I hate to hear the phrase, “You can’t do that.” I’ve hated it since that show on Nickelodeon called, “You Can’t Do That On Television” and I hated it because they did it anyway. This is not me raging against The Man or anything. It’s just something that has always affected me in some way or another.
And then LOST came on. And John Locke hated when someone told him he couldn’t do something. Multiple episodes featured him chanting, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”
Now, I was never so angry that I yelled it, but it became more of a silent battle. Let me explain.
When I went to college at Ashland, I was still dating a boy from back home. He believed I could do anything; we just weren’t a good match. A few months after breaking up (and I’m not necessarily proud of this), I began dating one of his friends (their friendship had fallen apart upon our break-up) and he was a bit of a…I don’t know what to call him. He was a good guy, but he didn’t necessarily expect much out of me. When I wanted to quit college around Christmas time and make my living at Whirlpool, he said, “I didn’t think you’d finish college anyway.”
That did it. I was finishing college, and I was going to prove him wrong. And like college kind of makes you do for a lot of things, I outgrew him and had to walk away from our relationship.
Something similar happened in grad school in NC. I was fairly over it after the first year, and thought that I could make a living doing my own thing up in Ohio. But the boy I’d left behind in Ohio echoed my previous boyfriend. When I said, “I’m not sure grad school is for me,” he said, “I never expected you to finish anyway.”
And the thing is that when they said these things, they thought of it a victory for themselves. They thought, “Yay, she’s coming home.” “Yay, no more long distance.” “Yay, we can be together now.”
But they didn’t realize that their doubt in me spurred me to stay where I was and to finish what I started…in terms of school anyway. I’ve yet to officially “finish” a relationship with marriage and so forth.
Mike knows about this vice, and has tried to leverage it to get me to publish the book I wrote in grad school. “I knew you wouldn’t publish it. You wouldn’t be able to if you wanted to,” he says. But I know he doesn’t believe it. He doesn’t doubt me one bit. He believes I can do anything.
In other words, it doesn’t work when he tries to use it. It just makes me hunker down, intent on not publishing my book.
Wanna know why? I’ll tell you…tomorrow.