"You totally deserve better than this," I said to a friend after she told me her beau had ditched her last minute to grab drinks with friends, ignoring the fact she had cooked him a gourmet dinner.
"You totally deserve better than this," I said to a friend when she rang me from her job, her spirit destroyed by a manager who was thorny and self-serving and most certainly a candidate for medication.
It's always easier to stick up for your friends and it has nothing to do with being biased. Wrong is wrong. It's just so much harder to decipher it when you're in the middle of things. It's like walking up to a piece of art, pressing your nose to the canvas, and surrendering the ability to see clearly.
This is why I spent a year tolerating a boss who withheld commission payouts, money that he openly acknowledged he owed me but conveniently failed to deposit in my account. This is why, embracing my mother's commentary, I signed up for Phen-Fen, liposcution and Weight Watchers. This is why I splurged on a $300 Nespresso machine for a man who only a month or so prior had called me a bitch. "I said that?" he asked with a chuckle when I mentioned it.
"Why is it so hard to just walk away from something that we know is bad for us?" I asked Leslie as we sat down for burgers.
"What would Yolanda do?" she replied, Yolanda being a cast member of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She is confident but not arrogant. She identifies what she desires and expects nothing less. Her husband adores her.
"Yolanda would prance around her ginormous Malibu mansion before strolling through her lemon grove."
"In her Hermes belt."
I know this sounds self-help-y but we often get what we think we deserve. Yolanda believes she deserves the best and, dammit, that woman gets it. And this isn't about being entitled. These days I don't even expect a man to hold the door for me, or when he does, I argue with him about it.
"It's okay," I'll say as I shoo him ahead of me, both hands tangled up with shopping bags from Publix. "Seriously, thanks though. This is why God gave me hips."
Yolanda would stand in front of the door waiting for someone to open it, being gracious and composed and appreciative as she strolls across the threshold.
It isn't easy changing how we act. Heck, it took me eight months to start sleeping on the other side of the bed. But I want to stop making excuses for another person's poor behavior that short-changes me. I want to stop accepting criticism that is neither constructive nor imperative to transforming me into a better person. And I want to stop tolerating and sometimes even rewarding behavior that qualifies as utter disrespect.
"You totally deserve better than this," I want to say to myself as I lift my chin, offer a soft smile, and walk away. After all, that is exactly what Yolanda would do.