by Tiffani Michele
I’m happy we’re doing a month of “Me!” here on O+U.
Isn’t it decadent? Indulgent?! Selfish, even? Me, me, me, me, me!
When was the last time you thought about you. What was best for you, what you thought about something, what you wanted. It probably doesn’t happen very often. There are jobs, responsibilities, spouses/significant others, kids, friends, and basic life that seems to get in the way and impose itself on personal wishes.
Also, society in general isn’t very kind to women who put themselves first, who talk about themselves in glowing terms, who take the time to get to know themselves and make choices based on their own happiness. Or, at least, the society that I’m used to keeping. Women like that are selfish, with the wrong priorities, who will probably end up alone and sad. Selflessness is the path to happiness! Service to others! The road to perfect womanhood is paved with sacrifice and martyrdom!
I wish I’d spent a little more time in my teen years learning about what made me happy as I did learning about how to make other people happy. I wish I’d spent more time in my pre-marriage/kids years making myself happy instead of pleasing everyone else. I wish I’d taken more time to ask myself who I was and who I wanted to be instead of caring so much about who others thought I was and who they wanted me to be. Do you feel me, readers?! Can I get a hell yeah?!
I didn’t know who the hell I was when I married at 20. I didn’t know who the hell I was when I had kids shortly thereafter. I coasted along for a while, on the fumes of being a lot of who other people wanted me to be…but inevitably I ran out of gas and everything fell apart. The biggest casualty has been my marriage, but I also think I could have been a much better mom than I was.
I’m making up for a lot now. Figuring out who I am, who I want to be, what makes me happy. There are weekends when my ex has the kids, and I have 2 whole days to be by myself. And sometimes he takes them for a week or two at a time on a fun vacation, and guess where that leaves me? With just myself!
Me, me, me.
For the first time in my life, I’m putting myself on the list of “people to care about and make happy.”
It’s a hard question to answer first, and people get a little testy when they realize you are asking it of yourself and they still haven’t. Like, how dare you think of yourself like that! I’m martyring myself on the altar of mindless housework/70 hour workweeks/being at my family’s beck and call 24/7…to be my friend you must be as miserable as I am so we can complain about it over a late night glass of wine!
It takes some finagling to balance everything. I’m not as much of a chef as I used to be. The kids are doing their own laundry now. Sometimes they want to do something and I have them wait until I’m done hooping.
I like what this is showing to my daughters, though. I like thinking of them not as martyrs, sacrificing themselves to something outside of themselves, be it a man or kids or a job. I like thinking of them as themselves, strong in the knowledge of what makes them happy. I want them to have a joyful life based on decisions they make surrounding what they want. I want them to know that they matter, their opinions matter, their happiness matters.
“Follow your bliss” is what Joseph Campbell said, and I believe him.
But first, you have to know what your bliss is.
Do you know? Have you taken the time to figure that out for yourself?