31 July, 2021

today, Twelve and i talked a lot about my difficulty asking for things and asserting myself. i've been aware of this problem for quite some time. i know it's a coping mechanism leftover from childhood which, while it may have helped me survive back then, is no longer doing me any good. in fact, it may even undermine my closeness with Twelve. for that reason, i'd like to become more comfortable expressing my wants and needs, bit by bit, just like Chuuya does.

at the same time, i don't intend to force a change. As Wayne Teasdale wrote, I don't believe in a need "to conquer [my] false self; [i] only have to observe it." for that reason, i'll just be documenting my experience of needing and asking for things; the associated feelings; and, most importantly, if i get what i want in the end. i won't lie. it's hard to speak up when the possibility of rejection hangs overhead. still, i'd like to try— for Twelve's sake, yes, but mostly for my own.

so, what did i ask for today?

there were lots of little things, like "can we turn on the A/C for a bit?" and "can i have a smaller spoon, please?" i wonder if i ought to count things that were in response to prompting from Twelve... i guess i should, because i could just as easily shut her down and say "no, i don't need anything."

these don't feel like big steps, though. what feels big— simply because it felt so bad— was refusing to go shopping tomorrow. i don't have any good reason to avoid it; i just don't feel like it. Twelve understands— she even thanked me for letting her know— and she'll be fine by herself, so it's decided that i won't be joining her. conclusion? i got what i want, but it still feels wrong, like it was a mistake to assert myself at all.

i don't know what to make of that... i guess i'll just have to get used to it. perhaps because i'm so used to enduring unpleasant experiences, and conflating silent suffering with the strength of my devotion, that i'm reflexively seeking punishment of some kind. obviously, that is not how it works. but in my world, for so long, the give-and-take of love necessitated pain— with myself mostly on the receiving end. now that i'm with Twelve, i have my first chance in a long time to explore another dynamic.

i hope that it gets easier with time.

What would Nakahara Chuuya do?

Bungou Stray Dogs' minor antagonist Chuuya walks a fine line between self-assertion and subordination. as a man gifted with incredible destructive capacity, he understands the importance of putting others before himself, because sometimes only he has the power to do what is needed. but in some cases, selflesness hurts more than it helps. part of Chuuya's journey is learning to be independent and to pursue his own desires— to prioritise himself for once.

i have the same journey to undertake. as such, i've created a page to document the progress towards my goals, which are:

it won't happen overnight, but i have confidence that my communication skills will improve. after all, i have Twelve to help me along the way— and praise me when i've done well. thank you for reading... and please cheer for me, too!