Advocacy

I have a severe issue with self-advocacy.

It seems that I can stick up for other people really well. I can help them with their own issues. I can support them by being a great listener and even offering sound bits of advice as appropriate. With my child I am a staunch advocate for him that he is taken care of and respected well by adults and children alike. However, when it comes to me and what I need, I have a hard time asking for it. I have a hard time drawing the proverbial line in the sand about what I will allow to happen to me in my life. I have decent boundaries though, which is a good first step, but past that when looking at how I allow people to treat me is very poor. I know on a cognitive level that I don’t deserve the treatment. I don’t deserve the snide remarks. I don’t deserve being dis-invited to weddings or being left out of special ceremonies. I can think of no specific thing that I have done that would warrant such actions against me. Even asking why I was dis-invited or being left out causes me a ton of anxiety. I feel as though I am asking things that I don’t deserve to ask or that I am out of line for thinking I deserve to be treated differently than what I am. As a counselor I know that this line of thinking is absurd. I cognitively know something different than what I believe yet I feel powerless to change my thinking.

I want to be able to say to someone, “Hey, you know when you said/did/asked _______? I wonder where that was coming from because I was hurt/angry/confused/sad, etc. Can you give me some more insight about that situation.” I just don’t have the confidence in myself right now to do that and I’m not sure why. Strange how I can teach others to do just that and ask themselves to believe in their truths, trust their feelings, go with their heart, make no apologies for themselves, and yet here I sit writing this post wondering why I cannot take my own advice. Why can’t I ask the hard questions? Why can’t I face the truth head on? Why can’t I ask someone to treat me better/different because I am worthy?

As I have thought through all of this I think it is all rooted in fear. I fear rejection. I fear the unequivocal truths that will result. I fear people thinking I am better than I am. I fear being disappointed by my own actions. I fear overstepping boundaries or some social rule that I am not aware of. And I know that I shouldn’t be so afraid. Surely, so much of this is miscommunication and misunderstanding or even lack of information. Conversely, when someone has an issue with me or I have committed some perceived grave injustice then I am quick to hop on the issue at hand and address it. I don’t want others to harbor any ill will toward me about an unfortunate issue and I want to address it head on. Not all things that come up warrant a reaction though so I choose my battles. I am constantly aware of how my behavior and words affect others and I go to great pains to ensure that I cause them no unrest. Am I perfect? Read any other post in this blog and you will find evidence to the contrary.  So I am not perfect, not by any stretch. However, I know I work to prevent issues and I work to resolve the ones I cause.

My inability to advocate for myself is causing me unhappiness. I am internalizing the misperceptions and miscommunications and harboring them as evidence that I am unacceptable, unloved, disregarded, inconvenient, and unworthy. I am allowing my inability to speak up for myself to turn into some sour attitude which then seeps out at the most inopportune times. Maybe I’m feeling a little too vulnerable and I say something out of character. Or maybe I’m feeling overwhelmed with a sense of ineptitude and I lash out in frustration. I feel the sticky ugliness of these pent up feelings residing within my heart and soul and they’re making me ill. I feel the well rising and it’s about to crest. I have to change this behavior and my thinking around it so that I can be well and feel free to express myself appropriately. This is just one of many things that I wish to improve upon. Any sage advice or tips are welcome.

Expressly,

The Repressed Peach

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Reprieve. 

This space is my reprieve from expectations. On other social media platforms, I am not free. I am tied to the expectations of how I must behave as a professional, what I can and cannot say because of who my “friends” are and then there’s the trouble with whether they can read with the lens of me as a human being or if they will only read with intent to stab me in the back and cause me harm.

This space, however, allows me to speak freely. I rarely edit myself and I always speak whatever truth I am experiencing at the time. This is where the few people who know who I am, read and appreciate my craft while taking in all that I speak of. I don’t worry about you, my reader, if you’re 14 or from a different profession or of a different culture. I don’t worry about how you’ll misread my words or find them loathsome or glorious. I thought to share some exciting to me news on Facebook last night, yet in the same minute that I thought I would share I also realized, “oh wait, I can’t share that because so and so will see it.” Then I thought of the 18000 different problems that will arise because of the one wrong person that would read the message. Then there’s the conundrum of having young family connected to my social media. I cannot tell you how many times I have avoided taking action about an issue on social media because of my nephews. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s not real… whatever, it’s always what I felt like was the right thing to do, except I am silencing myself. I find that I am silencing myself often for the sake of others.

Well, I need my voice. I deserve a voice just as much as the next person. Just because what I say may not be to your liking doesn’t mean it isn’t valid, valuable and essential to be said. So I am working on finding my voice.  Stay tuned for experiments in speaking up!

This is my space. I welcome all my guests and readers. You are cordially invited to share this space with me, just know that you’re in for a wild ride sometimes. Hopefully, you’re inspired or sometimes moved. Maybe your perception has shifted or doors of wonder closed. But hopefully, regardless of anything else, you find unabashed truth. Maybe while you’re relishing in my truth you will experience a reprieve of your own.

Hopefully yours,
The Repressed Peach