Demetri Martin and Paw-Shaped Cake: How I’m Learning to Ask for What I Want and Need

I have this horrible habit of bottling up anything that’s bothering me because I don’t want to rock the boat of any of my relationships. This inevitably leads to an explosion, usually in the form of a panic attack or yelling at someone I love.

The most recent form this took was me having a panic attack and then snapping at my friends because I felt like I’d been backlisted. Everyone got tickets to a concert I wanted to go to without thinking to ask me, some people went to visit my friend in Kansas City without even cluing me in, and when I asked several people to go to a comedy show with me on the following Saturday, no one wanted to go or spend the money. I felt lonely and unloved and spent most of my weekend alone in my bedroom, wallowing in misery. I even felt like my attempts to leave and go listen to jazz music at a local bookstore while everyone was at the concert failed, because the jazz musicians were god awful.

You know what would have been an easy solution before I snapped at my friends? Actually telling them that I felt left out. It seems easy, but I hate confrontation and am always afraid that if I point out an issue, someone is going to hate me or do things out of pity, and not because they care about me.

After this meltdown, my friends have done some very nice things for me. One friend got me a mug and a book as birthday gifts, my roommates baked me a paw-shaped cake for my birthday, and one of my friends agreed to go see Demetri Martin’s show with me.

Now, though my friends did pay more attention to me this weekend, I’d rather not have to cry to get my point across. I’d rather have a rational, calm conversation about what’s bothering me. I need to learn how to express these issues and ask for what I want/need without immediately thinking that my friends are going to ditch me or hate me.

Then I need to learn how to accept nice gestures after I say these things as genuine, and not as pity. This is a tough one for me. I felt guilty for a while about “using my emotions to get what I want,” but I realized I was twisting the situation into a negative one. After that, I still worried that my friends were only doing this nice things out of pity, which I still think, because my anxiety likes to lie to me. It’s hard to see nice gestures as genuine if you’ve asked for them, but I’m learning to enjoy these gestures no matter what the purpose.

This is why I had an amazing time with my friend, laughing at Demetri Martin’s snake, donut, and broccoli jokes. She seemed to genuinely enjoy herself as well, and I didn’t make her pay for the ticket (even though I wish my friends would have been willing to make that sacrifice for me if they had the extra money), so I felt a little less guilty. I enjoyed my paw-shaped cake that my friends made dairy-free just for me—and they got me rainbow sprinkles! I’m such a lucky person.

This blog post, like most of the ones I write about my life, has basically been a way to dissect the past few weeks on paper. In 2019, and for the rest of my life, I want to fight to make sure my anxiety isn’t the one dictating my decisions all the time. It’s time to put myself on a level playing field with everyone else in my life, because I’m worthy of it. And everyone who doesn’t think they should do the same: you’re wrong. Instead of putting yourself first or over everyone else, which can make people like me feel guilty, make yourself equal to those you love. You deserve just as much as they do.

And you know what? If you get a cake out of telling people what you want, that’s just a bonus.

P.S. I’m not going to edit this post, because if I re-read it, I know I’ll second guess posting this. It feels more personal than other posts, because this internal guilt and fear of rocking the boat are pretty much the root of most of my problems, so I apologize for any grammatical errors you may have encountered and the lack of pictures. I am aware this isn’t my best piece of writing, but it felt important to write, and the whole point of this blog is to be honest about my journey, whatever that may entail. 

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