Monday, December 26, 2011


2012 will be my most selfish year ever. I will consider my own feelings along with, and sometimes even over, the feelings of others. I will be concerned with my appearance in a base and superficial way; spending time on my hair, luxuriating in sinfully smelling lotions, getting the good workout clothes/bras/shoes instead of the cheap stuff, blowing off unnecessary work in favor of free time.

I will lounge around. I will chill out. I will make time for myself.

It's all about me. This time I won't forget. This year I will stop being a human shield...

Yes. That's right. A human shield.

A funny thing happens to me when I'm around other people, even people I don't know very well: I throw myself in front of bullets that were not intended for me.

I hear them say, "Ten thousand cookies by tomorrow and I have no idea how I'm going to do it!" or, "I'm planning a party for my husband's, step-neice's, uncle's dog and I just don't even know where to begin..." or, "I need flyers for a charity organization you've never heard of that places abandoned cows in foster families..."

And my hand goes up. Over and over again. I can't control it, it's like I'm swatting flies.

This has always been the state of things for me. And it's ten times worse when the needy party is someone I am dating. Suddenly I am personally invested in whether or not someone who is not related to me makes it to the dentist on time. Do they have enough clean clothes? Are they eating healthy? Can I help them? Please?

It doesn't make sense for grown adults to throw all of their needs onto someone else, and it extra doesn't make sense for me to volunteer to be the baggage camel. Especially when it seems that I'm always trying so hard not to get "involved" with anyone. "I'm not looking for a relationship," I say, "just someone to hang out with." Then, two months later, when I'm sitting on the couch in my pajamas with birds nesting in my hair and this person is passing me the remote, it hits me: I've been relationshiped.

How do you know if you've been relationshiped? The signs are not always obvious. You might find yourself driving someone everywhere, texting them before you decide if you are going out tonight, choosing between heading out in the cold to help them buy groceries or watching movies on your comfortable couch in your toasty warm house. Maybe you stop going to the gym, stop eating the foods you like because the other person doesn't like to try new things, stop laughing at things you used to find funny.

You've been shanghaied...maybe you were a little drunk at the time, but you've agreed to go along, so no one is really forcing you to do anything that you didn't sign up for.

You didn't make it clear that you weren't looking for this when you volunteered to help with all the things all the time. It wasn't apparent that you wanted your own space when you were constantly around checking to make sure everything was okay.

Before you know it, the people around you are hinting that you might get the privilege of carrying this person for the rest of your life...and possibly a smaller person as well. They smile and say, "well, accidents do happen..." in such a way that makes you wonder if they volunteer at the condom factory just so they can gleefully poke pinholes in the rubbers.

I want to stop this madness. I want to get to the root of the problem so this doesn't keep happening.

I'm fortunate to have a group of friends who are grown-up pants, self-sufficient people. They don't need my help most of the time, and if they do they ask for it, and I'm more than happy to oblige because I know that they are capable of helping me in return. This is the level of interaction that I should be expecting from everyone, everywhere, all the time.

With the exception of things that I consider charity (donations to good causes, helping 95-year-old ladies pick up heavy boxes), I really shouldn't be putting all my effort into things that have no return.

My solution is selfishness. My resolution for 2012 is to take a good hard look at what I'm saving before I jump in front of the gun.

So don't look at me. I'm not getting involved.


Greg said...

i like it!

Anonymous said...

Damn not a good time to ask for a favor then....just kidding ;P