Yep. That’s me. 100 pounds ago. 18 or 19 years ago. I was ready to graduate high school and attend a very prestigious community college we called Harvard on the Hill aka Moorpark College.
Don’t believe that was me? Here’s more proof of my once thin and illustrious childhood.
I was a 90s kid down to the socks and sandals to flannel. Look at those jean shorts. They were a thing. A real thing.
How about my younger days, you ask.
I used to fight with my cousins in Van Nuys, took embarrassing Easter pics, and have about 10 years of pics with my brother. I was raised in a normal home from 1981-1990. Then my parents got divorced and the reality of life bit open the bubble I lived in.
Suddenly, when the parents are split, they have different agendas and goals for me. My dad wanted me to be a 35 year old man at 10 and my mom wanted me to be a kid. That caused me to be a very responsible jokester. Let me make this clear, being the funny kid and the square is really weird to most people. It produced a very odd response to me.
I was never in trouble but always disappointing people. I worked hard in school but got C’s. I practiced hard in sports but got nowhere in them. I was well liked but not invited to a lot of things. I just was there. And that’s a very invisible place to be. Not popular. Not unpopular. Respected but not loved. Passed over but not hated. Not forgotten but never remembered. I stood out in no way.
But always people pleasing.
People pleasing became my goal. I just wanted to hear good job. My dad wasn’t one, my mom very much one.
The problem with male people pleasers is that they might make people happy in the moment, but they are forgotten quickly. They didn’t start the problem. They didn’t really solve it. They got the band aid. They are the shoulder to cry on. They fix something for a day. So to continue being seen as valuable, they never rock the boat and keep fixing a problem instead of facing the person straight on to encourage them to fix it themselves.
People pleasers are the drug that keep people addicted to not making bigger changes and people pleasers see immeadiate, but not long lasting gratitude, as a drug to keep them going. It’s a vicious cycle.
It starts at childhood. Parents who need you to be a certain way cause you to either try to please or rebel.
I pleased. My brother did not.
This goes deeper into life.
I played sports I didn’t want to play. I took classes I wasn’t excited about. I tried to play hero to people who needed a greater savior than me. An honors kid who didn’t want to do homework.
Instead of putting a little selfishness into my life, I made life about everyone else. And anyone who lets you change your career or college goals or anything for them, are not the people who show loyalty down the road.
In college I wanted to be a filmmaker. No one really saw that as a respectable career. They wanted me to be a teacher. I’m an excellent teacher. The problem is that I hate being excellent in something I never really believed was my calling. You might think it is, but thoughts don’t fill the gaps of my desires.
I thought I was making everyone else happy. But I can’t do that. Happiness is between you and God. I can’t play that role. Choosing to build a life that will make other people happy is a one way ticket to depression and disaster.
When I look back on life I can tell you, I wish I never went to college. I wish I never got into debt. I wish I never coached wrestling. I wish I never became a teacher. If anything, I wish I did the opposite.
In 1999, I wish I would have gotten an AA in graphic design from Moorpark JC. I wish I would have stayed at Costco. I wish I would have just lifted weights, learned guitar, and gotten some tattoos. I wish I would have found a job I could just leave at the end and not be in dealing with the emotional baggage of upset students, teachers, administrators, etc.
I wish I would have stayed fit and not gotten diabetes. I wish I would have wrestled in junior college instead of coaching while in college. I wish I would have played music and just lived a life lacking in the stresses I’ve had fogging my life since adulthood started. In my attempt to grow up fast, I never became a real adult. I’m a person doing an impression of an adult.
In the end...as a people pleaser...I wish I would have been more of a Paul pleaser.
I’m not saying much good came out of the last 18-19 years. But when I look at the cycles in my life, they come from me trying to please someone else instead of thinking of my own sanity and time.
And as I sit in my studio apartment in the valley, I realize that the 36 year old Paul who should have done the alternative life would probably be in the same boat without giving up so much of himself in the process. Or worse...he’d be much better off.
Paul Douglas Moomjean Blog's About What's on His Mind
Blogging allows for me to rant when there is no stage in the moment to talk about what's important and/or funny to me.