashamed of. I groom, but just not like the porn stars.