Growing up I was one of six kids. The house was always full, people seemed to be in every little nook and cranny. My parents, grandparents, siblings, hell it was overflowing, and yes, before you think otherwise, I loved them all. However, I was not like them all. They loved hanging out and always being in each other’s company. I loved being alone and that, my friends, earned me the illustrious title of the family weirdo. They played together, I played with my Big Head Barbie, I taught myself to skate, I wrote, and I did it all alone. I was the loner, the weird one. Naturally I interacted with my family, played, laughed, etc., but mostly a loner.
Fast forward to high school and yes, I hung out more, had my core group of friends, partied, attended proms, hell I was a social butterfly. I was more open and interactive with my family, but still loved my time alone. However, when you get older and don’t interact with everybody the way that they think you should, the weirdo now becomes a bitch and the loner now becomes too good. I’ve always loved doing my own thing, but found that when I didn’t conform to what everyone wanted me to do, who they wanted me to be, all I heard was “Oh, so you’re too good to hang with us.” or “So now you’re too good for this.” I never felt I was too good for anything, but I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t. But after hearing that for so long, I started twisting myself inside out until I became the poster child for people pleasers. If friends and (some) family asked, I would bitch and moan to myself, but fulfill their request. I’d agonize, get frustrated, and be resentful, but all they knew was that I’d agreed to what they asked. That mess was exhausting.
Finally, something snapped, never mind that I was forty freaking years old, all that matters is it snapped and I was done. The realization hit me that no matter what I did for some folks it would never be enough. If I ever failed to do or go or give what was asked, I was right back to being a bitch. But now instead of being offended by it, I decided to embrace it. If my denying someone something meant that I was a bitch then so be it. I learned to open my mouth, say what I feel, and it was okay. Sometimes the denial would anger people, but mostly it was accepted and the world kept turning. I realized that by caving in and turning myself inside out, I was teaching people how to treat me. Now, the folks in my life know that while I love them, I am not a magic genie who exists to grant them wishes. They know and I know that my inner bitch is my friend and she has my back. My inner bitch is that voice that says, “Girl please, we ain’t doing that,” and when she speaks, I listen.
So, I dare you to tap into your inner bitch. She’s there to help protect you. I am a living witness that saying no isn’t a death sentence, people aren’t going to hate you, and the world is going to keep on turning if you don’t allow yourself to be a people pleaser. Set boundaries, know your limitations, and if you’re like me, you’ll get to enjoy that very valued alone time.
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