Monday, December 21, 2009

Confessions of (Former) People Pleaser

I usta to live my life for other folks. I mean like really totally make decisions about my life based on what other folks thought was right for me. It sounds incredibly asinine as I sit here and type this out. I usta live my life based on what others thought I should be doing, others who were not me, others who didn't even really know me (not that it makes a difference), others who were trying to rectify or live their life through me.

I mean I am SO SERIOUS y'all. I usta live my life in order to make other people happy, all the while I was fair to midland about my choices at best. I'm not gonna lie to make this post seem more empowering, I mean for the most part living my life for others was not really bad, however it wasn't great either. And really I had no idea how much it sucked monkey ballz until I started living my life for me and doing what I wanted to do, with out any apologies to anyone for doing anything that they might not agree with.

I mean what your looking at now is the life of a number one, self –identified, people pleaser in remission, I dare not say former. Yes sir, someone who asks the question what would so and so feel if I did this. Yes ma'am the girl who focus is external and very rarely internal. I think I really get/got this bullshyt from my mom, the whole selfless martyr…sacrifice for the greater good BS. When I look back at my life and recollect my first true years of adulthood, I was not free. I didn't make decisions for me or because of my dreams. I simply lived a life that the people around me thought I should live.

I didn't go to Stanford because my mother was a single mom and I got a free ride to the local university. I mean really WHAT WAS I THINKING!! (Well, at least I don't have a lot of college debt because of that one).

I didn't move to NYC when I was 21 to work for the Women's Sports Foundation in Long Island, because my then boyfriend was going to miss me and more importantly no one told me I could do it. Everyone just sat around and said girl you not ready to live in NY . That city will eat you alive. I so could have made it there.

I got married because I had a college degree, solid career, and well a husband and a family is what I should want next, right? So I got one. Never mind the fact that I never wanted a husband as a little girl, or even planned a wedding for my Barbies. My Barbie was doing Samantha Jones things long before Candace Bushnell penned it. However I chunked up the deuce to what I considered a great single life to be domestic. I was good at being a domestic for the most part, just terribly unhappy living life as what I thought married life should be like, instead of creating and defining married life for me and mine.

At least I didn't fall for the you two should have a baby pressure levied on me in 2003, or I'd probably be sitting here married and miserable for the sake of my 2.5 upperwardly mobile spoiled brats. I must admit I almost did though. 6 months before my marriage went POOF we were talking ovulation and body temperature.

I said all that to say that the most important decision I made in my life happened in the first decade of the 2000's one that was not a minute too soon and perhaps a few moments too late. I mean if I had this epiphany earlier in life, well actually let's not speculate that because things happen when they are supposed to happen and when we are ready for them.

I'm telling you the single best decision I ever made for myself was to do me. Like honestly and truly do me and let everyone else adjust. Say what I want and let the chips fall where they may. Stop trying to be the picture of what I think a young black successful black woman looks like and just live my life. Define my joy. Define my happiness. Define what I think is cool and most of all, have no regrets about what ever it is I decide to do.

When I was younger I was always trying to figure out what I needed to do to make others feel comfy or proud. These days I really don't care to much about what folks say (even the folks who birth me and birthed those that birthed me). I have learned that just as I give unconditional love I deserve to receive it back. And sure I don't plan on getting caught in any TRULY embarrassing situations, I realize now even if I do and I'm wrong, my family and my framily are still gonna love me. They might give me a hard time about it, but they are gonna love me. That right there means a lot.

Sometimes in life we don't get to be who we are with out judgment or hate. However sometimes in life there are enough people in our corner that we feel okay about being the person we want to be, no matter how crazy and far fetched that is. I'm blessed to be one of those people.

Not sure what inspired this dump of Free to be Me today. Maybe someone needed to read it or maybe I needed to write it, to remember unconditional love is the greatest gift of all. ALL DAY!! E'RRY DAY!

Be EZ,



quarter-life-crisis said...

OMG!!! I was just talking to someone about this!!! I too am working on this very same thing. If I would have just listen to my own voice/mind/decisions, boy the things I would have done differently. When I flunk out of law school, I was more concern with what my family thought or how it was gonna make my family look. What people would think of me. Giving people too much power over me and the sad thing is they did not even know they had this power!!! I am glad you wrote post. It gave me reinforcement that steps I am doing now are okay because they are the steps I want to take.

12kyle said...

Anutha gem!

Living by "the worlds standards" will not only have you boxed in...but you'll be miserable in that box! I think we all have that moment of clarity when we realize that we have to make ourselves happy and let everybody else deal with it. Unfortunately, some folks take a lifetime to see it.

Mizrepresent said...

Gurl, this so used to be me, wow, ahah moment. So glad i am doing things my way pressure, no deadlines and very few regrets.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. I feel the same way, not sure if its age or what (about to tuen 37) but I spent a great deal of my life doing what I thought I should do. Hell, only reason I married my first husband was because I didn't know how to say no...real bad reason to marry and no surprise that marriage went south real fast.

Glad to see you blogging again.

IntrospectiveGoddess said...

I needed to read this. This is the journey I'm on now, every day I realize I am making more decisions that are the best choice for me and no one else. I dont think that I was a former people pleaser but I do believe that I was making choices based on feeling like I wasnt good enough for an alternative, but now I know better so I'm gonna do better!

The Professor said...

Unfortunately, many folks fall for the "I got to get married now that I have accomplished everything else." Or as a friend of mine from college put it, hey, i'm 27 I think I should be married by now. That led him to divorce court. It's hard to find one's way esp when you feel like if you go where you may want to go, you might hurt someone in the process. But that is growing up and becoming wiser, we realize that we have to live our lives the best way possible because how our parents got to where they are today may or may not be the best thing for you.

The Original Wombman said...

OG, excellent post. I'm 100% with you.

Solomon said...

Love this post. As a reformed people pleaser I have to agree with everything that was mentioned in this post.

The most freeing part is doing everything I do for me now instead of doing thigs to try and please somebody else.

You said it perfectly when you mentioned that the others will just need to get used to it and adjust. My thouhts exactly.

Gone are the days that I can not think for myself or do what I want because I am worried abot what others might think.

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