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Plastic

Finding her voice

By Natasha CollazoPublished 27 days ago Updated 27 days ago 5 min read
Top Story - February 2024
38
Plastic
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

I would look in the mirror and all I could see was this plastic shell.

When I was a young girl, over time, I realized I had people pleased my way into or out of situations. At times, it would come off a bit flamboyant or overly enthusiastic in conversation, portraying a phony persona, all to make sure I didn’t disappoint someone. It’s not that my intentions were to ever forge, but to make sure I’m pleasing everyone around me.

Other times it was as poisonous as thinking I have to have intimate physical connections with every guy I went on a date with to earn a second one.

This was the old mindset. I used to feel, (especially with men), that I owed them something, even the well-rounded guy with good intentions. I felt like if he made me laugh enough, or paid enough on dinner, bought me flowers, and drinks, or spoiled me with gifts that I would have to somehow end the night by owing him a ‘reward’ and usually that was by offering sexual favor, because in my mind, guys don’t want anything else, right?

There have been times if I let a man walk me up to my apartment I felt imminent pressure to invite him in, afraid that if I said no, I’ll somehow hurt his feelings.

Those same feelings of people pleasing then move onto the kissing phase where you can guess where that leads.

These are the real and most ludicrous thoughts of a woman who has somehow misplaced the simple power of her voice. Not that I didn’t think I was valuable, but that as a woman I had not tapped into the power that my own voice held. My own individuality.

Being a mannequin sucks, it’s heavy and hollow at the same time.

I soon learned that just because I had a wonderful time with a man, that did not mean that I have to give him special privileges. A simple thank you, would and SHOULD have sufficed.

This is the thinking we as people pleasers, men and women, often times think, when misplacing our voice. I say misplacing because it was always there, just never truly discovered until reaching maturity.

People pleasing bleeds onto others by giving them a level of permission to access everything about me.

As I got older, I began to find my voice, by finding self awareness behind why I do the things that I do. Though, I have not mastered it in whole, I have developed the skills in knowing the difference of what is imperil to my identity.

Saying no without having to explain why, is one of the many habits I am still working on til’ this day, but I know enough about the differences of these actions even if they are still difficult.

In my current womanhood, I have vowed to remain abstinent and wait for the right guy, but I still find myself people pleasing at 35 years old in similar ways, not necessarily involving intimacy.

When men ask me on dates, I either do some form of ‘excuse making’ of why I can not date them, or that I am always way too busy instead of facing the reality of possibly rejecting someone. So, in my experience a person can tend to tarry on longer than I expected. I don’t seem to give away the big yellow sign that screams “ I’m not interested!”

The black and white yes or no which I struggle with giving because I can’t stomach the thought of making someone feel rejected.

I think I’m pretty cognitive of what rejection feels like all too well, that may be why I fear to inflict it on another.

Either way, self awareness is found when I dissect the heart matter of my past choices.

The voice that was lost, screamed from a distance for many years. Waiting to be heard:

“No I don’t want to kiss you”

“No I don’t want you to drive”

“No I don’t want you to walk me to my door”

“No I don’t want to attend the party”

“No I don’t want to be more than friends”

“No I don’t want to cover your shift”

“No I don’t want to text back”

“No I don’t want to drink”

“No I don’t want to date him because everybody thinks I should”

“No, I don’t have to tell you why”

I have struggled with the thought if I had found this voice sooner, who could I have influenced for the better, or who did I influence poorly without the access to my voice? I picture the image of Ariel when Ursula trapped her voice in her necklace.

This feeling of arriving late to life on some of these things can compel me to feel like I need to make up for lost time. I’m years behind in the discovery of certain things about myself.

But isn’t that the case for everyone in some aspect?

Someone recently reminded me, that we are learning things at the right time that we’re supposed to learn them. It’s never late, but right on time when we find the voice we’ve misplaced all these years.

Finding my voice furnished me with flesh and bone, and gifted a pulse in my chest.

*****************************************

This is an entry to the misplaced fiction challenge : a mannequin with a voice, was inspired by the idea of how far people pleasing can go.

Young AdultStream of ConsciousnessPsychological
38

About the Creator

Natasha Collazo

Werewolf Writer

I get inspired at the mid of night

Stock market by day, Writer by night.

Inquiries: [email protected]

Do all things in love

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (21)

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  • Anna 13 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳

  • Naveed 20 days ago

    Marvelous work! Keep it going—congrats!

  • Well written ‘ a mannequin with a voice, was inspired by the idea of how far people pleasing can go.’ Very clever misplaced, story.

  • Mattie :)25 days ago

    Really great piece, Natasha. Congrats on TS.

  • Sahib ali25 days ago

    Congrats on top story😍

  • Gerald Holmes25 days ago

    First, congrats on a very well deserved Top Story. This is so well said and written, The flow of your writing just feels so natural to me. I felt like we were sitting having a conversation over coffee. A couple of lines really struck me me deep. "“No, I don’t have to tell you why” and the last line was perfect. You have a new subscriber!

  • Rachel Deeming25 days ago

    People pleasing. It took me years to realise you can't live your life making other people happy to the detriment of yours. I like the growth in this story and that last line is just perfect.

  • Kodah25 days ago

    💖Congrats on top story! 💖

  • Naomi Gold26 days ago

    I love the surreal quality of this… how you’re talking about a mannequin, while at the same time totally not, because this is a story many living, breathing women resonate with. We’re taught from the time we’re small children to be caretakers, be people pleasers, be “a lady” and graciously accept unwanted attention, and to do all that with a smile. Do it long enough, and you feel more like an object than an autonomous being. Bravo, and congrats on your Top Story! 🥂

  • LC Minniti26 days ago

    I love this! A misplaced voice and finding it. Fantastic. And as a fellow people pleaser (in remission, kinda), I feel this way too deeply. Well done!

  • JBaz26 days ago

    As a father with a daughter I applaud your awakening. Why we think we owe or need to please others when it makes us uncomfortable is because that is how most of us were brought up. 35 is not to old to realize this. It is perfect. Congratulations (And no need to reply if you don't feel like it :) )

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Cathy holmes26 days ago

    This is really, really good. Love this line "Someone recently reminded me, that we are learning things at the right time that we’re supposed to learn them. It’s never late, but right on time when we find the voice we’ve misplaced all these years." Congrats on the TS.

  • Real Poetic26 days ago

    Beautifully written. Congrats! 🎉

  • Shirley Belk26 days ago

    Natasha, this was so intimate and truthful...so courageous of you to share. I love that you are brave enough and loving enough to do this because I'm sure it's going to help so many others to reflect on their lives and life responses. Bravo to you!!

  • A beautiful lesson at a time when the world could desperately use it. Well done, Natasha!

  • "The black and white yes or no which I struggle with giving because I can’t stomach the thought of making someone feel rejected." This was soooo relatable! It felt like you wrote this whole story about me! I'm a pathological people pleaser who has trouble saying no because I know how rejection feels and don't want people to feel rejected by me! Gosh, if I was a story, this would be me!

  • J27 days ago

    Too relatable!

  • Mother Combs27 days ago

    💙

  • Kendall Defoe 27 days ago

    This was powerful and insightful. Very creepy what we do to ourselves to please others...

  • Having found your voice, never fear to use it. If someone is hurt by it, that's on them, not on you. Kindness is one thing, but pretending just because someone else wants love (or just a little action) should never be foisted on another.

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