Hi, my name is Jasmine and I have trust issues.
I was a very trusting and naive child. I was raised with the understanding that lying was the one way to lose my father’s trust, and it didn’t matter how big or small the lie was, a lie after all was a lie. Since I grew up this way, I believed others naturally would hold the same values. Thinking back on some of the experiences I had with others, especially those that were older than me, I was completely inexperienced with the realities and harshness of the world. I innocently took everyone at their word.
I also had very few friends growing up and it wasn’t for a lack of trying either. I was a very theatrical little girl, I just happened to be the only girl my age on my block until perhaps the 4th grade. I had school friends but mostly I played with my stuffed animals or read books, and when I was social you could find me playing football, stickball or basketball with the boys. I remember my mom begging me to get out of my pretty clothes before I tore off into the oil-slicked parking lot to show the guys that I was just as cool as them.
There were times that I was misled about how boys and girls play, I was so eager to have friends that when some of the older boys in the neighborhood kissed me or touched me inappropriately and told me not to tell, I didn’t think twice. In hindsight, I realized that I was badly lied to, and also taken advantage of.
When I was a little bit older I began to figure out my sexuality, I learned early on that my peers were having sex or saying that they were. There were boyfriends and girlfriends and then there was me. The boys that pursued me only seemed to want me when they had girlfriends of their own and I was never about the fight over a man (or boy) life. I began to understand that boys cannot be trusted.
These feelings only continued into high school when hormones were rampant. I learned pretty quickly that I was not among the popular kids, in fact, my lunches were spent eating off campus, with my aunt, who worked for the police department across the street from my school. I actually really enjoyed lunchtime with my aunt, all of her coworkers were nice to me and I thought she and my cousin, her daughter, were really cool because they were cops and they were strong women and I was inspired by that.
I would alternate lunches with my Aunt, and also with my older brother’s ex-girlfriend who they shared a son. She had become a sister to me, I had always longed for one, even though I had two half-sisters. I never really knew them, but that’s a different story for a different time.
My relationship with my aunt went out the window just before graduation, I had stopped hanging out at her office because I had developed friendships of my own with people my age, but I still made time to say hi every now and again.
I remember going up to the bulletproof window with the little round metal speaker box, and one of her coworkers recognized me and before I could say anything about who I was, he smiled and told me he would find my aunt.
I had a huge smile on my face because I was so excited to give her my invitation to my graduation ceremony that very proudly made myself. Unfortunately for me, I could see and hear my aunt as she was walking over to the window and I watched her throw her hands up and roll her eyes and say “I don’t have time for this today!” I was crushed. So I put the red envelope back in my school bag and broken-heartedly walked away. I learned that adults could not be trusted to be kind or love you, even if they are family. The very few encounters that we’ve had later in life have been bristling at best.
My experiences through college taught me what frenemies were and how you can be in a room with eighty sisters and still feel devastatingly lonely and unseen. Dating was a complete joke. One dude legit asked me to “kick it”, which used to be the “Netflix and chill”, and when I responded that I don’t kick it, but would love to go on a date, he confidently said that “he would have to kick it with me first to see if we could date”. I simply could not.
I’ve learned that people have their own agendas and it behooves me to determine how those agendas will impact me. So do I have trust issues? Absolutely! Is it a bad thing or a negative trait? Hell no, because I also have my own agenda, and each individual is allowed that. I also have manners and was raised on the principle of respect. So the agendas and interests that I have typically don’t include using people for my personal gain.
This “trust issues” I have adapted come not from the pain or traumas I’ve experienced in my life, they extend from a desire to, above all else, put myself first and protect my happiness. In hindsight, if the “Kick It” boy and my interests aligned, I probably would have been down. But at the time, coming out of a toxic relationship, that when dissolved, traumatized me for years afterward, my interests were vastly different and he could not offer me what I needed. And that’s okay!
It would be silly and dangerous for me to blindly trust in every individual, situation, or product that I come in contact with, but that doesn’t mean that with time and consistency I’m not open to the possibility. So if you feel like you have trust issues, don’t think poorly on yourself, just trust in yourself that when you see red flags, and alarms go off in your head, that your intuition is doing its job to protect you.