A while ago Daniel and I were sitting in his kitchen. I was working on some school stuff while he was doing his laundry. The washing machine was running and he was ironing his clothes for work. One shirt after another. He took very, very long and I had troubles concentrating on my school work because he was just doing everything in a way that made things much more complicated. At some point I offered to show him a trick how to iron his clothes faster. I got up and showed him how to get the shirt into a position that will allow you to iron without ironing more wrinkles into it. I ended up ironing that shirt myself because I told him that now I started, I might as well finish that shirt. So he pulled the next one out and attempted to iron again. I saw that he wasn’t doing it the way I showed him and took over again. Another shirt. He was getting impatient with my bossy attitude and told me to stop ironing his stuff. I told him that I didn’t mind doing it. After all, I could iron three shirts in the time it took him to finish one. He said he minds, though. I told him to quit acting all hurt just because I criticized him. It was just a shirt! He started explaining to me that it wasn’t me criticizing him that annoyed him. It was the fact that he could very well do it on his own, even if it took him much longer. It was his work to do, his chores. He didn’t want me to act like his slave. That made me kind of angry and I ended up saying “I don’t mind doing it, I like to help. Don’t go all weird on me.” He was kind of upset at this point and shot “I won’T go all weird if you won’t go all quiverfull and shit.” Outch.
I left the kitchen and started to watch some TV. I was really upset and hurt. I don’t like having people throw things like that into my face. “Going all quiverfull”.
A while later he joined me in the living room and apologized for saying it the way he said it, but explained that it’s this thing I do all the time, to everyone. The thing where I “help” without looking after myself. The thing where I do things for others and drop all my own issues, even if it means that I’ll have a hard time catching up with my own stuff. Like dropping the schoolwork to iron his shirts.
Of course I denied that this was true. But deep inside I knew he was right. The same thing kept repeating in my head: J O Y, Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. Was I still doing that?
We kept talking about it and he could name a whole lot of occasions where I was acting this way. I ignore my own schedule to help others by driving them places whenever need be. When being asked what I’d like to do, I always say “I don’t know, what do YOU want to do?” and then end up doing that no matter what. When somebody asks me where I would like to go for dinner, what I’d like to have, I always say I don’t care. I’ll eat Pizza when I’d rather have chinese. When we do a cooking night, I always ask people what I should cook. When they ask me what I want, I say “I don’t care, what do YOU want?”. When it comes to seeing a movie, I do the same. The list goes on…. and on…. and on….
It’s so frustrating. I never realized I was doing it. I asked my friends and they all agreed. Pretty shocking to me.
All of this put me into somewhat of a depression for two days. I thought I had changed, my life had changed and then I saw that one of the most painful philosophies of the QF movement was still the major philosophy in my life.
Daniel came up with a 6 week “challenge” for me. Whenever he would ask me what I wanted, I’d have to give him and honest, “selfish” answer. Of course, he would sometimes decide what to do, but about half of the time, I was supposed to make the decision. If I would say something like “I don’t know”, he would ignore me and do it on his own. Like, go and eat on his own when I didn’t know what we should have. I’d have to get my own then as well. It didn’t sound so bad. Boy was I wrong! It is so hard.
Three days later, he asked me what I wanted for dinner. I gave it a quick thought, remembering that I couldn’t just ask him back and then answered a casserole dish that I know he loves. He gave me a very sort of humored, sort of disappointed look. “You can’t just pick my favourite dish, especially when I know you don’t like it.” He was right. I do not like that dish very much. I eat it when I have to. I was so disappointed with myself. It sounded like such an easy thing to do. Why couldn’t I just say what I want?
Since we started I’ve been constantly feeling guilty about my decisions. Whenever I have to pick, I feel like I’m doing something wrong. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.
As weird as it sounds… I want others to make those decisions. I don’t care if I end up eating food I don’t really like, or watching a movie I’m not interested in. I feel so guilty and selfish, selfish, selfish when we end up doing something that I want to do.
We’re still on the six weeks and it’s a nightmare for me. Every single day he doesn’t ask me what I want is a relief. I do want to change… but it’s so hard.