Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Time to say no

I don't know if it's genetic, or if it's something learned, but there are individuals out there who are known as "people-pleasers."

I'm one of those.

But in addition to saying "yes" to most requests, I also try to anticipate what somebody might want, and do what I can to fulfill their every wish.

I've been doing this for years.

I have to tell you that being this sort of person is not only exhausting, but disappointing 90% of the time.

Wandering around wondering what I should do all the time, and then trying to meet some imaginary demands leaves me feeling cranky most of the time, but in a I-am-a people-pleaser-and-get-satisfaction-in-a-non-fulfilling-yet-rewarding-yet-not-rewarding way.

I think my brain is at war with itself.

Maybe I unknowingly absorbed my evil twin into my brain cavity whilst we resided in the womb-room, and it's exacted its revenge by wrapping its tendrils around my brain stem.

Or maybe I have a too-vivid imagination. And use too many hyphens.

Anyway.

So, as I said, I've been spending a good deal of my life trying to do what others want or may want, and have burned my candle at both ends for years.

Until this year.

I don't know if I'm just becoming cranky as I march toward middle life, but as I was sitting in the living room a few nights ago, I had an epiphany.

I heard a little pop! in my brain, and I cocked my head and looked at Jeremy.

"I'm not making anything else for anybody for Christmas," I announced, feeling odd about this change of brain chemistry. Maybe Baby Z needed the extra nutrients and absorbed my already-absorbed evil twin, thus ending the years of squeezing-tendril brain damage...

Jeremy replied with a bright and cheerful, "Okay!"

My brain popped again as I realized that he was totally on board with me not wearing myself to the bone, as I have done every year since we got married.

I never realized how my being a crazy person in this way effected him so much.

As I became more comfortable with this idea of letting go, a feeling of indescribable peace washed over me.

"Awesome," I said to myself.

Why did this take me so long?

I think I will have a new mantra (to go along with the other one I adopted after dealing with too much drama: Not my circus, not my monkeys): I only have to please two people, and you're not one of them.

I should paint it onto a piece of wood, and nail it to my front door. And I should make it my voice mail message.

Yeah.

I need a bumper sticker, too.

Maybe I'll make bookmarks to hand out to anybody who asks me to do things, that way every time they open a book, they will have my message loud and clear.

Maybe I'll even make a hybrid mantra, so I don't have to think too hard about both: I only have my circus to please two people, and you're not my monkeys.

Totally legit. I'm slapping that on a tee-shirt.

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