I put my Chef’s Night Out plan to Ray last night. It wasn’t horrible and it wasn’t wonderful. I got the distinct impression that he figures that this is just a whim and it’ll be over before it starts. The fact is that I have created something that I can’t sustain any longer and not only is it not over, it’s really just beginning. I felt some guilt this morning (ha! It hasn’t even started yet!) and tried right away to put a stop to it. I imagine that it won’t be the last uncomfortable feeling I have while trying to take back some time. I’ll live through it though, we both will.
I also stood up for myself this morning in cancelling something that was making me feel uncomfortable…and rescheduling it for a time when I would feel better about it. The only reason I rescheduled was my own comfort level with the circumstances and that normally would not have been enough of a reason for me. Even after I explained to Hubby why I was uncomfortable and that I was going to make a small adjustment, his comments were totally towards the other person’s mood, feelings, perception, convenience. When the words “If he doesn’t agree to make the change, you’ll just have to suck it up and do it at the time that he has specified.”. Uh…..eff that. No. Basically this is a thing that I am paying someone else to do for/with me and I am NOT going to subvert my comfort and feelings for a veritable stranger. NO. Crazy though, how even my partner is under the impression that someone else’s needs should come before my own. And this reaction is something that I have created through my own behavior over time, through squashing my own feelings, through allowing myself to be talked or pestered into things I don’t want to do.
I was asked this morning if I wanted to go run an errand on Saturday w/ Ray and his son. I realized that if I don’t go, that I get a couple hours to myself….so I gently declined and said that he should spend time with his dad and that I could use the quiet time to myself. The response I got was “Fine, then we’re going to the pub for lunch, too!”. Uh…..so if I went there wasn’t going to be any lunch? So you’re basically trying to punish or bribe or guilt me into giving two hours to you that I need for myself? Nice try…enjoy your lunch….just means I get extra quiet time!
Why is it that this is clear to me now and it never has been before? Is it just like having done my budget? 35 years of not being able to figure out “how” to manage my money all of a sudden became clear to me one day and it’s been a breeze ever since (the managing, not the having enough of it!). Do you just sort of get hit with the “[insert-issue-here] stick”? Is it that finally, one day, you’ve had just the right combination of life experiences to unlock whatever door has been sealed shut?
As someone who has made full-scale life change in the past, I know that people do not take it easily…and I feel for them, I do. I will certainly be sensitive to that…..but I won’t change where I’m going. I think as a high achieving people pleaser it’s easy to get sucked into “I’ll just do it” because of guilt or shame or feeling unworthy. It takes self-reflection and clarity and a major dose of courage to be able to say “Wait a minute, xyz isn’t in my best interest as a whole human, let’s rethink this.”. XYZ can be anything; unbalanced chores, sex when you aren’t interested, social events you don’t want to go to, food or drink you are feeling pressured to consume, conversations which make you uncomfortable, forced interaction with people who make you uncomfortable. It can be anything that we as high achieving people pleasers will do, despite our own misgivings and our inner-self screaming “no”, in order to make sure no one else is upset, uncomfortable, put out or annoyed.
Without getting all “crazy feminist”, I really think part of it is the way women are “trained” by society from a young age, taught that they are basically unlovable unless they are bringing value to someone else’s life. We’re taught to never let someone down…..even though we let ourselves down all the time. We’re taught to not rock the boat, to be nice, to be friendly, to be gentle and agreeable, to put other’s needs first. All at the same time we are destroying our innate inner value and replacing it with false, external validation.
I’m taking my inner value back….putting it back where it belongs, up front in my life. No one else took it from me, no one is to blame for this, I did it to myself….and now I’m undoing it. At 35 ½ years old, I have finally figured out that I’m important too….and instead of trying to force people to treat me that way, I’m going to treat myself that way and the rest will fall into place.