All my dreams lately have had three main recurring components: people from my past, the general feeling of everyone being mad at me, and- stay with me- Hillary Clinton. The part I’m most concerned about is obviously the latter because I try to keep Hillary as a non-key component of my life. She lives in a repressed part of my brain along with all other “celebrities” that tweet one word and get 500K likes after disastrous world events.
The only link I can see to all of this is the years 2015-2016, which is when Hillary was the expected president and I was in high school, constantly thinking people were mad at me. I always thought that eventually, all of these insecurities and teenage dreads would end- and they did. But, if that’s true, why am I having stress dreams about situations I haven’t thought about since graduation?
I’ve been a doormat my whole life. An eternal optimist, I was taught to treat people with kindness. The issue with teaching kindness is we forget the limitations of what and who is deserving of it. Yes, you should never put out negative energy- but you should not waste your positive energy. This is a concept I only recently grasped. I grew up treating people with kindness, but more than often not receiving it back. Okay, I thought, well Selena Gomez preaches Kill ‘Em With Kindness and she’s successful so I’ll do that. And so, the cycle began.
Despite having a mother who literally advised me to “punch my bullies in the box,” I’ve never been great at standing up for myself in social situations. Elementary, middle and high school felt like they were competing for which could make me befriend people worse for me. And the little things, even at a young age, began to build. My fuse got shorter, lashing out over minute problems that barely deserved my attention. Suddenly, I was taking so much shit from the people I didn’t even know that well, and putting that negative energy on the people who loved me. It was a lose-lose, unfair trade both ways.
And now, at 20, I find myself being affected by it still. The hurt that I brushed over for long catches up to me- I still have moments of lashing out over nothing, and I still feel extremely triggered by girls wearing chokers. Because for so long, and even still, I have allowed so many people to speak down to me, without directly confronting them- particularly, in the moment.
A comic once said to me, “Always prepare heckler jokes,” as every comic inevitably has their encounters with a drunken asshole. If you have the jokes prepared, it makes it easier to prepare how to respond. Even if you don’t use those jokes and improvise something else, at least your strength has been manifesting for some time.
Fights, rude comments, even hecklers- cannot ever fully be “prepared” for. It’s about building up the knowledge, stamina and power to handle whatever is thrown at you- at any moment. I still haven’t achieved my goal of not being a doormat. I’ve found I struggle to confront friends more so than anyone else. While it sucks people around me have taken advantage of my doormat-ness, it’s also kind of on me to stop them, let alone not be around *those* people.
I think that’s why this pattern has gone on for so long. Also, I’m not rich like Selena Gomez so “killing people with kindness” probably manifested in different ways for us. I know this now!
Here’s to the on going journey of self-love, one I’ve found the “unfollow” button on all socials helps a lot with!