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.

– – –

  • 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.

John Cusack

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.


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Comments

My Dammit List — 64 Comments

  1. I feel like I could have written almost all of these myself and as for, ‘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.’ Yes, dammit! I think I need to do this.
    Tam recently posted…Photo a Day | CareMy Profile

  2. I know I could be “more successful” as an indie writer if I pimped myself like a Vegas hooker. But I abhor self-promotion, too.

    The first time I saw a therapist and she dropped that “co-dependent” thing on me, if was like watching the atom split for the first time. Nothing was the same after that.

    Thanks for letting me read this
    Lance recently posted…100 Word Song – AnythingMy Profile

    • It’s just too icky for me. I don’t want to dance for attention.
      And yes, I’m terribly co-dependent. At least I’m aware of it now though, and I take pains to emotionally extricate myself when necessary.

  3. Hi Natalie,

    I think this is such an interesting idea, and I love your list especially #9, #10, #11. Worth to come out with one list of my own. It’s nice to read especially during those bad days where you feel like you’re almost giving up for no reason.

  4. Dammit,that is a good list, Natalie! I also read dammit after each one, and it felt good. I think the one about not needing others to validate you ties into many of the others, and that’s one that I bet is on most people’s lists. I may write one; I’ll let you know if I do.
    Dana recently posted…Come on feel the noise (of boys)My Profile

    • It does feel good, doesn’t it? 🙂 And that one was strong for me; I always feel like I’m jumping through hoops to earn admiration, when no, I really don’t need to.
      Yes, let me know if you do! I love to hear what other people’s “dammit’s” are.

  5. This is great! It’s like a personal missh mission statement. Sorry if this is full
    Of typos. A big black box asking me to sign up for your posts in my inbox obscures everything! I don’t know how to to tell it I already get your posts in my email!

    • Uh oh! Once in a while the black box doesn’t go away like it’s supposed to…I’ll see what I can do to fix it!
      Thank you for commenting anyway! And it’s important to have a mission statement of sorts.

  6. I don’t know why you were afraid to post your list. It is a great list, and I bet it resonates with a lot of people. I read your list and said “dammit” at the end of each one. It does help make the point. Good for you for making a list.

    I believe I could adopt every single point on your list. I think I’ll make one, too. I need a list. I don’t know if I would have come up with such a good one on my own.

    I recently started going to counseling. The first thing my counselor pointed out is that I don’t have good boundaries. Now that I am starting to take care of myself, there are people who are unhappy with the new me. They don’t like the person who is growing and changing. I am learning to be assertive when necessary and to say “no” (nicely). It isn’t easy to change, but it is possible. My husband likes seeing the person I used to be resurface. Me, too.
    Robin recently posted…ReflectionsMy Profile

    • Haha, it does help make the point, doesn’t it? You should do one, even if some of them end up being similar. We all need to know where we stand.
      I learned that I don’t really have great boundaries a few years ago, before I quit drinking, and it’s been slow building them. And no, there were people who didn’t like it, but they didn’t like the real me, anyway, just a version of me that confirmed their opinion of the world. When I finally got free from caring about losing relationships based on falseness, I gained so much more self-respect. I’m so glad you’re learning to do the same. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it.

  7. This was so good. Like I ate it up good. I can understand and appreciate the three reason you stated as to why it took you so long to write this. The second I finished reading this, I wanted to start on my own list and those feelings you described were pretty much instantly present. I love your writing. You weave words with elegance and oomph! I’m going to go pour myself a glass of wine and start on my own list now, dammit!

    • Ooo, thank you for the compliment! And I started this a few months back. It took me a while to finally say “eff-it!” and just finish it up. I can add to it if I want to, dammit! 😉

  8. So great that you’re in a place to own the items on this list, Natalie. That’s really, really awesome. And inspiring. I could definitely hear the ‘Damnit’s.

    Perhaps one day I’ll be in a place to do one, though I think it would be more self-reinforcement than necessarily something for anyone else to endorse.
    Considerer recently posted…Ten Things of Thankful #40My Profile

  9. Nice list, this is all about you have done or doing. Awesome!!! 🙂 I have a list and it’s all about future goals. You know, “I’m a man.” But after reading your dammit list, I want to revamp my list to be more realistic and practical. thanks for share! 🙂

  10. Wow. you GO you. Because you’re so right there for all of it and I think each of us can learn so much with a damnit at the end, or without because none of your points even needed one. Here’s to you not working for the man, not judging yourself based on others, and OMG I cannot stand self promotion. I can’t stand others who do it and well, maybe that’s why nobody really takes me seriously but ugh I hate that part. Also, I am so glad that you know YOU so well. It took me a long time to know me, and I commend you for knowing you, much. Bravo. Big.
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…Will School Crush My Special Needs Kid?My Profile

    • It took a long time for me to recognize myself…now that I know me, though, it’s so freeing. And that’s just another reason I like you, Kristi – you are NOT a self-promo abuser. 😉

  11. This is so perfect. I read it twice.

    I especially loved the line about “defense mechanisms that rob you of your sovereignty as a human being.” Wow- I TOTALLY get that!
    Karen recently posted…LegaciesMy Profile

  12. Pingback: My Dammit List | W.T.F.

  13. Natalie this is amazing and beautiful for so many reasons. I admire that you’re in that place and it inspires me to want to be there as well. As others have stated, so many rang true for me. I especially like the one about self-care as well as the one about self-promotion being icky. I could totally hear the “dammits”. 🙂 This is truly empowering! I may have to see if I can find one within myself. I’ve always called myself a chameleon and I’m working hard to change that, to stop adapting myself to others. It’s a hard process.

    And on a side note, you couldn’t have quoted a better line from a better movie! Yesssss!
    Deanna recently posted…You Deserve To Be LovedMy Profile

    • Thank you, Deanna! The “dammits” are implied, of course. 😉 And that is a hard process. It took me years. I’m STILL trying to recover parts of myself. I hope you continue to do so, Deanna.
      And yes. That line is my favorite from that movie.

  14. Pingback: What’s Your Dating Dammit List? | Awkward Laughter

  15. Nicely put, Dammit! I can relate to lots of these struggles to people please and stand up for oneself. Well stated.

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