I’ll let you in on a little secret-one that I have never ever shared in fear of sounding like a lunatic. There was a period of time that I wished I would get a DUI or a Public Intoxication Charge.
Let me back up a bit. First of all, I didn’t drive drunk. I was always the most drunk at the party and no one was ever stupid enough to let me drive. I guess it was the one good thing about being the most wasted.
But I am not talking about back then when I was still going out to bars, staying out late, and partying. That’s not when I wished for some kind of arrest. It was pretty recently actually. I was having one of those “rock bottom” weeks where I drank every night despite the fact that I didn’t want to.
I had the hunch that alcohol was ruining my life but I didn’t see a way out. I hadn’t been in trouble. I hadn’t done anything really bad. I hadn’t caused any problems. Nothing exciting or dramatic was going on at all.
How could I possibly just give up drinking when nothing was wrong with it? I thought no one would understand. I thought no one would ever want to hang out with me. I thought I would have to go live in a cave in solidarity for the entirety of my life.
So, I wished to get arrested. Then, then I could just…….quit. People would even encourage me to do so and they would understand that I “couldn’t” drink anymore. I believed that they would support me and love me that was the only way that I could make it all work.
Not a real arrest because those are dangerous and life altering and I am not making light of it. I just wanted to walk into the police station and ask an officer if he would write me some kind of ticket related to being drunk so that I could tell people that I got in trouble and now I can’t drink anymore. No?
I just finished Rachel Hollis’s book Girl Stop Apologizing. It hit home that I really do care what people think. In fact, I have spent most of my adult life caring more about what people think of me than what I think of me.
I don’t blame myself and I am finally realizing that it’s not just my insecurities. This kind of thinking is instilled in women. It’s a message that I have someone managed to imprint into my brain and no matter how hard I try, it’s hard to let it go.
Be a good girl.
Even though I know it sounds crazy that I wanted a DUI as an excuse to get out-I really don’t think I am the only person to think like this. I know there are people out there who want to lose weight and wish they would just get sick, or they hate their job and wish to get fired, or they need a break from life so they wish they could get into a tiny car wreck and go spend a night in the hospital (nothing catastrophic but just a little fender bender with the need for “monitoring.”)
What is so hard about standing up for ourselves? What is so complicated about just saying I want to stop drinking, I want to quit my job, or I need a vacation? Everything. Everything is complicated.
We carry heavy loads.
Many women (and men) are people pleasers. We want to do what is best for the group as a whole. We want to meet the expectations that everyone has of us and we want to do it well. But sadly, these expectations are so hard and unattainable that we then create these terrible habits to have the smallest amount of relief or escape.
It starts out with a small glass of wine, a bowl of ice cream, a tiny lie, a secret spending spree, and the list goes on. Then, we do it again while feeling simultaneously excited and disgusted with ourselves. But eventually all of that dies down and it becomes just part of who we are. We justify our way into making it feel normal, not that bad, just fine. Kind of like the way we justified that heavy load to begin with.
Then? Then we wish for arrests. Well, not all of us. But we wish for something better.
For me, the wishing turned to nagging that turned to screaming. I felt like I had no choice. I jumped in with two feet and I did it. I did the hard thing that I said I would never do. I did the thing that I judged people for doing. I did the thing that shocked people (mostly myself). And finally, I did that thing that put me in front of everyone and everything else.
I am worth it. I learned that if I put myself first then I can do anything. If I put myself first then I have enough to give everyone else. If I put myself first then I meet my needs, crush those goals, and add more value to the world than I ever thought imaginable.
You’re worth it too. What would things look like if instead of wishing for that bad thing to happen so that you would have an excuse-you just flat out said the hard thing? I promise the outcome is nothing like the one you have made up in your head. I promise that it won’t be nearly as hard as a DUI, a trip to the ER, or another hard swallow of not living out your life.
It might not be easy and there will be consequences but nothing like what you might be going through right now. Nothing like living with pain and suffering. As I have learned, Joy is your birthright. The thing holding you back is you. It’s your nasty ego trying to keep you small and scared.
So I am going to stop apologizing (and for the record I have told to the kids to stop too). I am going to stop saying I am sorry for being flighty, ever changing, and inconsistent. I am going to stop apologizing for being just like me and not like you. I am going to stop saying I am sorry every single time I get insecure, stand my ground, or lean more into myself than into the crowd.
I encourage you to do the same. When we stop apologizing and do our own damn thing we are better. We are better humans, better spouses, better parents, better co workers, better friends, better caregivers, better at it all. We can change the world!
I will leave you with this line that I love by my favorite minimalist Joshua Fields Millburn-⠀
“We must let go of everything eventually, so what things will you let weigh you down in the meantime?” ⠀