Sizzling Chicken Fajitas for "Two." 

For the last thirty-four years, whenever we go out for dinner at a Mexican Restaurant, my husband and I share a plate of Chicken Fajitas for "Two." The humongous platter of vegetables, chicken and side dishes are separated into equal portions to satisfy the visual appetite and simplify serving. I'm not writing to complain about portions or presentation. In fact, I'm not writing to complain at all. It was just over a year ago that the waitress came to take our traditional order and I boldly announce, "I don't like Fajitas and I have never liked Fajitas for Two." The look on the faces of my family is total bewilderment. I add to this befuddlement by stating, "I like Chili Rellenos." Their confusion is thoroughly justified because I don't believe they have "ever" seen me eat a Chili Rellenos. I only eat them when I'm out to lunch with my friends. All they know is that I've been eating Fajitas for "two" for over three decades and apparently I haven't liked it. The tipping of their heads and the rapid blinking of their eyes spoke to me loud and clear. They think I've lost it.

I'm a people pleaser. If there is such a thing; I'm too much of a people pleaser. It's obvious that resentment had built up in me to the point that I couldn't eat another "flipping" Fajita for Two. It's my husband who really enjoys Fajitas. Not me! When you order Fajitas for two, it's a better bargain than ordering Fajitas for One. This is the reason I ate "flipping" Fajitas. I've developed the opinion that you're not a "sincere" people pleaser if you're resentful about what you're doing. There was never any reason I couldn't order a Chili Rellenos and take the leftovers home. But oh no. Then I might have leftover Chili Rellanos. My husband doesn't care for Chili Rellanos. "What does this matter Annamarie; YOU can eat your own leftover Rellenos!" Martyrdom isn't a popular dish in this century and it certainly isn't a dish you want to eat in public.

I like to be a people pleaser. I like to "be" with people pleasers and co-exist. Pleasers are typically "giving and thoughtful" people. But a lot of us have overlooked the fact that we've got to please ourselves too. It relates directly to the directions we receive when taking off in an airplane. We are instructed to always put on our oxygen mask before assisting others. If we run out of oxygen and don't take care of ourselves, there won't be anyone to help our loved ones. I like this metaphor better than the example that was set for me as a child. While trying to teach me to be a gracious hostess of the 1960's, I was taught to always serve my guests first. I still hold hard and strong to this belief. However, I was also taught to let others win at games; take the smallest cookie on the plate so others have the big ones; and slouch a little because boys want to believe they are taller than you. If I didn't know that these teachings were coming from the most pure place in my parents hearts, I'd be concerned. It was with the best of intentions that these practices were shared.   In today's parenting, we now know that this practice can lead to low self-esteem. It's always best to teach our children to share and be an example of goodness and kindness; but not at the expense of their own needs. To be a gracious winner is equally important as being a gracious loser.....even more so. I believe that you aren't a true "giver" if you feel like a "loser." I wasn't being true to my family by pretending I was happy with the "flipping" Fajita. 

As a young girl, I always believed that my Mom liked the wings of a chicken best. I served her the wings when I was old enough to have my own home and entertained my parents for dinner. Being the perfect hostess, I wanted her to have her favorite piece. One day I finally asked, "Do you want the chicken wing?" I was stunned to hear her say, "I'd prefer a thigh."...........We had all come to falsely believe that Mom liked the wing best. She had become so practiced at serving the larger pieces of chicken to everyone else, she was labeled as "liking" the wings best.  I guess this daughter didn't fall too far from the chicken coop.

The next visit to the Mexican restaurant presented me with another "aha" moment. When the waitress asked for my order, I replied, "I'll have this chicken, tortilla and vegetable dish." My family laughs and says, "Mom, that's a Fajita!" 

I discovered that I was really craving "personal power" and not Chili Rellenos. I wanted the confidence to be able to order what "I" wanted. The fact that I eat "flipping" Fajitas for Two is now a family joke. Now and then I order my Chili Rellenos; but, I'll order it with a side dish of humble pie that's seasoned with extra-confidence and a smirk.

Please pour yourself a Margarita and share your comments with me.