I’ve been meaning to write this for years, since before starting this blog. However, I resisted for a long time. Partly from fear, partly because words have power and I’m afraid of speaking something I can’t take back, and partly from vague notions that I’m still figuring it out.
See, I’ve always been sort of a boundary-less person, someone who compromises herself in the face of stronger personalities and perhaps economic necessity. But I don’t like this about myself. I wasn’t always this way, but years of muckety-muck and you develop some gnarly coping mechanisms. I transform myself so I don’t get hurt. Believe me, defense mechanisms that rob you of your sovereignty as a human being are not healthy.
So I need a Shit I Stand For list, a Book of Me that I can refer to when I feel my edges wearing away. When I feel like I’m losing myself. Because sometimes I feel like the cord tethering me to Earth is slipping, and that I might disappear, or become a ghost. No one wants to be an amorphous nothing.
So I need to know where I stand, so that I can stand. This is my Dammit List. Imagine punctuating the end of every bulleted item with “dammit,” for emphasis. I reserve the right to update this as necessary.
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- When I take care of myself, I am not being selfish. I cannot be of service to others if I am drained of my capacity. Though I may be an overachiever, I am human, not a wunderkind. So if I need a day off, I will take it and not be ashamed.
- That said, I will not let anybody shame me. Ever.
- I don’t need to take on other people’s pain. Or anger. Or displeasure. Or disappointment. In fact, I am starting a campaign to recognize when I’m doing it, and immediately stop.
- I don’t like self-promotion. It’s icky. It makes me feel less-than, waving my hands and yelling “look at me, look at me!” I’m more of a believer in attraction rather than promotion. I may say, “hey, look at this cool thing I did,” but I will not beg for your attention.
- I don’t need others to validate me.
- I will not work for The Man again. If I am working somewhere and I feel The Man creeping in, I will immediately jettison the emergency escape hatch. I neither wish nor need to sell my soul for money.
I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.
- I don’t have to like going out to bars or parties just because it’s someone else’s idea of fun.
- What I’m feeling is okay. Don’t ever tell me it’s not.
- Also, I’m sensitive, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t need to “toughen up.” I am strong. Just because I feel a lot doesn’t mean I’m not strong.
- Don’t tell me my dreams and goals are unrealistic. If you do, I reserve the right to ignore your opinion.
- I love what I love. It may not be cool, but I don’t care about cool.
- It’s not my job to make everybody believe I’m worthy of their admiration. If they figure it out, great, but I won’t jump through hoops to earn anyone’s respect.
- I reserve the right to grow and change, without any reference to your comfort level.
- This list is about me, not you. You can have your own list.
Go ahead, make your own list. When you do, let me know. I want to read it.