Nov. 10th, 2015

fandrogyne: (Default)
I didn't accomplish much today. I mean, I made a small shepherd's pie. I washed some dishes. I didn't sleep much. But mostly what I did was feel lousy about myself.

Self-care is one of those phrases you see all over the place now, and I'm really bad at it. I've spent most of my life thinking it's better to put my own needs aside and help other people with their problems, no matter what the cost to me. I tell myself over and over again that giving in doesn't hurt me, that it makes someone else feel better, that the least I can do for all people have done for me is to do what they want for a while.

The problem is, that cycle never stops. Because I train people to expect it of me, and then when it becomes too much for me to handle, it looks like a sudden personality shift. Sudden and unwanted, by people who are used to getting their way.

Take, for instance, a friend who works overnight at a hospital, and who doesn't like being alone. And who has Internet access, and thus email access. Take me, who is awake all night. This person emails me. A lot. And because I don't want them to feel lousy, most of my nights get taken up by a combination of housework and emailing this person. No matter that I feel like going offline and playing video games, or watching a movie. I feel guilty if I do so, because this person doesn't like feeling alone, and so I keep sacrificing my own time to them.

That's just one example in a long line of examples.

So I'm very bad at taking a step back and saying, "You know what? I'm going to do my own thing tonight, and it's going to be for my benefit and nobody else's." Because in that phrase I hear the unspoken, "You have to cope with being alone and I'm not going to do anything to help you." And I start to wonder if me playing video games for a few hours is really worth it, no matter how much I'll enjoy it or how much it will revitalize me, because what's more important in the long run: frivolous pursuits or being a good friend?

Being a good friend is what it comes down to a lot, and I know I have a difficult time drawing the line between that and just letting someone else's wants dictate how I live my life. Hence the cycle. I do it, so they expect it, and me taking time for myself can come across like I'm pushing them away or pulling myself away. And I don't want to do that, because that's not what good friends do, so I push my own desires down into a tighter little ball and just keep on doing what I've been doing, heedless of the damage I know it's causing.

I need to get better at taking care of myself. It's not a crime to want to have fun. It's not a crime to do selfish things sometimes. I promised myself last month that I would make a point of taking one night a week to do what I wanted. I failed at that. I barely got other responsibilities done, because I was too busy being that "good friend" I figure people want me to be. I need to figure out ways of convincing myself that taking care of myself, physically and emotionally, is best.

I could just say that of course it's best, because if I take care of myself better, then I don't get bitter and resentful when people need or want me around, and then I can better handle what they need from me. But that's the same trap I've been stuck in all this time. Living my life for other people, instead of for myself.

That's what it comes down to, I guess. I don't feel like a player in my own life. I feel like the only thing I am is someone else's supporting character, and like I'm not actually living, but just surviving for the sake of other people. And I know that's not healthy. That's the opposite of healthy. And it's not a new feeling. I've felt like that one way or the other since high school.

So tonight, I do just that. I go offline. I do my own thing, and I have some fun, and sure I do some responsible things along the way but I don't spend the entire night weaving between chores and responsibility. When friendships becomes responsibilities, they cease being beneficial and become hurtful and unbalanced. I don't want that.

So, away I go, to see if this great plan actually does anything.

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