When I look back to being a little tike, I was this needy biznatch with sticky fingers and a demand issue. “Mama, get me my big wheel from the garage, come stick this straw into my Capri Sun, push me on the swing set!” I didn’t bat an eyelash when I wanted something to be done in my honor. Life was simple and all about me; I saw what I wanted of my future and demanded I have it right then and there. If a little snot-nosed brat at my daycare gave me the stank eye, I’d give it right back and take a triumphant swig from my sippy cup.
What happened to that relentless passion for demanding what I want?
Nowadays, my mouth is politely sealed. Granted, life has changed since I was riding dirty in my Big Wheel and crapping in my own pants on a normal basis…but why can’t I resort to that unapologetic attitude to get what I want?
Lately, I can’t count all the times I’ve bitten my tongue in a situation. When I was younger and I liked someone, I would blurt it to their face at Sunday school and we’d be dating the next day. Nowadays, I can’t seem to tell anyone how I feel until the very last minute, or when it’s too late. I recently ended up hurting someone because I couldn’t grow the balls to tell them how I truly felt. How did I let it come to that? Where are all these shy and timid feelings coming from?
Ever since graduating from college, when it comes to getting what I want, I’ve been very…careful. In the back of my mind, I have this vision that I have so much time left to figure out the right way and time to say these things. I’m only twenty-four, after all! Like, sometimes I’m in a meeting at work and have a brilliant idea, or I’ll be sitting with the guy I really like and want to tell him he makes me relaxed and happy, or a friend betrays me. And what do I do? Nothing.
Then I walk away and berate myself for keeping my lips sealed.
I think my timid behavior has something to do with me being a brand new investment. (Just stay with me here.) At a new job, I’m young and not as experienced as others might be. I’ll have a genius idea, at least I think it’s genius, but I get scared to speak up, worried that someone else could have better ideas than me and others will compare and judge me. With a new guy, I don’t want to say something too soon because he barely knows me and could back off….quickly.
But while I could be an investment to others, how much of a personal investment do I want to put into any situation for myself? I have to be willing to take a chance. That’s what investments are. If I’m honestly feeling a certain way about something, I should say it in front of the people that matter to me. I mean, if they’ve invested in me, they should want to hear it, right? No one at my job is going to slap my hand for a creative idea. No man should shy away from an innocent peek-a-boo of feelings. And if they don’t like what I have to say, that’s their loss.
College, from class discussions to student groups to drunken parties, was all about speaking up. Sure, I felt more confident doing it there (which might have had something to do with Liquid Courage), but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t stand up and do the same now. I may be new to this whole post-grad life thing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the experience, knowledge and skills to be here. I have lots to say and people should want to hear it, damn it!
Which is exactly what I’m going to tell myself whenever I feel the urge to bite my tongue again. Now, more than ever, I need to fight for what I want, whether it’s a meaningful relationship, a promotion at work or someone to help me stick that damn straw in my Capri Sun.
Yes, I still drink Capri Sun.