ASH AMBIRGE

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For My People-Pleasing Babes Running Themselves Ragged (In Which The Phrase “Suck an Eggplant” Totally Makes an Appearance)

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life

There’s a dirty little question I’ve been asking myself a lot, lately—and some might condemn me for it. In fact, this question is so controversial, I suspect 50% of the population may show up at the door with axes and sledgehammers, knives and crowbars.

It is not a very Christian thing to think—then again, I’ve never been much of a Christian. (Just ask the girls who cornered me in grad school once and told me, with sweat upon their brow, that they thought the devil was in me—that cheeky bastard.)

It is also not a popular thought, judging by the societal emphasis on charity and goodwill and unselfishness and giving, giving, giving. (Like, sorry dude, I am not giving you my hamburger.)

However, it is a thought that has helped me a great deal, over the years—especially when I am anxious and angsty and constantly preoccupied with doing “the right thing.” THAT phrase. The right thing! Aren’t we quite the noble bunch. I have found myself trying to do “the right thing” far more than I’d like to admit.

I think that whole notion is one big, giant mindfuck. The right thing for whom? Who is to say what is right? Is there some universal true & just meter that I should know about? I don’t think one size fits all, and it is a fool’s errand, trying to do right by everybody. There will always be someone who will tell you that you are wrong, even when you are doing what you think is right.

I prefer to ask myself another question. Not what is right, but—are you ready for this radical shit?—but what is right for me. Oh, GOD, there it is, I did it! I uttered the word you get crucified for daring to utter aloud: me! What is right for me? ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, MEEEEEE. What a selfish psychopath I am, daring to put my own needs first. Alas, there is a reason why I am not strung up in a cubicle, quietly rotting to death.

What is right for me?
What do I need, right now?
And is that different?

It’s too easy to get swept away by the drama of everyone else’s needs and wishes and wants and demands. We think, with a head full of anxiety, about how to please Susie and also Barb and then there’s Lacey, and her stupid chihuahua, too, and oh my god, how am I going to do it all? How can I be in all of these places at once? How can I make sure everybody goes home happy?

The first person who needs to go home happy is you.

(Everybody else can suck an eggplant.)

OH MY GOD, I’M JUST KIDDING, WHO WRITES THAT? We’re not complete barbarians, around here. Jesus, what do you think I am? Trailer trash? What I meant to say is that everybody else can suck a dick.

Ahem.

It’s not that no one else matters. Of course, lots of people matter, and you are doing your best to be a great human being to all. But there is one person who you’ve been leaving behind, over and over and over again, who doesn’t deserve it one bit. In fact, you should shower her with cookies and champagne and lavish trips to the Bahamas this year (even if it’s only on Netflix). There is one person who deserves your absolute best, every single day, and who you really do need to do right by.

YOU.

You, you, you, you, you, you, YOUUUUUUU.

Goddammit, did you hear me? YOU. What do you need to do today for you? What do you need right now? What do you need this week? What would make you happy? This is a different question than asking what you need to do in order to (a) Get it all done; (b) Make it all work; (c) Not disappoint anybody; (d) Not drop any balls.

And guess what? If the question is different, the answer is likely to be, too.

You are not a call girl for the world’s expectations.

Your primary duty is to yourself, to create and enjoy a life that you are overjoyed to be living, to nurture your headspace and your environment and be at peace with your own efforts.

But you can’t do that if your efforts are constantly being hijacked by others.

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