If I were a superhero, my biggest weakness would be people-pleasing. (Also, my power would be telekinesis, which may or may not have to do with the fact that I am lazy.)
I can just see it: some old lady is about to be attacked, and the only way to stop the muggers would be to use my mind power to hurl the globe-shaped sculpture towards on-coming traffic, which, in turn, would create a traffic jam that draws so much attention to the potential scene of crime that the muggers would run the other way. But then everyone would think that SuperEgo (me) was just being destructive, not knowing that I actually saved a woman’s life, and they would all hate me. So I would choke and the poor old woman would meet her fate.*
Clearly, I would be a terrible superhero. Everyone knows that there are better ways to take care of muggers. Like punching them in the face.
When I say that my weakness is people-pleasing, I don’t mean that in a “I care too much and work too hard” Michael Scott kind of way. I really think that it is a debilitating weakness. I simply am too concerned about what other people think.
I’m the type to stress all night about a comment long-forgotten by everyone else but me. If there is any possible way to misconstrue a statement, I will. If I hear someone say, “Wow, K, you have people over all the time,” I think they’re REALLY saying, “Dude, is there something wrong with your family life that requires you to always have people over?” or “Wow, you are really needy.” And the catch is: I wouldn’t be so concerned about the fact that maybe I AM needy or whatever–really, what would bother me is that this person thinks poorly of me.
Late in my pregnancy, I was afraid that the pain of childbirth would make a monster out of me. Or, at least, bring out the worst in me. I dreaded the moment, depicted so often in movies, when I would lash out at P for “doing this to me” and call him terrible names. Instead, I screamed like an animal during contractions and spent the time between contractions apologizing for my screaming. No joke. The nurses thought I was crazy. I think I’m crazy. Even in the most painful moment of my life, I wanted to be sure that everyone thought I was laboring “well.”
I used to think I wanted to be a TV news correspondent or a radio DJ. Can you IMAGINE how ridiculous that would be?
Me, on air: This next song, “Eggs and Sausage” by Tom Waits, might just inspire all you women out there as you cook breakfast for the kids this morning.
[five minutes pass]
Me: Um, just so everyone who was listening five minutes ago knows, I don’t think that women are the only ones who cook for their family. Men do, too. I definitely don’t think that women need to be the cooks… Really, I… Please don’t think I’m sexist.
Yeah, that wouldn’t work so well.
So I’ve divulged my weakness. Now what? I guess they say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.
*(Batman is my favourite superhero. Dude’s willing to be the “dark knight” and take the role of a villain for the good of Gotham. THAT is heroic.)