December 22, 2020
Domi and I stood at opposite ends of the kitchen. Moe sat halfway between us tail wagging on the floor, oblivious to anything that wasn’t food. I wasn’t sure what to say. For weeks I’d been thinking about saying something, but the little voice in my head kept saying, “Chelsea, Domi is so busy, don’t bother him with this.”
Or something along the lines of “Chelsea you’re being ridiculous launching a podcast isn’t that big of a deal.” I had been feeling frustrated for a while. I always made sure we celebrated everyone in our family. I tried to make sure that all of my family members felt that each and every accomplishment regardless of size was recognized with a meal, or a drink, or a card, or at the very least a text message.
And lately, Domi had a lot of celebrations—all VERY much deserved, but I had started to feel resentful. I had also hit milestones in my career and yet they were going unnoticed. I didn’t know what to say though. I felt guilty and silly for feeling undercelebrated. I kept telling myself that my accomplishments weren’t really a big deal because if they were a big deal my family would know to celebrate them without my saying anything.
Then a thought occurred to me—my path is not a typical career path. So, maybe my family doesn’t even know what they should be celebrating or what is a big deal because I haven’t told them. And while I preach asking for what I need—I only tend to do it when it’s easy or convenient. I don’t like to do it when it may make the other person feel bad or guilty. But Domi and I are married and I knew he would want to know what was on my mind. I also could feel the passive aggression bubbling up inside me and I knew that no one likes seeing that side of me—especially me.
I stood in the kitchen knowing that this was my moment. I looked at Domi, who was busy working on his phone, and I put the large kitchen knife in my hand down. (I know I tend to gesture a lot when I talk and thought this might be an inopportune moment to have a large, sharp weapon in my hand.)
“Baba, I know you’re busy and I feel silly telling you this now, but I know if I don’t say something I will end up saying something I regret.” He immediately locked eyes with me. My husband is an incredibly active listener. We could all learn a thing or two from him about being a supportive partner…however, I digress.
“I’m feeling undercelebrated,” I said.
“My podcast is launching today and I’ve been trying to tell myself it’s not a big deal, but it is. I’ve worked really, really hard and I feel like no one cares. It’s just that we celebrate every time you pass a part of the CPA exam, and you do so deserve to be celebrated, but I feel like if we do that then I should get to be celebrated too.” I could see his heart sink in his eyes. One of the things I love most about my husband is that he never gets defensive. He listens and really hears and responds…unlike me…
“Oh my gosh Baby, I am so sorry,” he replied,
“I feel horrible. You are right. I have been so distracted studying and working, and that’s not an excuse, I know, but I’m so sorry. I will make this right. Of course, you deserve to be celebrated too, every milestone. Tonight, okay? I’ll put it together. We’ll call your parents and we’ll make it special, I promise. Oh my gosh, I feel horrible.”
My heart swelled. I felt horrible for making him feel horrible, but I knew we would both get past it. I didn’t want to run into this issue again, so I gave my family examples of my career milestones that I thought were worthy of celebration. Thankfully, my family is incredible and they filed away the list for future use and all got on board immediately.
I felt ridiculous and guilty saying anything at all because my family is beyond supportive. To an extent most people don’t experience.
I learned several things during this celebration realization:
1) Your feelings are valid even if they seem silly to others
2) Voicing your needs is even more important when it’s hard than when it’s easy and when you do ask for that you need more often than not you get access to exactly what it is you want
3) It’s okay to seek validation and even enjoy it as long as you don’t find it necessary to continue pursuing your dreams
4) You decide what is worth celebrating and let everyone else get on board with you (Not every celebration has to be huge, it can be small—a card, or an email, or a home-cooked dinner with the ones you love is sometimes all it takes, but you are worthy of being recognized for your accomplishments even if it requires asking people to recognize you.)
We always, always, always have to define and redefine our worth, and sometimes that means asking for what we need or saying something out loud to someone you love even if you think it’s silly. It’s not—if you’re feeling it, it’s there for a reason.
I love you, and I’m thinking about you and all of the celebrations coming our way. No matter what it is you’re celebrating—Happy day. XOXOX, CAMDW