I felt pressured to…

I’ve started many sentences with those four words. What usually follows has something to do with a job I took on or some task I said I’d help with it. Then when it comes time to do my nightly reflection or meditation, it becomes evident that no, I don’t actually want to do that thing I so abruptly said yes to. In fact, I think that thing is great, but it’s not for me.

Why did I say yes 

Now, I’m sitting in front of my notepad, journal, laptop, or myself in the mirror (I sometimes do my reflections out-loud in front of a mirror) ready to panic. After the panic comes a wave of disappointment. Insert the emotional habit where I crawl inside myself and begin beating up on Flose.

I say yes because I want to please everyone 

Wanting to please everyone means I have to stretch myself out. I want to be present the few times I see my family and friends a year. I want to have a successful career (assuming I figure out what I want to do in this little life of mine). I want to keep my anxiety under control. I want to stay true to my values. Yet! The momentary desire to please the person directly in front of me asking something I know I will likely not be able to accomplish wins.

Saying yes too soon

I have discovered it works out best for everyone when I do not say yes too soon–what a novel idea. Take your time before making any sort of commitment, because when you do not, you will end up disappointing yourself and others with a stake in the task, job, relationship, whatever.

Last night, I had a conversation with my host mom, Lorrie, where we reflected on this habit I have to please. We sat across from each cross-legged, and I asked her for a solution. In her kindest voice, she reminded me it is something I have control over. The next time someone asks something of me, instead of feeling like I can’t say no, I need to realize that I can take time to make a decision–everything is not an emergency. Of course there is pressure, the person on the other end wants to influence me to take on something they think I am capable of. It’s a healthy dose of persuasion, not insurmountable pressure meant to force me to something I don’t want to do.

Finally, she reminded me that I am 24 years old, life is a process, so I have tons of learning to do.

Life is a process 

This afternoon, I browsed the WARC (West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition) website, and stumbled upon a quote from Chair Joycelyn Patrick.

“You repeat the lesson until you learn it.”

I went there for community research purposes as I am getting to know Delray Beach, Florida, but also found more evidence to support Lorrie’s claim that I’ll get better at decision making. I am aware that I need to hang up my people pleasing ways and align the decisions that I make with my values. There is nothing wrong with asking for time to think through something.

Life is a process, and the teaching is well underway. If I falter once more, its because I have not quite learned the lesson, rather than sulking I will get back up and keep keeping on.

 

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Flossie

Sun while it rains, 
That’s what happened the day you left 
You took your gorgeous smile with you, 
The one that shines ever present when you debate a point you’ve thought over in that mind of yours 
 
You came to us on a hectic Friday afternoon 
Beauty in our Delray Beach office chaos 
Within hours you became the love of all our lives, more than just our highly anticipated British fellow 
 
Three weeks later I echo corny sayings and words that don’t make your heart hurt less, 
I–we–badly want you to stay 
It’s bitter because we love you dearly, 
Enough to want you to return to the life you’ve made in the UK 
 
Nothing explains this better than the heavy sound of morning rain drops against Lorrie’s Tesla window as we drive into the sun  

   

Loudmouth

there is a place for loudmouth women who care about the world in the way that I do

a space in which our thoughts and anxieties can live harmoniously

i was born silent, you know

my belly full of blood while my mother bursted at the seams naked in a hospital in Jacmel, Haiti

 

–Flose Marie Yardley Boursiquot