Monday, 23 December 2013

Tell someone how you feel this Christmas... Actually, best not.

I’m going to tell you something about myself you may not know. It’s not exactly ground breaking, nor is it something anyone can really gossip about. It’s something that really annoys me about myself and it’s the reason why sometimes I find myself exhausted, fed-up and feeling inadequate.

I’m a people pleaser. There, I’ve said it. I’d much rather make everyone around me happy than myself. As long as they don’t have a bad day, I don’t mind about mine.

The problem with being a people pleaser is that not many other people are. It’s not that they are selfish, it’s that they’ve got their priorities worked out a lot better than I have.

This goes hand in hand with another thing you may not know about me – I don’t tell people how I really feel. Ask any of my exes, and they will tell you just how frustrating it is to get me to tell them I actually how I feel about a situation.

I blame my drama training. I find it so easy to put on an “I’m completely okay with what you just said to me” expression that I find it hard to snap out of. I’m not saying I never tell people how I feel, the problem is that I normally keep all those feelings inside my head until a really inappropriate time when I decide to explode and know one really knows what to do with me.

However, it is Christmas, and all those stupid songs and adverts tell you that you should tell that ‘special someone’ how you feel at this time of year. Now, I’m guessing that it’s meant to be romantic and a nice thing that you are telling them how you feel – but for some reason my head has decided that isn’t the case this festive season.

For probably the first time in my life, I just have no filter system. For the past week I have been telling people exactly how I feel, and exactly what I think about them. The worst part of it is…. There hasn’t been any alcohol involved.

Now, I never complain about retail staff. I’ve worked it crappy minimum wage jobs, and you know what, they are fully entitled to snap at the fiftieth person that day who’s asked what they can use there voucher on, when it is displayed very clearly on a hundred different signs in the shop.

You know when you’re just having one of those days – you have to dry your tights with a hair dryer, you find mould on the toast you are already halfway through and you can’t find you’re keys five minutes before you need to leave.

Well I was having one of those and I popped into Sainsbury’s. I normally like food shopping, but it looses its appeal when all you can afford is pasta, bread and beans. I got to the checkout and was greeted by one of the most miserable women I think I’ve ever met. I always just forget a bit of bad service, but it must have been the fifth time this year I’d not even been acknowledged by this employee as she scanned through my Basics cheese.

So, I did something I never do – I made a complaint, and I’ve felt guilty ever since.

On my comment card, I explained just how rude she had been to me when I asked for cash-back and how unhelpful to the elderly lady struggling to pack quick enough in front of me, prompting me to assist.

Every time I had come across this woman she had been awful, so why did I feel so horrible?

The second time, I feel less guilty about. I know people are panicking so close to Christmas that they haven’t got everything they need, but why does this have to mean a complete forfeiture of their manners?

On many occasions this week, I haven’t been thanked for opening doors for people, letting people struggling with bags get on the train ahead of me and running after people who have left belongings behind. Well, I snapped. I snapped in the Disney store.

As I was walking through the store I went past a woman who knocked several pyjama sets on the floor. Being nice, I bent down to pick them up for her. I’m not saying I need a round of applause, but at least a thank you. Well, I got nothing but a dirty look.

I seemed to speak before my brain really engaged and ended up spouting; “Yeah it’s alright that I picked up something that you dropped. Thanks for the gratitude”.

I got a very sheepish “sorry” reply.

And the third time, I feel absolutely no guilt about at all. I told someone I hope they have a rubbish Christmas, and I absolutely stand by what I said. 

A few months ago I was speaking to a friend of mine about how I’d been treated in the past by guys and he said “And what did you do to them?”. I didn’t know what to say, because honestly, I hadn’t done anything. I walked away every time, thinking that keeping a dignified silence would stop me from looking like a psychopath. Well, it may do that, but actually all it does is just leave the door right open behind you as you walk away. By not telling these guys what I really feel, I haven’t had any closure.

Not this time.

As soon as my nice little bubble was burst on Thursday night, I sent a text (I know, not very dramatic, but I’m getting there) that I will be proud of for the rest of my life.

I told him how I felt. For the first time in my life I didn’t let someone get off scot-free for how they treated me. I told him I hoped he had a rubbish Christmas... because I meant it.

I hope there aren’t enough pigs in blankets for his Christmas dinner; I hope the Internet shopping he’s done doesn’t arrive in time and I hope he gets turned down at midnight on New Years Eve.

That is how I feel and I shouldn’t feel guilty about it. If you’ve been treated like dog poo of the bottom of their shoe, there is no way you should feel guilty about hoping they get a bit of acute food poisoning or get caught in the rain ahead of an important meeting – because that is poetic justice and it doesn’t happen enough.

Merry Christmas.

Live. Laugh. Love.