I ended my weekly phone call with my mom, annoyed as hell. “It makes me sad, and sad for you, that you don’t value traditions and traditional holidays” was her response to me telling her my Thanksgiving plans were to just chill out. I replied “Wouldn’t it be worse if I did put a lot of value in those things and wasn’t able to have them?”
She’s right, I don’t value “traditional holidays” but I’ve never had one. My parents divorced when I was 4. I don’t ever remember a time when they were together. What I do remember is spending every holiday divvying up time between each side of the family and different houses within those sides. My Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas have been spent traveling from house to house, checking the time and trying to make sure I showed up for everyone. For me, holidays have been a time of pressure, stress, and anxiety. And I’m over it. Last year on Thanksgiving, I worked out, ate, watched football, and slept. I woke up briefly to move to the other side of the couch (I didn’t want to make a dent in the one cushion) and went back to sleep. I was exhausted from working two jobs, my work out regimen, and volunteering with Girls on the Run. I felt run down and really needed that day to recharge. Did I owe it to my family to drive 90 minutes to see them then drive to two or three houses while I was there and drive back to DE to be in bed for 9pm so I could wake up at 3:15AM the next morning? Or did I owe it to myself to take the much needed day off? The right answer is “whatever is right for you.” Just like if your choice would have been to make the drive and bounce around all day, then my response would be: I’m glad you enjoyed your holiday. Just like my answer is whatever is right for ME. I choose to do what I need to do for myself. Why do we glorify sacrificing ourselves for other people and walk around lowkey resentful because no one is acknowledging those sacrifices? And why do we care when people choose what’s best for them when it has no impact on us?
And THIS is where my issue lies: I never say shit to anyone about their choices. Ever. If you’re happy, then I’m happy for you. I’ve never asked friends anything along the line of “when are you getting married, when are you having kids, why don’t you try to get a promotion, are you going to move?” It’s not that I don’t care, but that I care about what they care about for themselves. For example: people were outraged about Ray Rice knocking out his then girlfriend (now wife). HE KNOCKED HER OUT AND SHE STILL MARRIED HIM. If she doesn’t care he hit her, why do I need to care? Apply this to the less violent decisions your friends and/or family are making.
Now, complaining I can only take so much of. I’m a product of how I was raised and I was raised on the “suck it up” mentality. My mom has always said to me “If you think you have it bad, look around, someone has it worse.” Literally our house got robbed a week (to the day) after my brother died and there were no pity parties. Which like that could’ve really gone a different way. Jane Seymour’s mom said some powerful shit to her about leaving your heart open, and she created a successful jewelry line out of it, which makes me mad as hell. I ask Elaine (my mom) to this day: “What kind of jewelry line am I supposed to make out of ‘If you think you have it bad…’” My point is you cannot repeatedly do the same thing and complain to me about it, I lose interest very fast. Get out of your own way and if you can’t, at the very least, get out of mine. A constant complaining, negative attitude is unbearable for me. You legit affect my energy and I can’t have that. I’ve worked very hard to get myself to where I am today and continue to work hard to get to where I want to be tomorrow.
However for some reason, people always seem comfortable enough to comment on how I live my life. My choices rarely affect others in the magnitude they affect me. I move a lot. It impacts me more than anyone. It changes my life drastically, it affects friends and family a very small amount, if at all. But I do not owe it to anyone to stand still in my life so they can remain in a comfortable space. If I have a friend who wants to move all the place or who never wants to leave their home town, if that makes him/her happy, why would I not be supportive and happy for them? It is their life and at the end of the day, they are responsible for making sure they’re satisfied and fulfilled. How selfish do people need to be? How entitled do people think they are to you, your time, and your choices? Time is our most precious gift in life, and people should spend it how they see fit. I’m not entitled to someone’s time. Their time is their time. Just like my time is my time, and please know: I love my alone time. It recharges me and helps me to focus on my goals. People often mistake “alone” for “being lonely.” I’ve experienced both and they are two very different things.
As my friend Chandra said to me the other day: their happy is not my happy. And you know what: A-fucking-men. I had never thought about it in those words. I see things in a much darker way, and have often said “You cannot tell someone what their worst thing is.” I don’t understand when people are crazy sad their grandparent died, but if that’s a terrible thing for them to experience, that’s not for me to judge. You don’t tell someone who was molested “hey, it could’ve been worse, you could’ve been raped.” Their worse thing is not my worse thing, and their happy is not my happy.
Here’s my happy. A lot of women say they have dreamt about their wedding day since they were a little girl. I had a different fantasy. I wanted to be stolen. I’ve wanted to live my own life since I was a child. I wanted to do my own thing and build something that was mine for as long as I can remember. So that’s what I’m doing: I stole myself, and I’m building something that is mine. My bottom line: choose yourself.