In somewhat of a rush, I opened the door and immediately spotted him. Neatly dressed in neutral business attire and carrying a clipboard, he advanced rapidly, a carbon copy of so many uninvited doorbell ringers. His heart must have skipped a beat – I was outside and he was at the end of my driveway. No waiting to see if someone would answer, no door to be slammed in his face. To him, I was potential. A potential sale? Potential convert? Who knows? I was the mark he was waiting for, practically delivered up on a silver platter.
I locked the door and turned to see his first step onto my driveway. He was coming and I needed to make a decision. Whatever he was selling is out of my reach financially and that’s assuming I even wanted or needed it. Not to mention, I was already in a rush so being a wimp and allowing his pitch was not going to happen.
Before his second step onto the driveway, I looked up, smiled, and said, “Nope,” in the most assertive, yet friendly manner I could.
He smiled back, “Nope?” and nodded.
I nodded back and said, “Thank you,” as he proceeded to my neighbor’s.
Once upon a time, I would have been afraid of hurting his feelings or just too damned weak to say I wasn’t interested. That didn’t happen today. I was firm and assertive, while still nice.
I’ve spent my life eager to be kind and fair toward others. I’m drawn to being a nice person. Self-sacrifice for another’s benefit is as deeply ingrained in my psyche as my physical heart is ingrained in my body. Unfortunately, these traits played a significant role in allowing my husband (and others, sadly) to take advantage of and hurt me for so many years. I struggled with coming to terms with that. Would asserting myself or choosing my needs over someone else’s desires make me into a person who was unkind, unfair, or, gasp, not nice?
Today, I proved to myself that it wouldn’t. I am still nice, even without giving something up.
What’s more is that the guilt pangs I keep feeling serve to remind me that I did not lose myself during the divorce and there remains a long distance to travel on my survivor’s journey.