Yesterday morning, I found myself in line with my favorite cashier at a local store I frequent. As she was ringing me up for my purchase, she asked me if I was ready for Thanksgiving. At first, I was confused by her question. Given that it’s 3-weeks away, T-day simply isn’t high on my mental radar. But I re-calibrated quickly and responded in a lighthearted tone: Yep, I’m ready.
It’s important to mention that her question was front-loaded with a tone that clearly relayed not only her own lack of readiness but also a thick air of obligation. It felt very much like she was fishing for a certain stock answer she was looking for – an agreeable party that could share her own sense of misery inherent in the upcoming holiday. I then went on to tell her that we were hosting a community potluck gathering at our house, like we do every year, to which she replied: Oh, that’s good. That way you don’t have to do all the cooking your self. She then told me about how her kids now have kids and even though it’s just her own family attending, her family is growing and it’s a lot of work to host Thanksgiving. Part of me wanted to say: don’t do it, my friend – if you don’t enjoy cooking and hosting, don’t do it. But even though she and I have a lovely rapport together, it’s not like I know her well enough to say something like that.
It seemed very much like she was putting herself in an obligatory state of relationship with Thanksgiving, rather than a choice-state. And having a fondness for her, my heart went out to her, wishing she didn’t feel as though she had to cook and host if that really wasn’t what she wanted to do and could find joy in.
After the above encounter, faced with a sink full of dishes fresh from my decision to make a carrot walnut bread – because I both had a bunch of carrots looking to fulfill their destiny and I thought it would be a nice treat to serve my friends coming soon to visit – I said aloud to myself, with a slight air of woe-is-me: Whelp, now I need to do the dishes.
I caught it right away after I said it.
Need Nicole? As in: I need to do the dishes? Then I responded back to myself: No, you don’t need to do the dishes. You are choosing to do them.
Ah, yes. Right. That’s much more accurate. It’s also much less victim-statey.
Did I mention words matter?
As soon as I declared that I am choosing to do the dishes, my energetics changed right away. It made a difference. The words I was speaking to myself mattered.
They always do.
There is never a time when they don’t .