Some of my least favorite moments going to elementary school are from gym glass. I didn’t mind escaping from the classroom and getting the blood pumping. The part I dreaded the most was getting picked for teams. Standing against the wall felt more like being chosen to see who will survive a zombie apocalypse than playing a game of dodgeball. I could handle waiting to be picked, but I hated being the captain that had to choose my team.
No matter what you do as the team leader, you will make a mistake. I always tried picking my friends first but I always considered everyone else’s feelings. I would hate to leave someone standing there and feeling like they weren’t wanted. One particular gym class, the two people left standing on that lonely wall were a couple of my close friends. No matter who I chose, I knew that the relationship with one of them would never be the same. And while I tried to show that I cared about both of them, my assumption was right. I hurt one of my friends that day and I learned what it meant to let someone down.
As I got older, decisions became tougher with more consequences. It wasn’t gym class anymore, it was real life. I was now faced with choosing who I would pick up in my car, the friends that could come over to hang out, and even what people I would share my feelings and opinions with. I always tried to consider everyone in my choices, but there were problems no matter what. One nasty phone call from a friend about not inviting him to a party that I had no control over really scarred me to avoid confrontations.
After trying to do what I thought was best for everyone, I know find myself at the other end of the stick. My high school days are long past me, but the drama has seemed to carry over into the present. I try to reach out to my friends, and I rarely even get an answer back let alone them picking up when I am calling. I see pictures on Facebook with them all hanging out and having a good time, and I am left with an empty feeling wondering why I wasn’t invited. The fear of not being picked in gym class that I never worried about growing up has now become a reality.
I spent a few years really battling with these emotions and questions. Why was I the one left out? Is there something I did wrong? But I think the real issue was I never stood up for myself. I just tried to be accommodating to everyone else and this let me be a door mat for my friends. I didn’t get to do all the things I really wanted to because I was so afraid to let one of them down. Now they are the ones having fun together, and I am the one left at the door with all their tread marks and dirt.
In life, we need to realize that we should come first and make sure we are happy. I am not saying it isn’t important to care about others. Even after all that happened with my friend, I still wish them the best and would help them out if they needed it. But in the end, the only person we have to rely on in this life is ourselves. As we meet new people and go after goals, we are going to crack a few eggs along the way. Would you rather have a clean omelette or be stuck with egg shells in your dish?