I like to keep things hidden. Not in a fun way, like burying valuable items deep in the ground or swaddling random objects in blankets and stuffing them in the darkest parts of my closet.
More like burying legitimate feelings deep inside my chest, until it gets tighter and tighter and I feel my anger boil up- the words spilling out of my mouth before I can turn off the flame, hurting both myself and those around me in the process. Or like swaddling memories with unknown willpower and stuffing them in the darkest parts of my subconscious.
It’s not healthy but it is a tad on the dramatic side. When am I going to blow up? I don’t know and neither do you! But I do know that each time I say, “No problem” or “It’s ok” or “Don’t worry about it” my shoulders get a little more weight added to them. I walk around with a pain in my neck until I collapse under my inability to say no. Then everything falls and I just let myself go. What I really need to be saying is, “That actually really hurt my feelings” or “This is incredibly selfish of you and inconvenient for me” or “No. You need to do your job. I’m tired of doing it for you.”
Instead I just blow it off. It somehow still manages to affect me. To affect and effect me. Grammar geek anyone? No. Okay, I’ll keep going.
This somewhat mediocre self-realization came about tonight. My friend got taken advantage of YET AGAIN by a co-worker who needed a ride. Sounds simple, right? I mean, what’s the big deal? The big deal is this dude has not had a car for years. He depends on other people for rides and they feel obligated because who wants to be the person who leaves their co-worker hanging? Not me, and certainly not my friend.
Here’s where the frustration comes in: this dude chooses not to buy a car. He can. He doesn’t because he just gets rides every day. He doesn’t pay gas money, he isn’t grateful, and he’s even a jerk about it. My friend has to cancel plans we have because his co-worker asks him last minute. My friend has to go out of his way to drive this dude anywhere and everywhere. Correction: he doesn’t have to. He chooses to. And that’s what makes me mad.
Tonight set me off for some reason. What would normally be mild irritation turned into a full-blown attack on this dude’s character. He’s not a bad person, but he is inconsiderate. He needs to grow up and buy a car. It’s not the end of the world.
But it got me to thinking. Most of the time, the things we dislike the most in other people are parts about ourselves that we dislike. I don’t make people give me rides. But I am the person who always gives rides. Why is it so hard to say no?
I have yet to figure that out. I may not know how to change my unhealthy tendency to bury my feelings, but at least I’m aware of it. And even though I’m hiding, at least I’m not the one who’s always seeking. If I had to choose, I’d rather be the giver than the taker any day.