What’s your most prized possession? GO!
My most cherished possession is my peace of mind.
The things I was tempted to list
- My great-grandmother’s rosary that survived the fire which took her life.
- My pets (legally, they are possessions.)
- My diploma from the School of Social Work (I don’t even know where it is.)
- My first baby doll “Mary” who was created from a piece of cloth and a twist of yarn in 1971. She’s also in her original cradle which was actually a planter.
But when I think about something that truly matters to me, I’m conscious that my peace of mind has been shattered of late and mostly due to the strange reappearance of men who have threatened me in some way. I was strangely unnerved by the fact that they just keep popping up and seemingly in tandem even though they have no connection to one another.
It is sort of hard to describe without disclosing too many details about their identities, but I’ve been struggling with the fact that I seem to attract intrusive, controlling and threatening people who are outwardly allies and good guys. It feels like it is me and that is what shatters my peace of mind most of all. If I told you who they are and what they’ve done, I’m sure you wouldn’t believe me. I’m tempted to say “but I have proof!” (which I do) but I shouldn’t have to. I should count on you believing me. But I assume you think I’m paranoid as I am often accused of being.
You might think “Oh, you are a blogger what do you expect?” and you are probably right to some extent – not because I’m a lesbian per se, but because I am a woman who expressed her opinion and it is an opinion that is not often embraced by men. And men are taught to respond to challenges by using aggression, deflection and persistence.
Sometimes my opinions is “I don’t want to have contact with you” which is one of the biggest sins of all, especially by those who feel they are somehow entitled to explanations or that it is my responsibility to help them deal with hurt feelings or confusion. It is not. I can set a boundary with no explanation. I can do that and as long as I’m not a jerk or an ass about it (mean-spirited), I’m good. Setting the boundary with no explanation is not in and of itself being a jerk.
And to be honest, there is usually a lot of explanation to be found if the person is willing to truly revisit their own behavior and conduct. Most people are not. That’s sort of what creates the situation in the first place, right?
Ironically, I’m not describing a lot of people who openly argue with me and challenge me and even name-call me. They are sometimes being jagoffs, but I don’t feel threatened by them, just irritated. This is a different experience. It is when someone escalates from name-calling to an “overly focused degree of attention” to me. While I do not like or appreciate the feeling of being managed or dealt with, that is not the same thing as someone trying to get into my head or trying to save me. Not at all.
So part of the shattered peace of mind is the fact that I am going to run into these men and I am not confident that they will conduct themselves decently. I find myself avoiding certain spaces and situations because I don’t want there to be a scene or bad vibes or any of that. And that sucks. A few weeks ago, I attended an event where there was a possibility one of these men might attend because a loved one was involved in the event. I didn’t really think about it once I realized he wasn’t there, but the loved one never showed up. So I felt guilty and I then APOLOGIZED to the event organizer. For existing? For being present? For supporting an event?
What? That’s not okay. I’m clearly running on empty if I feel compelled to do that. So I gotta find some new techniques to reclaim my peace of mind. These men aren’t going anywhere. If I want to go anywhere, I need to be able to cope with the fact that they exist and might be present and could in fact fall back into their previous behavior.
So while I’d love to have a community wide discussion on progressive men who harass women, that’s not going to happen. And I have zero expectation that any of the men involved in my situations would ever take responsibility and apologize or try to repair the harm they caused. One of them even posted comments on this blog exacerbating the original situation, but under a fake name – they didn’t realize their IP address was attached to the comment so I instantly knew it was them. Again, I have the proof but what good does it do me other than to confirm, yes they are a fucking asshole? But they are believed. All I have is proof that they won’t stop.
It is helpful in a sad way that when I talk with other women, they have these stories, too. Our degrees of resiliency vary, but the fact that there are a lot of men who use controlling behaviors to engage women reduces my sense that it is somehow my fault.
I’m going back to the basics. Meditation, relaxation techniques. I made a commitment to read a book or magazine, not electronic, at least 30 minutes a day. Music doesn’t work for me because my mind free floats to these scenarios. Listening to podcasts works because the words grab my attention and force me to not think about the other.
How do you build up or maintain your peace of mind?