Well, today has been… interesting.
I worked. I went home. Ate. Got my stuff together. Stayed in bed and petted Leo for a good amount of time. Realized I should go study. Left my apartment to go study. Had a 15-minute long conversation with an absolute stranger on my way to my car. Came here. Finished two assignments. Kept getting distracted. Liked my ice tea but not my hot tea. Started journaling.
I made more money last night working than I did this morning. I was just really on my game – joking with guests, talking, remembering everything when I needed to. This morning, I was tired, forgetful, and kept getting harassed by my coworkers. They were teasing me at every opportunity. Little playful things, but it got very obnoxious very fast. A coworker of mine wanted to trade shifts tomorrow – his morning shift for my evening shift.
I used to really like working the morning shifts because that’s where the money is. But the stress is right there with it and I’m not particularly fond of the people that work weekday mornings anymore.
After everything I’ve been through in the last year, I know my bounds and limits. While I have the experience to work those day shifts, I hate working them now. They’re stressful, annoying, and all together not worth the money.
It also doesn’t help that I made more money last night than I did this morning.
But my strange encounter with a stranger…
He’s from Atlanta, Georgia. I don’t know why he chose to move here to Iowa of all places. Probably in graduate school. Every time I tried to leave to go study, he’d drag me back in with some question about me. I’m used to this tactic as a server. I’m used to being rung into awkward, one-sided conversations with people that just want some company. I’m still not an expert at leaving those situations, but let me tell you, I’ve improved.
The entire time we talked, I could only think of the dangerous aspects. He commented on my “pristine” look (mind you, my hair is in a bun, I’m wearing a ball cap, sweats are on, tennis shoes.) Every few minutes, he’d shift and move a little closer to me. His body language was very open, arms down by his side, feet facing towards me, eyes always on me. Mine was not inviting. My arms were crossed, feet pointed in a different direction than him, constantly observing the surroundings looking for an out. He pointed me in the direction of his home which we were right next to. He never invited me in, but I will never be sure if he intended to invite me in had our conversation progressed or not.
Every fiber in my being was at alarm. I was ready to punch my keys into his eye if he so much as tried to touch me. Then I was alarmed with myself.
At what point did I come to fear this stranger?
Stranger danger has been instilled upon our generation and for a valid reason. My mother and elementary school shoved “stranger danger” down our throats. It’s also a natural human instinct. But what with our campus having 7 or 8 reported sexual assaults in a span of 5 months and the news these days. You only hear the bad about people or the outstanding in people.
When did we as a society begin to question and suspect the ordinary?
Because I did not know this man, I immediately presumed him to be a threat. Even though I have a few good inches on him and I was wearing stuff that would have been easy to fight or fly, I was skeptical of his intentions.
What his intentions were, I’ll never know. Maybe he just wanted a casual conversation. Maybe he wanted to drug me and take advantage of me.
Is this assumption of the bad what has brought about my negative thoughts? The deeper I get into abnormal psychology, the more I find the little aspects of my life that effect my thinking in ways I never considered before.
It’s a nature via nurture.
It’s made me much more cautious of myself, but also much more hopeful.
Part of the reason why I feel like I don’t want to have kids is because of my own life experiences. It’s selfish, but I can’t go through the pain of seeing them go through the kind of pain I have experienced. My family has a history of mood and anxiety disorders. With everything I’ve gone through, how could I create a human being that could very well experience the same things if not worse things than I have?
But nature via nurture. Genes are important, yes, but so is the environment. Life experiences effect how and if genes are expressed. Of course, this also worries me. I can’t set up realistic expectations for myself to create the perfect environment for my children nor the expectation that they will have a perfect life. That would only destroy me and my family.
Who knows though. Maybe my current conviction to not have kids will stay with me. Maybe my *unsure if it will actually happen* husband won’t want to have kids of our own either. I know I would like to be a mother some day. But I’ve considered adoption or foster care.
I just don’t think I could bring potential harm to my own flesh and blood. The impact would feel less. I wouldn’t be as accountable.
Accountability is something I’ve been struggling with a lot.