One of my favorite things to do in Denver is the Narrator’s at Paris Bar. Once again, I asked Andrew O. if I could do the show in January (It’s the 1st Wednesday of every month at Paris Bar). The theme this month is Fights. I’m thinking… I don’t fight with anyone except my mom and brother, Mark. What the hell am I going to talk about?
Later that night, as I’m reeling over an argument I just had with a colleague when my roommate sternly says to me for the 100th time, “You need to learn how to say, ‘NO!'” This was immediately after I had just completed bitching about someone who was putting me on the spot for a project that I hadn’t had time to complete and was well past it’s original assignment date. The person had de-friended me on Facebook because of it after they saw I went skiing.
Read my previous blog..Re-Write. Time is a major issue for me. I literally run around so much that I don’t have time to do things that would benefit me and that keep sanity in check because I’m so willing to help friends out. Here are the things I would like to do: read a book, draw chalkboards, cook friends dinner, ski, binge drink, play poker, work out, sleep, etc. I’ve gotten so used to saying, “Yes, I can help you with that.” Truthfully, I always want to do what I can, and sincerely have no other motives except to be a helpful friend and/or colleague. But, sometimes, it’s a bit much.
Then, a friend told me that I’m a classic case of a ‘People Pleaser’. So, I googled it. That’s what I do… when I’m lost and can’t find my way, I Google. I found this article: The People Pleasing Personality: Please Walk All Over Me!
I thought long and hard and tried to remember what made me this way, and I couldn’t think of anything other than that I just really wanted to be nice. It definitely wasn’t my parents or my brothers. We tend to criticize and make fun of each other more than they ever nurtured me and the word “No” was pretty prevalent in my upbringing.
Then it came to me… 6th grade… Angela “DogFace” LastNameOmitted.
Flashback to Stafford Middle School, Stafford, VA sometime in the early 90s….
I was not popular. I never had been. I spent most of my time in the pool; competitively swimming for the Quantico Devil Dolphins, and in ballet and dance class or at Math and Science camps. Then, the most popular girl in my 6th grade class needed a tutor. I obliged to help, as a people pleaser would do, and we hit it off. Erin was awesome. I got to come to her birthday party with all of the cool kids and they taught me how to properly style my bangs and how to put on eyeliner. (pictures to come…. as soon as I steal them from my parent’s albums over Christmas and scan all of the embarrassment that was childhood)
Suddenly, I was one of the most popular people in school in the prettiest group of girls in Stafford Middle School. Their “mean girl” target was a girl named Angela “DogFace” LastNameOmitted.
About four months after I became as awesome and legendary as only 6th grade allows, my parents informed me that we would be moving to Sandusky, Ohio. Devastation set in. As I was walking out of my last day of homeroom to board the bus, I stopped at Angela “Dogface” LastNameOmitted and I said, “Angela, I’m really sorry that we’ve been so mean to you, and I wish you the best of luck.” Then, I did the most horrible thing that I had ever done in my whole life, and barked at her… giggled, and walked away.
I don’t think that I slept for about a week. I felt so horrible that I had so quickly sacrificed being a good person for popularity. So, I made a promise to myself. This new school was a new start. I would be nice to everyone. No one deserves to be treated with such cruelty, and no matter how popular I would become, I would never make anyone feel like that again… intentionally (Currently, I do it all of the time… but in much more creative ways).
It worked for a while, and I seemed to be gaining some ground at the new school. I was happy, making friends, and moving up in the social ladder of Perkins Schools.
Something changed as quickly as it had back in Virginia. I got braces and my eyebrows grew in even thicker than they already were. I shot up to 5’10” in two years, and I got a bad perm… that I would brush. Then, after 2 years of braces, my orthodontist didn’t like the way that my teeth were progressing, so he removed my bi-cuspids (the teeth that are half-molarish in between the incisors and the molars). At this point, I had horse face, was 120 lbs, had a bad perm and high-water jeans. My new nickname was “Highwater” Heather. I was awkward in every way imaginable… and very smart. So, I knew exactly what was happening.
Friends that loved me when I first came to Briar Middle School in Ohio were suddenly horrible to me. No matter what I did, or how nice I was, or how much I helped them out, they were horrible to me.
Eventually, I got the braces off, straightened my hair, joined dance team and obtained connections to purchase obscene amounts of alcohol. It wasn’t long before I was barreling down farm roads with my mom’s minivan packed with my new friends and cases of Mad Dog, Busch Light and Zima. I tried my best to be nice to people, but I generally didn’t like them and didn’t care if they liked me. But, I was still nice, and still did favors. I may not have been as popular as I could have been if I had treated people like shit, but at least I felt good about myself and my actions.
In college, it was different… I made friends very easily and loved that I actually had the opportunity to choose all of the people that I surrounded myself with. So many of my friends in High School were amazing, but came with a horrible bitchy, stupid, whorebag, piece of shit sidekick… those whom I would rather set myself on fire than be associated with. My approach to friendships had changed. Although times have been tough and I’ve continued to move around a lot, the people that I have met have stayed true to me and whatever I was doing (Regardless of the 70lbs overweight that I had become, horrible depression and being damn broke).
I’m very fortunate to have lots of great friends, a supportive family, and to be able to regularly meet people that blow me away with their kindness. Friends that I met in my dorm in College are like my siblings, and we would all do anything for each other. When people say that they’re lucky to have one person in their lives that they truly trust, I can honestly say that I have at least a hundred people in my life that I would be devastated to lose. Saying that I’m grateful, blessed (if I believed in that stuff) and fortunate would only scratch the surface on how happy and secure these people make me feel.
Suddenly, with Comedy and all of the weight that I’ve lost, these friends that are amazing and have seen me through the really tough times are doing what they do best… watching my back.
Recently, I took an approach to my life that changed everything. When people would ask me if I wanted to try something that I’d never tried before, I always said yes. If I was drinking, I would require that I did an activity while drinking, which led me to poker, then comedy, and then trying comedy myself. This defines me… being nice, and always willing to try new things and help people out. When people around me are happy and doing well, I’m happy and doing well.
The comedians in Denver are among some of the most wonderful people that I have ever met and I’m amazed by the amount of talent and creativity that resides in our beautiful little city. I truly expect the best out of people and hope for their happiness. However, I’ve been in more arguments being in the comedy circuit than I’ve been throughout my worst days with Middle School, obesity and depression all put together. These are arguments that have brought me to tears and rage.
As always, there are people that I seek out advice from, those whom I truly value opinions from and those that only want to get in my pants or want something from me. Those people are the worst… they pretend to ask for friendship and think that they’re doing me a favor by doing so. My life is filled with wonderful people, and there’s always room for more… but not for douchebags who take advantage of my kindness. I often say that you can never have too many friends, but you certainly can have too many frenemies. There is no reason for someone like me to feel threatened. But, I do.
It’s only moments after a narcissist sees that you’re vulnerable before they decide to bark in your face. I learned this lesson in sixth grade when I barked in the face of Angela “DogFace” LastNameOmitted. It takes some others a lot longer to learn these lessons, and that’s not my problem. I bet Angela is pretty fucking awesome now. If I could find her; I would apologize. The world is filled with narcissism; I refuse to encourage it.
Looking at the advice that this ‘People Pleaser’ article gives, I’m taking action and learning to say ‘No’ in the New Year when I truly don’t have the time, desire or passion to accomplish people’s requests.
And if you tell me that I’m worthless for not honoring your request? Good luck to you. I have plenty of great friends and if you can’t be understanding when I’m honest and up front, then I don’t need someone in my life like you anyway.
And then you can defriend me on Facebook and bark in my face.
And I’m partially kidding… partially.