Stand Up Without the Guilt

Like a lot of women, I struggle with standing up for myself without being racked with anxiety and guilt afterwords. While I’m often proud of my trait of empathy, there are also times I admire the ability of people who aren’t as attuned to other’s emotions to just not give a damn. As I grow older, in some ways it feels as if I’ve put up with enough bull shit that it gets easier to stand up for myself without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings. Today I had an experience that shows that while I’m getting better with the standing up part, the whole not being consumed by anxiety and guilt afterwords still needs progress.

Every Tuesday I take Sissy to the local library. While their adult section is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you prefer non-fiction, they have a wonderful kids section with tinker toy stations that Sissy likes to play with. And, as a devote bookworm, I want to instill a love of reading and libraries in my kids.

Before I left for San Diego at the end of June, I gathered all the books we had checked out and put them in the night drop box of the library. When I got back the following week I was surprised to find that they said I had two books out. I insisted I’d checked them in, and they checked and found one but not both of them. They renewed the check out on the missing item and I went home to check, but I didn’t expect to find it. My kiddos really enjoyed the book so it was very much on my mind and I’m certain I gathered and returned it.

When I went back today they hadn’t found it. I was not wanting to pay a replacement fee. For one thing, they are ridiculously expensive. Sissy did tear apart a book a few months ago and I paid $30 to replace it! There’s no way that children’s book cost $30, so I was a bit upset about it, but since Sissy did destroy it I paid it. I was not wanting to pay a ridiculous replacement fee for a book I’m sure I returned.

I politely pointed out that there was another book I’d returned that hadn’t been checked in and asked if it was possible that the missing one hadn’t been checked in and had then been misplaced. We went back and forth a bit but when I stated I was upset they took it off my card.

I don’t want to stop going there, my daughter loves it so much and I want my children to have every encouragement to love libraries and read. And I value harmony and want to get along with everyone and don’t want conflict with the librarians. But I also don’t want to be a pushover and pay a steep fine for something I’m sure I returned.

Now I’m anxious about going back next week. I’m also nervous that I will find it as I clean the house or see that it fell in the crevasse of the van somewhere. If you read enough Elizabeth Loftus you’ll wonder if anything you remember is 100% accurate, so I can’t say for sure I turned it in, but I’m 95% sure I did! And I’d be embarrassed to find I’m wrong.

While I’m glad I’m at a point where I can keep my cool and advocate for myself, I just wish I could do more about the anxiety afterwords. But we’re all works in progress. I’m sure I’ll get there.

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