I’ve spent my whole life trying to make everyone happy and being miserable for it.
I’m a very quiet person at heart. Whenever I voice my opinion I usually do so once. As concisely and quickly and coherently as possible and if someone talks over me they usually can run over me pretty quickly in conversation.
I have decades of lost ability to stand up for myself and I just remembered last night these continual recursive thoughts that would play in the back of my mind when I was a child and into my late teen years before depression really fully started consuming me: “I hope I can live soon… I’m sure everyone appreciates me putting off living. Don’t want to inconvenience anyone. I’m sure eventually people will let me if I just make them happy enough.”
Who were these thoughts directed at in particular? Society. I had learned at a young age to follow all the rules of society as well as I could. I didn’t want to hurt anyone and even though they made me uncomfortable and unhappy I learned well how to put on a smile and cheer everyone up in spite of a crushing feeling of emptiness inside.
I had never learned or had been taught consent. I never had been taught to say “NO” when I was not okay. I knew I could say no to very specific things but at the same time if it made someone upset by me saying no, I knew that really I should change the answer to fit whatever the situation called for me responding in turn.
I had absolutely no ability to tell people what I wanted. Just reflect their needs.
I started transitioning in March of 2021. That was when it all finally clicked in my mind. That was when I started finally realizing I could tell society ‘no’. That I could express myself. It was such a relief. It took a while though, even after that to actually realize and learn, I still hadn’t actually learned how to apply saying no at work, or in a lot of my personal life. I had to actively remind myself that I matter and that my decisions are important. It isn’t just about everyone else. I’m part of humanity.
A year later I can say that I have finally learned to say no to people. That I know how to consent to things and not just blindly accept anything put in front of me. Finally. I’m figuring this out.
I feel awfully behind in life though… almost three decades of saying yes to anything. Not having any ability to consent really. It’s really easy to invalidate myself still, to tell myself negative things just because someone rude said something mean to me. I wish I had a lot more years of actually being myself.
I wouldn’t wish anyone the inability to say no or not be able to choose consent.
It’s an absolute nightmare.
Thanks for listening to my story.