I’m going to set aside my ego and admit that I’ve become a people pleaser. Since about 3 years now. The worst thing about becoming a people pleaser is, one: I now am selective about letting my feelings/opinions known. It’s an uncontrolled want on me to not upset my listener/potential relation etc. Two: A mask is always on.
The day I tried keeping masks and al aside and took a stand for myself – it was a shock. One: the other end didn’t handle the confrontation well. Second: the other end didn’t want to see or hear me at my worst.
It was a clear indicator of where the relation stood.
Though cliched, it holds true: if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve to be around me at my best.
Today was my first, uncomfortable, step to break free of that pressure. Anxiety was under control, because I knew – it wasn’t the end of the world for me. Yet.
The lesson is this: it never is anyone’s (or the person’s) fault for not treating you with respect. Nor that ‘good’ friend’s fault who is being sleazy with you and then yells at you with indignation saying, “it was a joke!” It’s not that person’s fault either for not giving you the time from his/her life. It’s not their fault for treating you, the way you are being right now.
It’s yours. It was mine.
Because, you (and I) let them. You let them talk to like that, because you thought it’s fine and allowed them to. You let them talk/treat you like that because you wanted to please them and not cause any conflicts. You didn’t respect your own time and then expecte others to respect yours? I did too.
The thing is this: What have you done to make it stop? Have you first treated yourself right? Have you spoken your mind, without of course hurting the receivers’ sentiments? Have you stood your ground, with your beliefs, without wondering if this will break the relationship?
Let’s do that first: Treat ourselves right. Then let’s see if things change.
The movie by the way was a Marathi movie called, “Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy“. Overdone, but with a great, great lesson: You don’t demand respect. You earn it.
It didn’t work out. You put yourself out there, got out of your bubble and took a chance. It still didn’t work out.
There will be a lit bit of tightness in your chest. Find it difficult to breathe when you think of it again and again: That it didn’t work out. That you’ll have to do it all over again.
“Failed”, you’ll think.
But, so what?
Feel sad for a while. That’s ok. Like John Green said, “Pain demands to be felt!”
But stay in there. Don’t do anything hasty. Feel it for a while.
Then pick yourself up, get back in control and start all over again.
Remember that small window when you put yourself out there? The window that reminded you of how beautiful life can be? Hold on to that. Fight for that.
Live for that window.
It’s not over yet.
It was a messy day because of a messy project at work. The work came back home with me, with its fingers intertwined in mine. It demanded my attention. It was clingy. It refused to let me leave it alone for more than 5 mins. An ideal messy day that not even a workoholic would like.
So, that evening I sat down with it right in front of me. When this little being of mine came running in. Her anklets tinkling was a dead give away of her arrival. She came squeaking my name. Climbed on my bed. Sat next to my work and started talking. Talking in a language that was clear and apparently coherent according to her. It was babble to me. It was so refreshing and tempting that I wrapped up faster than I normally would.
The kiddie, babble conversation I had with her later was the best part of the day. I had missed the most important part of my day till I narrated all the unwanted “ghory” specifs to him when he asked, “How was your day?” And he politely responded by reminding me how my little being fixed a messy day. In his perspective, I had an awesome day with the best work buddy in baby world.
I guess I always knew it, but I refused to accept it. Untill I was forced to acknowledge it during a training session. It was an activity, the trainer had said. He handed out A4 sheets, a sharpie and couple of colour markers around and asked us to draw. At first it was guided. Simple drawings. When it came to combining those simple drawings to create something unique out of our imagination, everyone, including me, stopped.
He chuckled and asked, “Did you guys never draw as a child?” “No one is going to watch you. No one is going to judge you either. You do you.” He said.
It took a while, but slowly everyone got comfortable in their skin. Comfortable enough to show what came out of their mind. Merge it again with everyone else’s creative mind to create something absolute. Ok, almost absolute.
Thus, the trainer had emphasized, “Think Alone. Think Together.” Creativity isn’t dead. It still is very alive in every one of us. Just that there is a barrier that stops us from exploring our potential.
I made this with a play dough while playing with my 3 year old niece today. It was almost like getting into a meditative state and let my mind break the barrier. I knew it was ugly. But my little one found it funny enough to lift it. Look at it. Talk about it. Play with it. And then take pleasure in crushing it back in the play dough box.
I am now no longer embarrassed of whatever, in the name of art, comes out of me.
She was a vision to behold. Born out of a dream.
She stood, spine erect, her legs sightly apart. Her hands balled into fists, rested softly at the side of her waist. The breeze blew softly through her long, wavy, black tresses. It swayed to the right of her face; a tender lock caressing her cheeks now and then.
She stood tall with a strong armour hugging her body. The silver on her armour shone as the sun rays hit her. She glowed. She had scars all over. Battle scars. Emotional scars. A of imperfections. She didn’t hide them. She wore them with pride.
A small smile played on her lips.
Behind her sat her now small ‘big black dog’. Present yet but not daring to touch her. She had him under control.
Another victory tucked in her belt.
She knew it was going to be a long battle with the black dog. Yet, she celebrated this was a small victory, for now.
She was strong.
She was the strength.
She was the freedom.
She was a live wire with a wild heart.
She was alive.
When the fear of, “Will he stay” went off
Her anxiety left her too
She kept speaking to his namesake. Calling out his name when speaking with the namesake, to taste the missing flavour on her tongue. Hesitant to pick up the call and end the silence. But when the silence ended, he missed hearing her sigh of relief. Of being able to call him out without using the namesake as a reason.
Yet, their friendship grew stronger after survived this storm.
She asked Jane, “Will you do something simple for me?”
Jane nodded, as she sniffed and stifled the threatening tears.
“Will you take a piece of paper and list three good things about yourself and three negative things?” She asked watching Jane grind her teeth, struggling to compose her control.
Jane looked her in the eye. The second part seemed easy. “I could list more than three”, Jane thought as she walked out of the room.
Listening to the cries and blows of the faceless humans, Jane had succumbed to demoralisation. In her mind she was on her knees, heart broken. Lost. Without a purpose.
Jane, after leaving the room, had sworn that she will not go back to her. Yet the exercise haunted her. The point she was trying to convey Jane, had touched the right spot. Yet, she failed.
My dearest Jane, you beautiful soul, why can’t you see what I see when I look at you? Try and you will find yourself seeing yourself in a different light.
Regardless of whether you care or you don’t about this situation of yours, do not let yourself get sucked in that pitiless black hole.
You don’t have to take one day at a time. You don’t have to do anything that everyone asks you to do to climb out of that black hole.
Do what you’ve got to do.
But, don’t ever give up.
Don’t you dare.
Keep fighting. It’s going to be worth it.
Everything is going to be ok.