Everyone has one trait that people notice the most. Mine has always been my cheerful disposition and ability to make people happy. I’ll admit that I’m a pretty chill and passive person. I don’t take things too seriously (besides my work) and when people make mistakes, I’m willing to forgive and move on. When people skip me in line, I don’t make a big deal, and when someone cancels plans I don’t cry in corners. Let’s just say I let a lot of things happen to me that I shouldn’t. I knew this was a problem, but I’ve always believed you shouldn’t change who you are for anyone–ever. But once I noticed my pushover ways, I realized that there were signs from the very beginning that I was letting myself be mistreated.
Bad Habits Start Young
I’m an old soul. I was raised by my grandmother until I was 12 and then moved in with my aunt. My grandmother taught me manners, understanding and how to care for others. This was something that sunk in like a catchy pop song. I love caring for people and being the private person I am, I hold my friends and relationships at a high level. What my grandmother forgot to teach me was how to realize when people are taking advantage of kindness.
With my family I was always the one to clean up after meals (because no one else wanted to), I was pushed by my friends to talk to the guys for drinks, I had to play the peacemaker in petty fights, and so on and so forth. I was naive enough to once see these predicaments as brave bold moments, but it’s also evident that it went like this to my friends: “Ask Desire, she’s not going to say no.” I couldn’t be mad at that. When you allow people to treat you a particular way, it’s not going to stop because you want it to.
Over -Working It
When it comes to my professional life, I’ve always believed that it can be controlled. When you produce good work, you’ll get great results. In college, I started out as a sports writer for my paper. It was far from what I wanted, but again, I was the only one willing to take stories no one wanted to. From there I made my way to Copy Editor, Managing Editor and my senior year I became editor-in-chief. After college, I interned with one of the biggest music magazines in the industry. I wanted to be great, so great that I committed to stories I couldn’t do because I had to work at my part-time job. My urge to be great resulted in me sneaking in the stock room transcribing interviews and writing posts. I had no balance and it was because I allowed myself to put up with so much that I almost lost my mind in the process.
Lovers and Friends
Friends are the ones that know you best right? I found myself getting the rough end of the stick when I painted perfect images of my friends. With me moving to New York from Georgia, I’ve made “friends” all over. I called anyone who was nice to me my friend when they didn’t deserve the title; so much so that friends have gotten me caught up in their relationships, made me late on my own bills so they can have money, and just plain alone. I lost my way in the midst of trying to please others. I even sought approval from men and let them take advantage of me in exchange for moments of pleasure. It’s not easy to accept when you’re wrong, but I was over being a pushover. I was tired of the pain, tired of the struggle and stress for no reason, and in the end, the only thing you can do is change.
Finally Finding Balance
Change doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve been taking baby steps, distancing myself from people who don’t deserve my time, voicing how I feel and becoming more assertive in all aspects of my life. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will? You’re surrounded by what you create. If you allow people to constantly walk over you, your growth is just as distant as world peace. Sticking up for myself has been the most liberating feeling ever. I know that my grandmother could never teach me this because it was something I had to experience. Growth is amazing, and I’m glad that my pushover days are behind me.