Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Authentic Blondie Pipes Up
Recently, I did a google search for this or that that led to 1,000 other things and somehow landed on a site called Tiny Buddha reading a post called "How to Love Your Authentic Self" by Lori Deschene. It RULED. I'll wait while you go read the whole thing.
This line was awesome: "Know that you touch countless people’s lives every day, even if someone isn’t blogging or tweeting about it."
But this is what really punched me in the gut:
"It’s one thing to invite transformation for the sake of growth, improvement, and new possibilities. It’s another thing to feel so dissatisfied with yourself that no amount of change could possibly convince you that you’re worthy and lovable."
Yeah. That one stung.
I realized that I've been trying to fundamentally change who I am for about 10 years. However, over the last few years, I've become more comfortable with Standard Issue Blondie. I'm not all the way there, but I'm giving myself more breaks than I ever have before. I've come to understand and accept my cyclical battles with depression. I no longer beat myself up for hermiting because I've learned that I'm simply an introvert. So yes, I've made a bit of self-loving progress. Baby steps.
I've also learned how to give myself little rewards for accomplishments, bravery, and trying new things. No one will reward me if I don't. It reminds me of my first performance evaluation from Coco at the Giant Publishing Company. She handed it back with a note that said: "If you don't toot your own horn, no one will. TOOT TOOT." She made me rewrite my evaluation and brag about myself. It was awkward, but it worked. I got a promotion. I've never forgotten that lesson even though I rarely follow through with the action. I'm working on it.
Here's the one from Deschene's list that I am most guilty of:
"Tell yourself that you’re being selfish whenever you consider meeting your own needs."
When I read that, a giant cartoon arrow came down out of the sky and started flashing over my head. I feel guilty about damn near everything that I do "just for me." It's pathetic. Yes, I realize "pathetic" is a Bad Word, but in this case, I'm using it against myself to quit thinking I'm being selfish if I want to buy myself a used dollhouse book off amazon marketplace for a few dollars. Yes, I even beat myself up for small purchases like that. IT'S RIDICULOUS.
With "considering meeting my own needs" in mind, I recently asked my family if we could go to a hobby store I read about in Kansas City. Usually, when I visit my sister and her family, I do not make special requests. And when they are here visiting us, I don't make these requests either. Usually, long in advance, one of them has planned a family outing. It's the zoo or a children's museum or a regular museum with a kid-friendly exhibit. To be clear, I don't mind these family-oriented activities. If I don't want to go, I don't. I've skipped numerous zoo trips when it's 8,000 degrees outside because I know my limits. Hot Blondie is not Happy Blondie.
[DISCLAIMER: I need to stop for a second because I can totally picture my sister/mother coming across this post and reading it the wrong way and getting hurt/mad. Let me be clear: I don't mind doing things with my family. We have a jolly good time together, and I love them. I'm just working on a mental health thing right now is all. Please note that I'm not criticizing any of my family, I'm criticizing ME.]
Anyway, as far as the Scales of Interest are concerned, they do not often tip my direction. I don't ask everyone to do Blondie Things because it seems selfish to ask everyone to make a special trip for just me -- the single, childless sister/daughter. I've also been told before by my mother that certain things are "my things" and not hers. Ma DOES make many concessions for me and enjoys going with me to orchid shows or mini exhibits or the art museum, but they are NOT her hobbies, so she doesn't always want to tag along. To be clear, I don't always want to tag along on other people's outings, either, so I don't. But when it comes to my family, I usually tag along. I've said before on this blog that I often feel like the 5th wheel in my family, and sometimes these outings highlight my differences and make feel blue inside.
With all this in mind, I decided to pipe up and request that we go to the hobby store or I could go alone if someone gave me the use of their vehicle. There aren't a ton of hobby stores in the Omaha area, so I wanted to take advantage of Kansas City's big stores. Sadly, the shop I was looking for had closed down, but then my brother-in-law whipped out his phone, googled something, called for store hours, and suddenly we were on a journey to Mini Temptations Dollhouse Shop.
WTF? A real dollhouse store?? I haven't been to one of those since I lived in Chicago! I didn't know it was there!! I WAS SO EXCITED!
I was extremely touched by the fact that it was my dear, old BIL who found the store. And I was thrilled that the WHOLE FAMILY came with me. We all went in to look around. I was able to show Pa some flooring we'd been talking about. I was able to finally touch Magic Brick to see what it felt like. And all around me, there were huge dollhouses that the owner, Laura Way, was working on. They were AMAZING. It was MAGICAL.
I wanted to stay in there forEVER, but I knew I should not diddle daddle with all that family tagging along, and we had other things to do. I made a few choice purchases, and then we left. I'm so glad I know this store is there because now I can return sometime by myself and stay as long as I want. *winks*
Here's the important takeaway: It's not selfish to ask my family to do a Blondie Thing. They'll go. They'll even find the place for me! I just have to open my mouth and say: "I want to... XYZ." I have to make the effort. I have to throw out the invite. I have to be responsible for getting my own needs met. TOOT TOOT.
I wanted to go to that mini store, and I was unabashedly happy about it:
"Being authentic means being vulnerable–letting people see all your different facets, trusting they won’t judge you, and knowing that if they do that’s completely on them."
They came with me, and they didn't judge me. In fact, I think they liked it.
As with many things, I didn't used to be this way. With age and anxiety/depression, I've become very insecure about my place in the world and in my family. Over the years, it's gotten worse and worse. I used to be quite demanding when I was young, but over time, I've become quieter and quieter. Part of it is my easy-going nature and my desire to not cause waves, but another part of it has been straight-up insecurity and self-deprecation. I've assumed it would be some kind of burden to do a Blondie Thing. The Depression Voice in my head can be very loud and convincing. She's a total b*tch.
But lesson learned. I'm ready to crack open the door a bit more and see who wants to join me. I'm ready to voice my needs without fear of rejection or the label "selfish." I'm ready to TOOT TOOT.