(Usually I’m not too big on New Years Resolutions but there is something major that I want to work on in 2014 so I thought I’d share.)
I struggle with confrontations, I’ve pretty much always been wary of them. I tend to shut down when I’m personally confronted and I usually plot how to swiftly remove myself from any situations that I find threatening. Now as a girl who is proudly as bougie as possible, I could chalk this all up to trying to always keep it classy. Unfortunately, being non-confrontational doesn’t always equate to avoiding messy ass situations. Instead, I’ve found that I tend to slide into a doormat or submissive (not in the kinky way) role in my relationships. This tends to lead to the very messiness that I was trying to avoid to begin with.
I’m an extravert who loves and gets along with most people so I tend to be a people pleaser. Maybe this has something to do with my birth order; I’m the older sister. However, it was my baby sister who always spoke up for us when we felt threatened or attacked. Sister has never been afraid to hurt anyone’s feelings especially at the expense of her or my own well-being. I’m simply more sensitive in some ways, and I don’t like when people are upset especially when their wrath is directed at me.
Anyways, this whole people pleasing, always saying Yes to others, doormat shit has gotten me into pickles time and time again. I’ve always been very aware of this aspect of my personality but in 2013 it really seemed to get me into trouble.
My dad’s illness took a turn for the worst last November shortly before he passed in February. During that three-month period, I was constantly going back and forth between Chicago and New York. During the holidays last year, I found myself ripping and running across the city. I was trying to make sure that my dad had everything that he needed, that he got to his appointments on time, and so forth. Now anyone who knows me knows that coffee and I are in an unbreakable and committed relationship. Chocolate Girl does not exist without coffee. The higher my stress level, the more coffee I consume. Needless to say I spent the majority of last winter with a near lethal amount of caffeine in my system and a coffee cup perpetually glued to my hand. One particular day I was visiting with my Dad and one of his “people” was there as well. (Mind you I’ve met the women all of twice in my life). I had just placed my coffee cup down on the coffee table next to her crusty feet (yes her feet were on the coffee table! Where are they doing that?!)) when she politely told me, “Aramide, I would prefer that you did not drink coffee”…..
Needless to say I was flabbergasted. Luckily my sister was not present for this incident, for I am certain that things would have taken quite a poor turn rather quickly. I didn’t respond at all. I just picked up my cup and drank. (I had nothing kind to say so I chose to say nothing all. My mama raised me right).
(This incident reminds me of the day I graduated from undergrad and my dad’s sister asked when I was getting married, because I was getting up in age and marriage was something that I ought to be considering. -_-)
Still, the coffee incident was only the beginning. A few months later, one of my family members gave me a full ass lecture about my dating life. (I was dating an older man, who treated me well and respected me.) Meanwhile the family member’s love life was literally Hiroshima. Think of some of the most foolish Maury shit you’ve ever seen and go with that. (I just listened to the lecture and said nothing; once again my sister was not present.)
After my dad passed, I had people lie to my face about taking my dad’s money and electronics. I got a lecture about my father’s tombstone because I didn’t have it put in on someone else’s timeline. I was TOLD, to just let else someone handle it. (Of course I kept it cute when I politely refused). This is after his entire funeral was arranged without any consultation with my sister or myself. This kind of stuff always gets filtered my way because Sister refuses to deal with foolery, and people know well enough not to fu*k with her.
Anyways after ending my first full year of grad school I headed home to clean my parents house out which was in a shitastic state. My mom passed in August of 2010 and we had never cleaned her things out of the home. Over the years my dad kept bringing more and more stuff into the house. So here we were parentless with 20plus years of life to clean out of a home. Sister and I would get up every morning and clean and organize and by the end of the day it still looked like we hadn’t done anything at all. We were drowning both physically and emotionally. It was sister who finally said: FUCK THIS! THIS IS SHIT & WE DON’T HAVE TO DEAL! She then informed the powers at be was going to happened. And I picked up the phone and called 1800JUNK.
This only happened because sister was there. Had it been me, I would have probably still been cleaning. Instead because sister said NO to others and YES to our well being. The house has been sold for months now.
Still with that example fresh in my brain I returned to New York still struggling with my ability to be bold, stand up and say NO. Instead, I found myself continually cornered. I let people invade my space when I didn’t want them there and I found myself in situations I would rather not be in. I have a fear of hurting people’s feelings. As I placed myself in situation after situation and after being irritated and annoyed, I’ve finally decided that I will no longer force myself to suffer. I shall move forward into 2014 grasping onto the word NO!
No, you cannot come into my apartment and use my space without asking. No I don’t want to go hang out with people I’m sure I won’t enjoy, No I don’t need you to make major decisions about my life I’m pretty sure I have that covered. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not mean and pissy about it but I recognize that part of being an adult is doing what the F I want, when the F I want to do it. I’m not perfect and I can still find myself in prickly situations but when I do the only person that I can blame is myself. Meanwhile, I shall live my life according to my own terms and not allow myself to be conned into foolery
Happy New Year xoxoxox Chocolate Girl In the City
PS. My other “Resolutions”: Stop obsessing about my weight, travel more (not just to Chicago), date more.