I have been called selfish from time to time. Am I? Am I really? By what comparison? By who’s standards? Of course I was rather pissed off about their accusation. I always thought I’ve tried really hard to NOT be selfish.
But then I had to sit back and take into consideration (irony) the person accusing me of having this personality flaw.
It seemed in every case they were people who didn’t just want me to put them before myself, but EXPECTED it. They seemed to believe that they were entitled to every extra effort I put forth. They thought they deserved it when I would bend over backwards and put aside my own wants (and often needs) to make sure they were taken care of.
At no time were any of these people my children, mind you. Therefore I fail to see where I was obligated to take care of any of them. They were all grown, fully functional adults. But the instant I stopped putting their demands before myself I was always told the same thing.
“You’re such a selfish bitch.”
The usual accusers were my significant other after I got tired of being taken for granted. This is not to be confused with being taken for granite. I cannot say I’ve ever been confused with an igneous rock that’s often used in home decor and landscaping.
But I digress.
It’s not that I ever minded putting forth extra effort for someone who I care about. When I know my efforts are appreciated, I rather enjoy going that extra mile for them. It makes me feel good to know I could do something productive that was beneficial to someone else.
The other day my mom told me that I was probably one of the most unselfish people she knows. That really made me feel good. Like I had accomplished some goal in my life. But then there are days like today.
I woke up feeling terrible. Headache, achy, and cramps that make my eyes want to cross. I was watching the clock because I had the day off and really wanted to see my boyfriend. The whole time I’ve known him, he’s always had this weird ability to just make everything bad seem… less. My emotions weren’t exactly in a stable place this day (more like all over the place), and I really really wanted to feel that support. So I texted him to tell him I had the day off. He responded that he was really tired and just wanted to go to bed. Normally… this would not be a big deal. Today it was just a last straw.
I cried for four hours.
I wasn’t crying just because I couldn’t see him. It was like that bottle inside me where I cram all the bad feelings just exploded. I crammed one too many things in there on a day when the seal wasn’t holding tight, and the cork just blew right out. All of it came out. My hatred of my current job. How much I miss my kids and wish I could talk to them. My frustration with not really having my own space or being self-sufficient yet. All of it. Boom.
So here I am, feeling sorry for myself. Then I find out a friend of mine lost his job. I suddenly felt that punch to the gut called guilt. That voice in my head started up… but it sounded just like those voices from before.
“You’re such a selfish bitch.”