Nov 17

Remember These Two Things

‘Tis the season for demanding interactions. People want your time, and they want to catch up. And mostly this is a good thing. Who doesn’t want a little human connection? But when it’s not a good thing, I remember these two things.

Remember these two things

Original photo by Andrew Bui

Lately I’ve been wondering why I’m so exhausted, and I’ve realized I’m over-scheduled. It’s hard for me to do a lot in one day if that involves human interaction. And since I teach, I generally have at least 30 human interactions with students a day. (Usually it’s more.) So by the end of the day I’m drained.

In November and December, I find myself fighting tooth and nail to keep my time to myself. If I already have to speak with students, there’s no energy when I’m done. But that doesn’t stop the onslaught of holiday parties.

Fun fact: I’ve recently realized that all my holiday depression isn’t due to the actual holidays, but because I just don’t get enough alone time to recharge.

An Introvert Problem

This is a big introvert problem. There are moments at parties where I look at the room, and my vision zooms out and feel like I’m not a part of what’s actually going on — just an observer. (This is because mostly I am.) I feel this sinking feeling in my stomach, kind of like homesickness, and then I regret showing up because I know I’m going to be a huge downer for everyone else because I’m not displaying my holiday joy appropriately.

You're Not Displaying Your Holiday Joy Appropriately

Sorry. I’m just not a party person. I’m a “go get coffee with one to two people person” or a “sit at the bar with my best friend and chat” person.

Introvert problem: not displaying your holiday joy appropriately Click To Tweet

However, I should note that if you aren’t part of The Inner Circle, then having a one-on-one meeting is equally as hard as a house party for me.

I’ve gotten really good at making up excuses as to why I won’t be at someone’s event.

“Sorry, my work schedule won’t allow it.”

“Bummer, man, I have a family thing.”

“I’ll let you know as soon as I check my calendar.”

(This last one is then followed by radio silence wherein I do not actually check my calendar.)

Maybe this makes me an asshole, but I also think it makes me feel balanced. I’ve talked before about how you shouldn’t carry something that isn’t yours. For me, attending large gatherings ain’t the part of the relationship that’s mine to carry. (Though, I’m always there if you need a one-on-one dinner.)

Remember These Two Things

For now, whenever I feel like someone has asked something of me that I can’t handle, I remember these two things:

  1. I don’t owe them anything.
  2. My life is none of their business.

I’ve found that saying these two things out loud to myself is oddly freeing.

But think about it.

I don’t owe anyone anything. Except, well, the Subaru Corporation. They get a payment from me monthly. But as far as people go, I don’t owe people my presence or attention. I don’t have to show up to stuff I don’t want to do. I don’t have to put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable, even if it’s fun for others.

Say it. “I don’t owe anyone anything.” It’s weird how freeing it is.

But what if you start to feel guilty? What if you feel like you owe them an explanation? What if someone wants to get up in your face and ask why you can’t be physically present?

Just remember that your life is none of their business.


If I had a dollar for every time a well-meaning acquaintance asked me to explain why I couldn’t do a thing that I would absolutely hate, I would literally quit my day job.

(And if you’re a person who thinks you have a right to goad me into doing something I would hate by asking me why I can’t do something I wouldn’t enjoy, I think you should give me a dollar so I CAN quit my day job.)

And there you have it. Just remember these two things and you’re well on your way to saving your sanity this holiday season.

Remember These Two Things Click To Tweet

How do you balance your time during the holidays? What’s things do you remember to prevent yourself from doing things you don’t wanna do?


Apr 17

If It Ain’t Yours, Don’t Carry It

If it ain’t yours, don’t carry it.

Simple enough.

If it ain't yours, don't carry it.

Don’t pick it up. Don’t offer to help. Don’t open up your bag and let someone else drop it right in there.

Because if it ain’t yours to carry, you don’t need to carry it.

But what about the stuff that others can’t carry? You know — the things they’ve picked up along the way. The extras and the afflictions and the little nonconformities that make it hard for them. If you know their story, it makes it hella hard not to carry something for someone else.

Whatever it may be.

But you can’t.

You’re supposed to be here, but you’re not here to carry what’s not yours.

Pretend I’m coming at you like an angry mama who found her toddler crawling on the floor of a public restroom, and that toddler also happened to pick up several things and shove them in her mouth.

NO NO NO, I say to you.

Not yours.

Don’t pick that up. Don’t put it in your mouth. Leave it there, it’s yucky.

Because if it ain’t yours, don’t carry it.

Because if it ain't yours, don't carry it. Click To Tweet

(This is as much a reminder for me as it is for you, you know.)

(I’m sure you know.)

(If you’re here, you know.)

But what about when, you ask, brow furrowed in consternation, what about when someone leaves what’s theirs with you? Then, are you not obligated to carry it?

Hell no.

If some well meaning asshole approaches you with with what belongs to them, and drops it at your feet, that is exactly where it stays. You don’t pick that up, and you sure as hell don’t carry it. And if they look at you expectantly and wonder why you ain’t carrying it, you don’t have to explain shit, because it’s not yours.

If they come back later and ask if you’ve got it, remind them that you don’t carry it if it ain’t yours, and they can go pick it up just where they left it.

You have to take care of yourself, because sometimes the Universe is conspiring against you.

The secret is that you’ll gladly carry for some. Some truly deserve it. Those people who are inextricably linked to you by a force that pulls and magnetic coincidence — you’ll carry what belongs to them because you know they’ll carry what belongs to you.

But here’s the rub: You can’t carry theirs if you’re carrying someone else’s. And just imagine how foolish you’ll feel when you realize you’ve been schlepping what’s not yours to carry when you could’ve carried something better all along.

But that’s the thing. If it ain’t yours, don’t carry it. And if you’re going to carry it, best outline the carrier-carryee relationship upfront. And honestly, let them know your policy on carrying what’s not yours.

Oh, and make sure you uphold that policy.