Oh, No: It’s That Irritating Need to Please Everyone Again

I suffer from Approval Addiction.

In every exchange, I try to be what pleases the other person. With my children, I am an experienced adult who unconditionally loves them. With my neighbors, I aim to be the easy-going one who’s willing to provide a cup of flour or plate of cookies. With my friends, I lend a listening ear and supportive hand. With my blog, I’m the writer-of-all-trades in order to please the greatest number of followers.

I wear many, many masks. I feel I even wear masks within masks.

Unfortunately, I fail. With my children, I become the resentful, repressed, and stressed adult who makes them think they must earn my affection. With my neighbors, I bother, offend, and fail to keep up. With my friends, I …don’t really have any. With my blog, I back-post midnight thoughts and give up (yet again) on reading what others wrote.

I feel dizzy with the ride of expectations vs. reality. I start employing my old numbing tactics: little sleep, lots of junk food, and mindless apps to distract.

Round

and round

and round again.

Sometime near 2 or 3 a.m., I lift my tear-streaked face from the closet floor. “I can’t keep doing this,” I say, with a smidgen of resolve. “Something’s gotta give.” I consider what I can get rid of:

  • Kids? Probably can’t give any back now.
  • Dishes? I wishes.
  • Laundry? Housework? Bill-paying? Errand-running? Etc? No, no, no, no, and no.
  • Staring at my shoe rack from my position on the floor whilst eating chocolate? Maybe.
  • Writing?

Ah, the writing. Some part of ‘the writing’ needs to give. I started blogging because I was going to succeed at something. Maybe I’d publish a book. Perhaps I’d attract tens of thousands of people to my site. Surely, I would change the world.

Whatever happened, my quick quips and cute phrases would most definitely be circulated around Facebook instead of the banal ones I saw daily.

Yet, here I sit, the same as when I started. I have nothing to show for all the time investment into ‘the writing.’

*sigh*

Well, I don’t literally have nothing to show for it. I have all of you.

I love my blogging friends, even those who don’t come around anymore. You’ve read, complimented, lifted, encouraged, responded, sympathized, reached out, poemed, and loved me. In a world where I rarely converse with like-minded people, I need this. I don’t expect everyone to read everything I write; you all feel the same, right?

So… I wonder how you all deal with ‘the writing.’ Have you a schedule? Do you write ahead? If you write and read less frequently, how do you still have followers?

Most importantly, do you write blog posts in the closet?

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Here’s the breakdown for the week:

Wednesday, January 29: Talked about DIETING in, “The Diet: It Sucks But It Works.”

Thursday, January 30: Throwback to my Reddit story: “Customer Service.”

Friday, January 31: Posted the winner of this week’s “Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.” Congratulations to Matt Snyder.

Saturday, February 1: Announced the 57th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is LOVE. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, February 2: Shared Jules’ page of the poem we commented to create.

Monday, February 3: An inspirational quote from Nitin.

Tuesday, February 4: Poemed “An Overworked Poem About the Post,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Wednesday, February 5: Today

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Jamesthethomas5

Wilhelmina Winters: Thirty-Five

Wil walked slowly, her soft brown hair framing a small, pensive face. Her dark eyes, so full of the depth of life, scanned the crowd. Her slim yet graceful body moved ever forward as her peers stared in awe.

Boys watched and wanted from the corners of their eyes, as girls shot looks of envy. That purple cloak was stunning. Those boots were the height of fashion. The scarf was an expensive weave of black on black. The young woman who wore them was so naturally beautiful.

Although she tried to ignore them, Wil was conscious of the attention. Anyone would have to be. She pretended she wasn’t, however. She needed to reach her ride, and couldn’t afford distractions.

“I purchased these flowers for you,” spoke a timid young man with black, wavy hair. He offered them in a shaking hand. Wil brushed them aside, dusting petals to the floor.

A confident boy with blond hair and smoldering eyes tried to block her path. “Let’s catch a movie tonight, Wil.” He was sure to be accepted, but she dodged around his Letterman-jacketed arm.

“You’re coming to my birthday, right?” The Class President begged Wil. She approached with an anxious, artificially white smile; and left with a spoiled frown.

They sought her like hypnotized moths to a tempting flame. But, Wil’s heart-shaped face turned only one way. Her deep glance rested on only one person. Her body was drawn to only one other body.

He would be waiting, she knew, with more than flowers. He would take her somewhere better than a theater. He didn’t have birthday parties filled with fake people.

Wil whispered his name. “Derek.”

She reached the doors to outside, and pushed through them. A disappointed trail of admirers was behind her and the afternoon was before her. The shy sun illuminated her path to the idling minivan at the curb.

Even her neighbors stared as she approached, every other distraction forgotten in Wil’s presence. They shifted to give her the best seat as Wil ducked and entered the vehicle.

“How are you today, Wil?” Mrs. Crandall attempted. Wil didn’t respond, but no one expected she would.

Mrs. Crandall faced forward, appeared to watch surrounding traffic, and pulled into the familiar queue of cars heading home.

Reagan, pulling an earbud from her right ear, turned to Wil and whispered, “So, you’re part of our group now, right?”

Wil didn’t hear at first, as she slid in her seat at the sudden movement of Mrs. Crandall braking and honking.

She realized Reagan had spoken to her, and brilliantly responded, “Huh?”

“Our group,” Reagan persisted. “You got the notes. Derek said you’d find out about it after school today.” She looked at Wil’s face and raised her eyebrows expectantly.

“Oh,” Wil replied. “Um. Yeah.”

“So,” Reagan said, “Welcome.” She sat back, pushing her ear bud back in place and looking at her phone again. She had been reading it since first climbing in the van.

Wil blinked in the reality of the small cabin around her, and realized she ought to actually read what Derek had given her.

 

Continued from Thirty-Four.
Keep reading to Thirty-Six.