So you’ve got this to-do list of things you’d like to change about yourself — but hold on there, miss! Before you start the scheming to match your dreaming, the first thing you need to do is know yourself. It sounds so simple that it seems ambiguous to some, but really this is where you start.
First, are these things realistic? Can you change these things?
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
Second, if you can change these things (and can set realistic goals for doing so), do you really want to change all those things on your list? If there’s just one thing written there, is that something you really want to change? Or are you making these changes for someone else…
Maybe you wrote it down, but your hand was directed by that head of yours which is filled with all those insidious messages you’ve received from critical family members, lovers (or those you wanted to be) who rejected you, so-called women’s magazines & other media which makes money off your insecurities — all these voices saying that you’re just not good enough.
Even if you’re convinced that your New Year’s Resolutions are in fact your own, take a good hard look at them any way. Do it because you’re patronizing me; I don’t care, as long as you take five minutes (eternally long if you set a timer) and reconsider the things-you-want-to-change-this-year.
Now I’m going to ask you to do one more thing. I’m going to ask you to put one thing at the top of the list. And that thing is to demand that people accept & respect you.
See, you’ve got these things (or maybe just one thing) that you want to change about yourself — and it may very well be that you should change to improve your life — but far too often I see women who are willing to change themselves but unwilling to demand that people accept them for who and what they are. This acquiescence bothers me. Bad things happen when you acquiesce so much in relationships.
So, get out another piece of paper, title it “Demand That People Accept Me”, and make a list of things that should not be changed about yourself.
They can be little or big things; vital ‘this is me’ things or ‘pet peeve’ things that really get under your skin. In fact, that should be one of the things you write down: No one has the right to tell me how important things are to me, or how I feel.
Sometimes it helps if you write it as a list intended to be read by a specific (though however imaginary) person. Like a written agreement. In the spirit of getting you started, here are some of my things:
* When you met me I smoked, I wore this dress size, I had a cat, this family, these friends, I swore, drank, and I required an hour a day to be left alone; none of these things should be expected to change — or are to be discussed as changes I ought to make.
* My work, no matter the pay, is as important as yours; and how I spend my days (weekly pottery class, shooting pool, my favorite TV shows) are as important as your softball league, TV habits and whatnot. It’s not an automatic ‘given’ that my plans should change to accommodate yours.
* While you may name your privates, you can neither make me address it by ‘name’ nor name mine.
* If I say something hurts, it hurts. So stop tickling me or whatever it is and just say you’re sorry.
* I’m a normal, healthy, menstruating woman; you are not allowed to make ‘ick’ faces, wince, cringe, or otherwise react stupidly to this biological fact. Similarly, you are not allowed to act embarrassed when tampons appear in the shopping cart, on the conveyor belt at WalMart, or in your bathroom (unused in the medicine cabinet, or neatly wrapped in toilet paper in the trash).
* On a related note, I get very randy before my period — sometimes during. Obviously it’s up to you to decide if you want to have sex at this (or any other) time; but do not make that fact which looks like you’ve just vomited in your mouth at my suggestion.
* The toilet seat is to be turned down after use. Period.
* No means no, means no, means no. No, I don’t want to see that movie; no, I don’t want order the clams; no, I don’t want to go on another date; no, I don’t want you to come in for a drink; no, I don’t want you to touch me. Yes, you may have come in last time; yes, you may have gotten laid before; but this time the answer is “No.”
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I do not want to change,
courage to demand that others to do the same,
and wisdom to rid myself of those who do not.