Three Ways to Skin a Cat

6 Jan

Skinned-CatAs a child I was extremely quiet and introverted. So much so that one of my sisters jokes that she didn’t even know I existed until I turned 16. At some point growing up I must have learned to keep my head low, my mouth quiet and my presence undetected. I’m sure I was a parents dream. Unfortunately on the flip side this behavior also contributed to me being extremely sensitive, not taking up for myself and being the emotional punching bag for a lot of people. Friends, family and foe.

It would start with a comment here, a jab there or a “harmless joke” at my expense that I never addressed. I used to think that it was because I was afraid of conflict. I didn’t want to make anyone mad or hurt their feelings by telling them how much they hurt me with their comments, actions or insensitivity. So I just learned how to keep the peace. However, I recently learned that this had nothing to do with conflict. True, I did not want or enjoy conflict so I did go through great lengths to avoid any uncomfortable confrontations. But even years later, after I’ve learned to talk things out, trouble shoot and address problems BEFORE they became too big the problem still persists. I’d still find myself in a situation where a friend would say or do something that just make me feel “some kind of way”. And long after the conversation/situation was over, I’d still be thinking of what had transpired and trying to analyze why it bothered me or how I could address it. However, more often than not I never addressed it. But why?

The short answer is that I didn’t know how. Growing up and even now to this day, I have only witnessed people address problems in two ways. 1. They either don’t say anything and internalize it. Eventually making the perpetrator of whatever crime they feel was committed against them pay without them even knowing what they were paying for. OR 2. They take the tit for tat approach. You hurt me so I am going to hurt you and proceed to rip a person to shreds from the inside out. Being so sensitive and never wanting to do to others what I didn’t want done to me, I couldn’t imagine using a person’s vulnerabilities, weaknesses and/or secrets to hurt them. Those people, to me, were the worst criminals and I didn’t want to be that way. So to be honest, I took the former approach.

I’m sure plenty of my friends and families have wondered why I have sent them to voicemail, pretended not to receive text messages or became conveniently unavailable when/if they invited me to something. I was simply avoiding the problem until it was no longer a problem anymore. Instead of working through it I’d sooner prefer to get over it and then resume when I was ready to deal with them again like nothing ever happened.

Over the last few weeks, and few days actually, I’ve had the pleasure (not really) to deal with this issue face to face. On numerous occasions I’ve been approached by male friends of the opposite sex soliciting some sort of interaction with me that made me feel uncomfortable and was honestly really fucking inappropriate (being newly single is apparently as potent as a full moon). From harmless flirting that just crossed the line of being creepy, to sexual invitations that would make a hooker blush and other situations that defy just about every woman code ever written, I’ve heard them all.

Now, before I probably would have let it slide, laugh uncomfortably and make myself disappear for a few weeks until they’d forgotten their interest and I no longer felt threatened or uncomfortable. I couldn’t imagine being a bitch and telling any of them that the amount of drinks I’d have to have to have sex with them would kill me (lol..inside joke). But after thinking about it, I realize there is another way to deal with conflict. *gasp* I was looking at it from both extreme ends of the spectrum. Like a decision was either black or white. But there was some grey too! I could be an adult, be firm and honest and say how I feel without being a total asshole and let the other persons actions show if they should be allowed to stay in my life or not.

I mean, all this time I think what I was really worried about was that my “confrontations” would somehow compromise my relationships with people. If I told them how I really felt they would be angry and wouldn’t want to be friends, in a relationship or love me anymore. SMH. That is some sick shit, I know. What I failed to realize however, is that by being rude or offensive or crude or crossing the line that these people had already compromised the relationship. Me putting them in their place (firmly) and insisting they correct their behavior (nicely) was actually more beneficial to the relationship than harmful. (Light bulb moment). I was more concerned about hurting people who hurt me then they were to hurt me in the first place. My silence was really concession. “It’s okay to mistreat me. I may not like it, but I’m going to still like you and be really fucking nice and chipper.” *inserts Barbie leg down throat to gag with*

Lesson: So as the saying goes, there are two ways to skin a cat. But those ways actually kill the cat. The third way to skin that cat may take its fur but at least the little fucker is still alive. 

Another day. Another battle fought and won.

Sincerely,

The Mistress of All Things Fabulous

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