It’s a tough thing to write a column; as the writer, you have to choose something to say that people will want to read, and at the same time offer an almost obscene exposure of yourself and the person you are. Although I came to this challenge extremely strong, being faced with a bald page and that hostile little cursor blinking menacingly can crumble even the stoutest of hearts.
Fear not, audience. I will not disappoint. For your reading pleasure I present a theory that in recent times I have found myself developing and subscribing to on a daily basis: personal advocacy.
Now, this may seem like a simple thing to most people. It is, in a lot of ways, a very intuitive sort of concept. In layman’s terms, personal advocacy is just what it sounds like: speaking up and fighting for your own needs and interests. However, I feel the need to relate the importance of this to my readership which obviously encompasses millions (hardy har) and demand the realization of how important we all should be to ourselves.
I don’t state this lightly. I didn’t want to make this column too much about me, but the only way I can stress why this is so important and under-practiced is to use myself as an example.
I never thought I was the type to self-deprecate. Ask anyone who knows me and they will probably tell you that I’m outgoing and boisterous, blasé and caring. Those things are true to an extent, but as for most of us, the river runs deep. What my friends and family don’t know about me (and what I didn’t even know until recently) is that by nature I am self-destructive and a purveyor of my own demise, all because no one taught me how to fight for what I deserve.
It’s easy to say to someone “you should stand up for yourself.” But what’s harder is to say “you have to stand up to yourself.” Stand up to yourself? What on Earth does that mean? Aren’t you on your own side? How are you going to fight for what you deserve if the one you’re fighting against is yourself?
What I mean to say is, going through life, it’s extremely easy to fall into bad habits that don’t seem like a big deal at the time but can eventually lead to the dissolution of your dreams and aspirations. I would argue that the majority of times, an outside influence trying to stop you from achieving your goals only fuels your drive to reach it. When you yourself are making the decisions that remove your long-term goals from the forefront of your values, there is no one who will correct that for you. There will be no one to step up to you and say, “no, this will only hurt you.”
To make things clear, I’m not just talking about merely putting indulgences before what has to be done. I’m talking about unconsciously avoiding your goals because subconsciously you think you don’t deserve to reach them. And that’s where I was.
My whole life I have been faced with obstacles blocking my goals. Normal. And in my case, there have been a lot. I am here today largely because of my determination not to give in to a world telling me that I’m meant to fail. On the surface I never really lost sight of my drive to succeed, but somewhere along the line I think I cracked deep down. I don’t know when, but sometime recently I stopped fighting. I was dog-tired of breaking through wall after boulder after ceiling only to be standing in front of a mountain. You know, the labeling theory is real; if you tell someone they’re worthless long enough, they start to believe it.
I started to choose things that took me off the path I wanted to be on because my faith in my right to be on it was broken. It’s much less risky to stay on the side of the road, laying in the sun and smelling the sweet perfume of life just for the sake of it, than it is to walk into the unknown and fight against trials that make you question the very person you are. But you must, because otherwise this special intelligence that chaos has unwittingly given to we undeserving humans will be for naught.
So it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman, Hispanic, poor, average or whatever. If you want something, work for it. Sacrifice for it. Take it (unless it’s not yours, in which case, ask nicely or go get your own). Tell the world to go fuck itself and stand up to yourself, for yourself, with yourself and say “I’m worth it.” Because you are, I’m sure of it. Even if right now you’re not.
P.S. McGules, Dr. Dick and all the rest of the late-night dirty stay-outs: I love all of you. Working with you has been a distinct pleasure and privilege and I thank you for allowing me to enjoy it for these past months. I’m certain this will not be the last you see of this prophet of the carnal religion. Until then, I fully expect Kitty and Maeve to hold down the fort.