It’s always been so hard for me to say that word. I was raised to not know if I could ever say it; I didn’t really think I could. I was groomed to think that it was a word that only bad kids told their elders. I’m an adult now and I can’t count how many times I’ve caught myself with that word in my throat, wondering if it was going to affect someone more than it would affect myself. I think it’s time to look at it a different way. I’m finally seeing it. If I don’t say no, what happens to ME? How is not doing what I want going to affect ME in the long-run?
I spoke with my non-paying client, the paraplegic that I take care of for free. He knew that I was leaving for my own good. He knew a month ago that I was looking for work. I told him that I was not going to be able to work AND go to school AND take care of him. It’s not that I couldn’t pull all of that off but I owe this man nothing and why would I do that to myself when my cause is something greater than one man. The agreement was that I work for my room and board, period, and I’ve been having to buy my own food too. He’s the one that’s stuck for life, not me; I am able-bodied and this body can take me anywhere I want to go.
That’s the beauty of my freedom. I can leave whenever I want to. He seems to think that I am obligated to give him more time. He actually told me NO, that I could not leave yet because I didn’t give him two weeks notice. I told him a month ago, on exactly February 13th. Wanna guess the day that I’m leaving? I’m leaving March 11th; the first of three days I would have had off, what do you know? I remember that Monday I had been quite upset in learning that I did not have enough funding for the next year of school. I told him that I was going to need to find work and that I would not want to live here any longer. I specifically said that I would be looking for a place to move into once I received my student loan money.
I started looking online for rentals and somehow found the place that I want to own…the place that I will do anything within my power to own. That’s what started all of this. First, I was looking for something better after getting back in school and leaving an abusive boyfriend. It turned into being compelled to move to Washington, just looking for anything to tide me over until I got my student loans and figured out what my next steps were going to be. I thought that I could do this forever AND try to help suicidal youth but I’m not a saint, I get tired, and he lied about the amount of time and effort that I was expected to dedicate to him.
Without digressing further, I tried to speak with him about it one more time, me leaving on Monday and he is giving me the silent treatment. He first said that I made up my mind and he only needed me for a little while longer so he’s not talking to me about it any more. A little while longer would have turned into months had I allowed him to use his manipulative tactics and gas-lighting on me. He’s not even paying me. For him to expect me to turn down jobs for staying here with no pay so that his other “worker” can go on a Christian retreat is beyond me. He has a mother, two brothers, and two sons that live in the very same county. How is my presence the only one that he can count on? Does it even matter? I mean, should it matter to me?
So when can I start giving up on this guilt? I know that when I look at it, it tells me that he’s being entirely selfish and non-empathetic to my own needs. I gave more than adequate notice, but he pretends as if he didn’t hear me. I had this conversation with him three different times in three different weeks leading up to this. The word will not lose its value if I say it, in fact, it will have so much more power than I’ve ever thought it could. I’m taking it back, my life. I’m proud of the speech that I gave him. “I told you that I was leaving, several times. Sometimes, I have to allow myself to be selfish too. I have to look out for myself because no one else in this world will do it quite like me. No one else is going to consider the things that I need more than me. This is not even a paying job and I can’t live in servitude any longer. I want to have the freedom to be able care for myself more than I need to care for another person. It’s time. It’s ME time.”