the water got high and she never got dry

Monday, March 05, 2007

how did you know fine living makes you slow

I’ve been feeling like life’s punching bag for a while now, disappointed by many people and walked all over by others. And I know I can’t change other people, only how I react to them. I’ve learned to be more explicit in telling family and friends what I need from them. That it hasn’t gotten me what I want is disheartening but at least I know that there’s no ambiguity to blame.

I don’t know what has always held me back in the past from speaking up about what I need or when something wasn’t okay. Fear of a negative reaction, too much pride to want to ask someone for what I wish would be freely given, maybe a lack of belief that my needs were important enough to trouble someone with and a lack of belief that speaking up would do me any good.

I fear confrontation like nobody’s business and I know a large part of that is because life with my dad taught me that confrontations mean bad things for me. No matter how much I cried or how much I hurt, my dad would still drink. There’s been no precedent for conflicts that can be a give and take and can actually resolve problems.

But lately I’ve been thinking about if I don’t err a little more to the side of being a little pushy and getting in people’s faces, then of course it’s really easy to forget about me. Squeaky wheel gets the grease, right?

A recent tussle with my advisor left me upset but then just righteously angry in a “We’re Not Gonna Take it Anymore” kind of way. I refuse to let her personal shit intrude into my life. I’m tired of being her whipping boy and I’m tired in general of being the fucking stereotypical passive Asian female. Screw that.

I know I come by the passivity honestly. My mom was talking about whether or not she would come to the wedding if my dad doesn’t. She wants to, but going against my dad and stepping out on her own would be a huge deal. She asked my aunt (on my dad’s side) if she would come with her and my aunt said the decision should be left to my dad. These are my female role models.

But I don’t have to be that way. I was pretty pissed at my advisor but I made the decision, not for the first time, that I wasn’t going to waste time and energy being upset by her. Having the control not to get bogged down by negative emotions is another hard won new skill for me. When I was younger I would get washed away by whatever torrent of emotion was currently passing through and everything was either a crisis or the best thing ever. I don’t have time for that shit anymore.

It’s been a hard, bleak winter but I’m emerging from it with a thicker skin and a louder voice. And that’s worth something.

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