Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chicken Again?

Introvert or extrovert?

Coffee or tea?

Aisle seat or crammed between two large business travelers?

Would you say anything? Or would you take whatever came at you, whatever you were offered, and then stew about it later?

I usually have the perfect, polite but firm response to any given question... about three days later. And it doesn't even matter whether it's a tough question. I can put myself in a pretzel over whether the hostess would rather make tea or coffee. What would she prefer? I wouldn't want to put anyone out, after all. All of this to say: I may just be a chicken.

We have discussed here, blogishly, free range chickens (pooping on my next-door-neighbor's B&B), free-range children (not mine, usually), and the many (unfortunately unrealized on my farmette) uses for chicken poop. But we have never entered the territory of my chicken heart.

Okay, maybe once or twice I've hinted about how hard it is for me to be simply assertive. And then there was once I got miffed and called it mad and did something about it. Whew. That was fun. Go ahead and click on that last one. It's my favorite. And maybe you'll click back to hear about my latest struggle with saying what needs to be said.

I think I keep coming up against these situations because I need to, I don't know, change? Grow? Stop with the beating around the bush already?

These past couple of months we decided to homeschool the girls. I was completely terrified to inform the principal of our rural school. She is not a friend of mine, and I shouldn't be worried about hurting her feelings over this simple communication, but of course I have been. I have been worried to the extent that it resembles completely paralyzed and tongue-tied. I may have called the school district office six or seven times and been relieved that she wasn't in and further relieved that there's no voicemail.

She finally called me back, you know, and it was fine. It was okay. The worrying was way worse than the actual conversation. I choked it out, and she took the opportunity to tell me her own frustrations with the school district. (Not that I shared any frustrations of my own. Nosiree, Blog, this was strictly about making a decision for my girls. We have no frustrations with the school AT ALL.) In fact, the principal has transferred her own two children to another school. We had a very civil, productive conversation. I didn't even lose consciousness when I hung up. See? I can be assertive! (It helps that the person on the other end of the line was dying to dish.)

Since that phone conversation, I must have needed some repetition of the skill. Because you know I have had two distinct and separate opportunities to practice using my words like a big girl.

I wish I could report that it's getting easier. And easier. A piece of cake now. However, all I can truthfully say is that I've faced the fact that I am a chicken. Bock-ba-ahh-ck-bock. (And the first step to recovery?)


Toni said...

I gladly admit that I'm a chicken and avoid confrontation at all costs. I will even go so far as to only go down the empty aisles at the grocery store so that I don't annoy anyone as I squeeze past them.

Although on the home front, well now, that's a different story.

HEATHER said...

I saw your comment on Mrs. G's post about the homeschooling questionaire. Are you a member of
Homeschool Legal Defense Organization? This is just the kind of thing they frown on.

Misty said...

i get to balance on both sides of the fence and let me tell you, It's a dangerous feat.
See, I hate conflict... So I avoid it like mad.
Until I can't. Then my ruthless mouth gets the better of me. UGH

Ei said...

I hear that once you become accomplished at being assertive, it becomes positively addictive. Notice, it is still mythology for me. :)

Chickie Momma said...

I often find myself hiding behind my painfully shy childhood, and then bouncing to my newfound "grownup" assertiveness, however fleeting. It's quite akward, and sometimes quite silly, I imagine, but I'm telling you - learning some assertiveness in my "old age" has certainly improved quite a few things in my life. Especially the ability to say NO. Being assertive at home, however, is a skill I have perfected long ago. LOL

Agent K said...

way to grow...a small set.

right there with you my chicky friend.

hey...where is the homeschooling questionnaire?