I am not very good at standing up for myself. See, right there. I could have said that I am exceptional, perhaps the best, at not standing up for myself. But I took the self-deprecating route. If I had to give myself a label, it would probably "pushover." Well, I'll give myself a little credit and say "cute pushover." Whether it's with my friends, or with a boyfriend, I'm generally the one who rolls over and gives in, who gives more than she receives. That's a role I've played for as long as I can remember. A few weeks ago, a boy I've known for a very long time invited me over to his house and attempted to have sex with me. Well, he wanted to attempt to have sex with me. I didn't really let him get that far. But, I digress. He did not try to woo me. He did nothing even mildly romantic. He did not slow dance with me, or even compliment me once. And I almost let him have sex with me.
This didn't hit me until a few days ago. I was talking about it, and relationships in general, with a friend, who said, "Until you appreciate yourself, until you demand things and act like you're worth something, you're going to have a hard time finding people who do." Like a sack of bricks to the chest. I felt disoriented, and more upset, and more empowered, than I'd felt in a while, amazed that I had stood up for myself, beating myself up over the fact that I nearly hadn't.
This guy has known me for years and years. Subsequently, he knows that I am very good (positive!) at taking care of the needs of others instead of my own. He knew he would not have to compliment me. He knew he would not have to slow dance with me, or light candles, or make me smile, or whatever it is people do when they're trying to get into someone else's pants, because I am a people pleaser, because I simply don't require wooing. Well, he thought he didn't have to do those things.
It is nice to surprise people - even nicer to surprise yourself. I didn't know it at the time, I'm sure, but somewhere inside of me that night was this tiny flicker of worthiness, a squeaky door-hinge of a voice trying to exclaim YOU ARE WORTH THE SLOWDANCE AND THE CANDLES. MAKE HIM WORK FOR IT, JUST A LITTLE. This is something I am working on - growing that voice into a roar, so loud that it is simply a constant beat in the background of all of my interactions. I am worth the time and effort and sweet gestures that I put into my relationships with other people, and I am not unworthy of asking for the same in return. It's hard for me to act upon these thoughts, but I'm hoping that writing and thinking and caring will soon enough transition seamlessly into confident action.