I’m a Doormat.

When I was a freshmen in high school, the girls had to run the mile first. So all the boys had gathered on both sides of the track while we ran. Alternatively, they booed or cheered each girl as they ran past. I remember fear bubbling up inside me; I didn’t want to be booed. I vaguely remember the girl in front of me getting booed. Or cheered. I don’t remember. It was my turn – I got booed. The girl behind me got cheered. Part of me wondered if it was because I hadn’t run straight through and instead walked some parts. Or if it was because they didn’t think I was cute.

Maybe it was a combination of both.

Honestly – I have no idea.

Around this same time I remember playing basketball with this other black boy my brother was friends with. I told him that I don’t believe in God. And ever the proper Christian, told me I was going to hell. I thought I was going to cry. Good thing I hated him already.

During my first year at my new high school, I didn’t have very many friends. So I ended up sitting with the same few people regularly.  Two of the boys took my seat when I went to get something to eat. I saw them laughing about it. I don’t even remember what I did in response.

When I was 16, my mother didn’t defend me when my adult cousin called me names, insulting me. I cried right there while everyone watched. Only his wife marginally stuck up for me – and we’re not related.

My mother forced me to go to a state school because she couldn’t afford to send me anywhere else. I remember crying every night; I was having a hard time fitting in. Oh, and my grades sucked. I’m pretty sure I would’ve flunked out had I not transferred.

During my first semester at the new college I transferred to – I wasn’t fitting in. I ended up befriending a bunch of freshmen. I didn’t belong. They regularly said things that hurt my feelings and yet I persisted. One evening at the birthday party of a mutual friend, I made a comment I thought was hilarious. They didn’t seem to think so; and shot me down. I left crying. I spent the rest of my college career pretty much friendless.

My mother, when we moved to NY, didn’t want to enroll me in a school in the city, because she was afraid I wouldn’t be able to defend myself. That something bad would happen to me. Even my own mother didn’t believe in me.

I guess that makes me a doormat .

What about you?

 

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6 thoughts on “I’m a Doormat.

  1. Hey Tatiana,

    Great job putting yourself out there and getting me to really think. I have always been glad that I was never someone who went out of their way to hurt someone’s feelings. I read stories like this and wish that people tried to bring others up instead of down. I think that it is scary to stick up for yourself in a lot of situations. I find myself not saying what is on my mind until I get to the point where something has happened over and over so many times that I can;t hold it in anymore. Why is it so hard for some of us to speak out minds? I have found though, as I get older it is easier. Finally, when we are older it is easier to say F- you! I am not going to take that from someone. I think it has to do with self esteem as well as not wanting to be on the same level as the person who you should most likely either ignore or not associate yourself with. Also, as we get older we have more of a choice of who we surround ourselves with. Wow – I just said a lot! Great post!

    • Hey Julia!

      Oh thanks! I wasn’t sure how others would take it. :P I’m glad you liked it!

      I think speaking up can be really hard. I don’t deal well with confrontation – in face to face situations – and my body seems to shut down or just not handle it well. I probably need more practice, but I’m not sure what the deal is! I guess part of it might be a personality thing, I’m not overly aggressive – though at times I wish I was. Some people feel that girls are socialized not to speak up, which I don’t agree with. I think everyone is conditioned to not make waves or upset anything – both male and female – and that it takes a lot for people to realize when their boundaries are being crossed or abused. So I agree that it has a lot to do with self-esteem and not feeling like a good advocate for yourself. That you’re not always entitled to your own thoughts and feelings.

      I love long comments – so no worries! :D

  2. I can related to this. I’ve always been one to avoid confrontation and not speak up for myself when I should have. To call yourself a doormat may be harsh, but it depends on the reasons why you let things happen to you. You cant stop someone from saying something, but you can respond. You have to analyze the reasons why you don’t respond. It’s perfectly fine to stand up for yourself, even if it may upset someone else – as long as your intentions are good. If you’d rather not stand up for yourself, then you’ll have to accept that people are going to do what you let them do – that includes treating you like doormat. Great topic! :-)

    • Thanks! I’m glad you can relate to it – I feel like being afraid of confrontation is something a lot of people deal with. Whenever I meet overly assertive people, or people who don’t care about your feelings with the things that they say; I wonder how they got to that place. I’ve heard/read that people who do mean things are actually suffering on the inside; I don’t know if I agree! But it’s interesting, but can be really traumatic to say the least (for the person being victimized).

      I’m learning to stand-up for myself, but it’s a slow painful process. But it’s made easier by my not working right now thus not having any co-workers. >:]

  3. Oh hun, this broke my heart to read. Mostly because I saw a bit of myself here. As a matter of fact, the more I read, the more I see a lot of myself. The only difference is, I think you have yet to adopt the old “fuck you, I’m fabulous” and really mean it. I went through much of grade school being treated exactly like you and not standing up for myself. And then something happened. Something clicked. I became an adult, I found myself and my voice. I stopped letting others push me down. I started buying things I wanted, dressing in a way which made me happy, voicing my opinions even if it clashed with what others were saying. Maybe working in television helped that along. Sometimes you get yelled at for things which are your fault. Other times when you know it’s not your fault you learn how to yell back. You will learn to stand up for yourself, because you have a voice. And eventually it will be heard.

    • Hey!!

      I’m glad you related to it. It is very painful to feel so voiceless and powerless. It’s even worse when people attempt (and do) take advantage of you because you don’t or won’t say anything. It’s like the worst thing (or ONE of the worst things) ever. We’ll see how it goes, I need to become more vocal and assertive!

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