There are moments when I feel invisible, as if I’m moving through this world unnoticed – a fixture in another person’s story. I am the girl who doesn’t scream or beg for attention. I wouldn’t know what to do with it, and I probably wouldn’t want it. I would wear it uncomfortably – a bright sweater in a pattern that is louder than me. And I don’t like when people look at me, expecting a continual flow of entertainment. I don’t know how to provide that. I freeze up. My mind empties. I am full of thoughts and feelings, things I wish to add to a conversation, but I lose them under the scrutiny.
Perhaps being invisible is more suited to me?
But the problem with invisibility is that it leaves me void. There is no fulfillment in being ignored or unnoticed. Nor does it lend itself to happiness. It is a lonely existence. A one-sided love affair. I takes everything from me, leaving feelings of being unloved, unneeded, unspecial in its wake. Is it wrong to want to feel special, even if only to a few people who truly see you?
Though I suppose to say I am always invisible is a selfish untruth. I’m not invisible always. Not on the days when someone calls on my help or needs someone to talk to. Not when I have something to offer. There are times when I offer everything. Yet I receive so little.
It breaks my heart, to be used then set aside – a toy or plaything that loses its luster after a few rounds of merriment – a victim of someone’s lack of interest.
It is my weakness, or rather my fault; my need to be helpful. I like to give what I can when it’s required or asked. I don’t believe that’s wrong. But not at the risk of draining my spirit, of hurting me, of taking what God created to make me special and using it as a weapon against me.
I’m bad at saying no.
Sometimes I don’t want to. I have found my way into the horrific, pathetic role of people pleaser. But maybe there are times when I need to. To save myself. To protect myself. To keep me sane.
To allow me happiness.
I’m bad at boundaries.
At protecting my heart. My self. I give all of me at once if I feel safe, loved, or cared for. If I believe a friendship or relationship is reciprocated equally, I leave little hidden. I don’t see the need, because I expect those around me to keep me protected, not to take advantage. To actually love me when they say they do without abusing it.
I expect too much.
I must take care of my own wellbeing before I can care for the wellbeing of others. I have a responsibility to myself. If I am drained, empty, or feeling used, I have nothing left to give those I truly adore.
Because if I give everything away, there is nothing left for me. No spirit left to fuel my passions, my creativity, my life and soul. If I empty myself to everyone, what is left to keep me going? To keep me smiling? To keep me fulfilled?
I’d like to believe the people in my life, the ones who truly care about me, would want that for me.
Because my worth as a friend is not determined by the number of times I say yes. I am not special because I always answer the email, text, or phone call. I am not special because I am helpful. I am special for all the moments outside what I can offer. I am special because of the woman I am in the deepest parts of my soul, not because of what people take from me.
I am special for what I can give, but not because I give it.
And I am allowed to say no and create boundaries. I am allowed to take care of myself, to say that is too much to ask of me. I am allowed to step back and say that I deserve better than a relationship that takes advantage of me. I am worth the time and effort that comes from someone being interested in my needs and wants and worries from time to time. I am allowed to ask for that.
Because so often are we told to be selfless. To give everything we have to those around us. We show our love in our actions, right? But what does it say if we are constantly giving and receiving nothing? Or rather, what does it say if we are constantly taking without feeling the need to return? Neither is fair, and neither is an illustration of love.
Not every action requires an immediate return in the quid-pro-quo style of “I’ll do this for you, then you’ll do that for me” – a contest of who is the better friend or lover or sister or brother. But neither should a friendship or relationship be one-sided with one person constantly taking what another is giving. That is not selflessness – the expectation of receiving. That is how you lose yourself – a sad abuse played out over and over at the cost of your soul.
I want to give myself freely, to help because I love it. Not because people expect it of me – a selfish demand of selflessness.
So I want you to know that saying no isn’t selfish. Protecting your heart from being used isn’t selfish. Creating boundaries to keep you motivated, energized, and full of passion isn’t selfish. It is a necessity. You are allowed to take care of yourself. You are allowed to say, “I cannot do this for you.” Because your worth is not found in pleasing others because they demand it of you. Your worth is found in your beautiful heart and loving soul, and you must take care of it. Allow it rest and be at peace. You must realize that your happiness and sanity and fulfillment should not be sacrificed for someone else’s. There is no love in that.
And you are worth being loved for everything you are, not everything you give.
Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.