When I was younger, I said no to a lot of things. I drew a lot of lines. I set a lot of boundaries. If I didn't want to do something, you couldn't make me even give it a side look. I wore a stern face a lot. Was it that I knew who I was? No, I had no idea. Was it that I knew what I wanted? Not in the least but I did know what I did not. I observed life around me, what it expected, what I could get away with. I had this strange confidence about me that seems almost like an alien at this point in my life. I haven't felt that sure of myself for such a long time. Don't worry. This isn't a look-back-at-how-much-better-I-was-then blog. It's more of a train of thought currently so just come along with me. We'll reach my point soon. My words always find their way. I was in the shower this morning. So often I experience the best moments of revelations in the shower. I get this weird understanding. I'm stripped down to nothing and I allow myself to take a look, to check in, to figure out some sort of balance in this raging war that I seem to be battling lately. I don't have that confidence any more but I don't think I want it back either.
The one concept I think I have lost over the years is this one of self care. There used to be this girl full of spirit and light and determination. A mountain wouldn't move her and it wasn't always a great thing to be that stubborn. It caused it's own damage. I said no to the people that tried to climb it even ones who just wanted to be my friend. I put up barricades and waged wars and threw flaming arrows to keep them at bay. I knew who I was in a way only a young, naive girl could and I wasn't allowing anyone to change that. And then someone threw a stick of dynamite at me that I didn't want and I came crumbling down. I crashed so hard. I became this landslide that I think I'm stilling cleaning up all these years later. So, instead of setting my boundaries and keeping a firm line, I just let myself go. I didn't say no to anything because what was the point? If someone wanted something, they were going to take it anyway. I ended up surrounded in this darkness where I no longer understood this concept that I was still a person. I just said yes because what did it matter anymore? So, then I was the yes person, the one who always saved the day even if it hurt myself. You need to pick up that shift? Of course. I haven't had a day off in weeks but I got you. You need me to work on the weekend? I got you. No worries. I will help you and I won't expect anything back. I learned quickly that the hand you offer is so often not returned. As long as you don't bitch about it? You're good. You're all good. It wasn't just a work environment. It was my home life. It was everything about my life. I would just let people take what they wanted because I was tired of being bulldozed, because I felt like when I tried to stand I was pushed back down anyway.
Something in me has started to change over the last few years. I feel like when I lost my father, there was a switch that was flipped. I feel like over the last four years I've been sort of drowning but I see that I am so close to breaking free from these rip tides that keep pulling me under. I am fighting this strange battle. Some days I lose more than I win but I feel like the landslide that has been me for so long is starting to build itself back up again. I never got to tell my Dad some things I needed to tell him and that's on me but in his death this regret somehow woke me up. The scars of the footprints that had walked on me started to become irritated. I made myself a tiny hill at first and I watched the world around me. I heard myself say yes and then I felt the damage that it was doing to me. So, I started to say no again. I started to stand up for myself again. I started seeing the value of standing on solid ground. I didn't want to be everyone's Yes Girl anymore. I just wanted to be me, who ever that is right now. The world started to change with me. The people that once stood there when I so easily said yes I don't see a lot of them anymore. When I drew a line, they fell off my mountain but I didn't push them off this time. I let them fall away. While I've struggled with the loss of some, I understand how important it is to let the negative I've kept with me fall away, too.
We see these memes that say, "Say Yes," more but I feel like it is taken out of context. Sure, say yes to trying that chocolate covered cricket or say yes to zip lining while you're on vacation. Say yes to as much as you want as long as it doesn't hurt you. When I was younger, I did what I wanted and I didn't much think about how anybody felt about it. Then, life taught me a lesson, knocked that chip straight off these shoulders, and I became that landslide. I went from saying no to everything (unless it my idea) to saying yes to anything. Both were so incredibly harmful to me but I couldn't see it. I liked being the king of my own kingdom but then when my crown was knocked off, I just became this sad, pathetic peasant that somehow needed the world's approval. I've been shut down for a long time. I married my husband, this beautiful gem of a man, because for whatever reason he was the one person who was able to swim through that landslide and find me. To this day, I feel like he's the only one who really sees me because most days I just feel like a ghost to the rest of the world. But I want to change that and I'm working on it. I want to say yes because I want to say yes, not because there will be repercussions if I don't. And I want to say no because what you're asking is not good for me and I need to draw that line of what I will tolerate. We don't have to be afraid of being good to ourselves. I can love you and I can love me. I just wish I would've figured that out a long time ago.