What intense emotion did you find yourself feeling the most this year?
Call it anger, bitterness, or sadness. Feel free to call it confusion Entangle them all together in a braid of negative emotions, and you have nothing but frustration.
But before I continue, I have a confession to make: I may have been selfless this year, but it wasn’t always for the sake of putting someone else’s needs before my own. It was more so that I wouldn’t cause any conflict or make the situation worse.
With my roommate, I kept my mouth shut not only to keep the peace, but because I was under her thumb (mostly in terms of transportation). Realistically, I wanted to have the last word in every argument we had. I wanted to tell her just how messed up she was and how her life wouldn’t get any better unless she took responsibility for her actions and got help. Yes, I wanted to stick it to her, which I did at the end of the year when I moved out. But honestly, it was a power struggle for the both of us.
With my family, I felt as though I had been branded the “easy one” and therefore had to play that role. Both of my parents were frequently stressed out over financial matters or each other, so voicing an opinion or asking for something at times was similar to setting off a time bomb. I feared being an inconveinience and having stuff thrown back in my face, so I kept quiet. When we had to pick a place to eat or an activity to do, I did my best to keep my preferences to myself and let the others pick, if only to keep my sister from throwing a tantrum and therefore causing a headache for the others.
But the worst part was when I seemed to be the only one acting like an adult, while the others fought like kids.
There were incidents with my friends as well. Generally speaking, I am sensitive about when I make plans with people and they don’t communicate with me about it, especially if something comes up and they’re no longer available. And the more it happens, the more likely I won’t react well to it; in a way, it has almost become automatic. There were quite a few instances, but I’d rather not call anyone out specifically because I haven’t spoken to them about it yet (I’ll get to why momentarily).
It all seemed to pile on in front of my face. I want to scream “what about me?!” but felt as though no one would understand or hear me above the chaos. Deep down, I became resentful, as though I was being neglected. I wanted to be validated. I wanted to know that I mattered.
The whole “I am third” mentally seems like hogwash at times. I do try to take things to God in prayer before I make a decision and try to live my life as a reflection of my faith, even though I don’t always succeed at it. But I do wonder what the exact benefit is of constantly putting other people’s needs and desires before one’s own. There does come a point where it’s exhausting and no longer healthy.
And I guess that’s why my birthday has always been a big deal, particularly my twenty-first. It’s the one day where I get to do what I want (within reason, of course) and don’t have to bend over backwards trying to make sure that other people are comfortable. It’s one day where as I said before, that I feel like I matter.
The thing I always had trouble with was finding the right time, let alone the words to talk about it. I didn’t know how to approach the subject; should I carefully craft an explanation, or say exactly what is on my heart and risk everything being interpreted the wrong way?
Going into 2013, I would like to address these frustrations in a better manner, a way reflects God, but also bearing in mind that I shouldn’t have to justify my feeling every time. I get that sometimes I have to pick my battles, and that a lot of it involves compromise and being able to meet half way on certain things. But no one person should have to always be sidestepped for the benefit of someone else, regardless of who is involved.
I have a voice, and in one way or the other, it’s a voice that deserves to be heard.