Being an Advocate

Today I am struggling with one of my biggest life dilemmas - standing up for myself.

Some people are really good at it. They know exactly what they want, exactly what they won't put up with, and refuse to feel any guilt or fear for expressing exactly what that is. 

In defense of others, I am this way. If someone is being unduly harsh about a person's wardrobe or the kid next to me in 3rd grade had a stutter or someone teased somebody for liking the Backstreet Boys more than *NSYNC, I am on the case. I can't stand to see anyone else suffer injustice. 

That's not to say I'm peaches and cream all the time [far from it] but that I generally try to only express things about others that I would say to their faces if forced. Teasing a person is one thing; lying to them, disrespecting them, or intentionally setting out to hurt them is another. I feel like a Mama Bear about the people I love. Don't mess [fair warning].

When it comes to me, though, well... it's a different story. Like I said, I struggle.

I struggle first of all because I know I'm a bit of a brat. I have a loving, doting family who would do anything in the world for me. In fact, my Nana gets her feelings hurt if I don't bring piles of dirty laundry home and expect her to wash it. I'm terribly cranky when I haven't had enough sleep. I like some things to be done a certain way, and although I try not to be picky about those things, I know I am and I know it sometimes drives other people crazy. 
[i.e. twisty tie on the bread sack. I need it there. All day, every day. Unless you are physically reaching into that bread bag, there should be a twisty tie on the end.]

So I recognize that I have that weakness of wanting things be done my way. I also happen to be extremely flash-in-the-pan emotional. Situations can get me heated or heartbroken or elated at the drop of a hat. In those moments, I often say whatever comes to mind [generally not the best idea] and react rather swiftly [think Facebook un-friendship or a scathing email (usually regretted the instant it's done)].

Add that all together, and you might be able to see why I'm hesitant to really make a case for myself about legitimate concerns. I often convince myself that I'm just being selfish or that I should try to keep the peace or tally up the thousands of ways I feel I've wronged that person, finding myself unworthy of demanding the justice that is rightfully mine.

This gets me into all kinds of trouble. Relationships that are doomed with guys who allow my self-advocacy-defeating tendencies to work in their favor. Bosses who call me on my days off to ask questions that could easily wait until I'm back in the office. Companies who bill me too much but I end up paying anyway because I don't want the hassle of having to defend myself and the rightful payment amounts.

This is tough stuff. How do you distinguish between being a brat and demanding what is rightfully yours? My usual solution is to discuss the situation with someone I trust and wait to see if they validate my complaint or issue. Even if they do, I still need a giant shove in the right direction to actually make any sort of stand.

I'm currently in the midst of a situation that I feel behooved to handle. Countless discussions have come up short. Assurances and agreements are repeatedly broken. I am finally convinced that my expectations in the situation have been expressed fully, that they are not bratty or selfish, and that I am in fact being a bit disrespected. 

That should feel like a milestone, but it just leaves me floundering for what to do. I hate conflict. I don't want to really push anybody's buttons. I don't want to have to exert the energy that comes with really really putting my foot down. I also hate feeling uncomfortable, lied to, and disrespected over and over.

Okay, 25-year-old, fully-developed Brain. Feel free to start chiming in with any solutions here

Your Flummoxed Friend,


Sarah :: Plucky in Love

Sarah, aka "Plucky", blogs on the reg, unless she's on vacation or there's a Pretty Little Liars marathon or she's mulling over the implications of the phrase "on fleek." She can't live without iced coffee, a portable phone charger, or equal pay. Say hello!

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