Have you seen my backbone?

Hello and happy Sunday funday. [Blogged while rocking out to J. Biebs.] I hope everyone enjoyed the only time we’re truly happy — the weekend.

On Saturday, I strolled up to the Starbucks drive-through for a tasty treat. As I decided what to get, I was thinking of all the special requests I was about to ask for. (OK, three requests.) And I thought, Ugh, I don’t want to be that person. Don’t be annoying. And then I was like, Lyss, that’s why this place exists. Just tell them what you want, you enormous pansy. 

“Hi, can I get a tall caramel macchiato? But can I just get two pumps vanilla and half the caramel drizzle? And also with almond milk?”

Phew. I had done it. My drink was exactly what I wanted. Delightful, just slightly less unhealthy, and it didn’t make me bloated. Win. And as I drove away, I realized just how seldom I ask for what I want in life. Yes, I got all that from a cup of coffee. Welcome to inside my brain.

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Being a people pleaser gets me into situations I immediately regret. Like giving money to an ex-convict selling magazines door-to-door and then stalking him a few blocks down only to ask for my check back. Or saying, “I love it! Here’s $60,” to a hair style that makes me want to cry.

It’s also given me reputations I don’t care for. Foj, the 24/7 cab service; Foj, the tease; Foj, the customer who says, “Um, hi, I’m sorry, but I think you made me the wrong smoothie?” Like bitch, why are you apologizing for someone else’s mistake?!

Being polite and generous is great. But when it prevents you from speaking up for what you want, it’s easy to get in the habit of being a “yes” person. Sometimes (actually, most times), it’s OK to say no. It’s OK to know what you want and be direct in asking for it. It’s a quality you need to survive life. If you don’t ask for what you want, you’re settling. And life is too short to settle.

The audacity to be direct is also something you need in order to establish your confidence and self-respect. All my time spent apologizing for what I want to say has eventually made me feel like I’m not worth people’s time; or that extra step or slight inconvenience I may cause someone by saying, “Probz not,” or, “Can I get that instead?”

If you’re kicking ass at your job, ask for a promotion. When you’re looking to buy a car, ask for a better deal. If a relationship in your life isn’t a good fit, address it. When an ex-convict asks you to buy magazines to benefit Chicago’s youth, just fucking say no.

Because you may not realize it, but even the smallest pattern of behavior can give you a reputation you might not want. Or even create expectations you don’t know exist. Most importantly, you’ll live a much more fulfilled life knowing you’re getting exactly what you asked for. Because honey, you deserve it.

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