A Drink of Water

September 16, 2002

Ever since I was a child I have felt a tremendous stigma about asking for anything for myself. As a child when I was at someone else's house, my mother would get upset if I asked for something. If a drink was offered I could accept but it was bad form to ask first.

One of my childhood buddies could have friends sleep over at his house. When he called to ask, sometimes I could go for the night. If I asked if I could go the answer was always no. I learned to use the phone in the basement to call him first to get him to call me and ask if I could spend the night. Later I realized that at least part of the reason I couldn't go was my mother felt she would then have to return the favor and allow him to stay the night in our house.

As an adult I still carry around this idea of don't ask. Even when things are offered to me I have a difficult time allowing myself to enjoy what was freely offered. This has become punishing in that the message I am giving myself is that I am not worthy of having what I desire.

For some years now I have wanted a wiz-bang laptop. One with all the bells and whistles, one that no one else I knew owned. I wanted to feel special in this regard. Now, thanks to an auction on Amazon I am within hours (maybe) of getting just such a machine. I have struggled since last evening about letting myself complete this purchase. I even dreamed about it during the night.

In the end it boils down to letting myself ask for a glass of water because I want it and because it will make me feel good. I can choose to deny myself this pleasure once again, but I now understand that is punishing myself for no good reason. No one is going to pat me on the head and remark what a good little boy I am for denying myself things that I truly desire. Or I can choose to act on my desire and allow myself the joy of having something new.

I choose joy.

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.