I am a self proclaimed relationship girl; it’s so bad that every attempt at a one night stand turns into a minimum three-month relationship.
I’m the crazy-one-acting-like-a-girlfriend, while simultaneously trying not to be in a relationship. After years of wondering why dudes think I like them more than I really do, I finally realized that it’s because my base nature is ‘girlfriend.’
I guess this translates into nurturer (although I think that definition, when directed at me, is pushing it). I started to notice that I was a girlfriend to everyone. My boss: Do you want me to carry that?‘; my gays: Don’t forget you have that thing tomorrow afternoon; my friends: What can I do for you?‘; strangers: That dress looks great on you! You should get it!; ex-boyfriends: Did you call your mom? and potential future ex-boyfriends: Want me to make you some juice?
These efforts to make others happy and comfortable come naturally to me and I don’t even realize ‘the girlfriend’ is happening until it’s too late. Either a boy freaks out cause he thinks I’m trying to marry him (ugh, please) or, more likely, I freak out because something more than I want to commit to is being committed to.
This happens with all parties mentioned above, not just silly boys.
Before I know it, I have booked myself solid for weeks. Weeks. The common and unfortunate answer to ‘When can we hang out?’ is usually ‘Next month’
As you can imagine, this does not go over well; the person asking is hurt that I don’t have time for them and I am furious, and quite honestly, a little depressed, that I don’t have time for myself.
This all came to a head a few months ago, when life was bordering on too-much-to-handle. There was lots of crying, praying and my preferred unhealthy method of dealing with things: full on shutdown mode.
I shut down in all aspects of my life and therefore all aspects of my life shut down on me. Some of my friends took this emotional disconnect very hard (as they should—it’s a shitty way to treat the ones you love—even when it’s done in self preservation).
Needless to say, the fog lifted, I extracted myself from a few situations that were sucking all the happiness out of me and I learned (or more accurately, the lesson finally sunk in) a huge and life changing lesson.
Since then my mantra has been:
Sort of, but not really. Sometimes but not always. 100 percent 30 percent of the time. Yes but No.
What I mean by all of that is this:
If I’m not happy, how can I be happiness for anyone else? Impossible.
My great revelation was realizing the importance, necessity and practicality of being consciously selfish.
This concept has changed my life; I now know (and am comfortable with, because I know the negative ramifications of not doing this) that not giving everything of me all of the time to everyone is a good thing.
It is a good thing to say No thanks; to be okay with leaving when you have lost interest.
And in the end, even if I say nope, I say it with love.
With love for the future ex, the best friend, the parent. But most importantly for myself.
Saying no (for me) is saying yes to happiness.
Jen McKelvie lives and works on the island of Manhattan, the first place she has been ever been happy to return to after time away. Her soul flies highest when she is wandering the streets laughing too loudly with best friends. She loves yoga, her dog and green juice. you can connect with [email protected]_jump_up or here.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise