My recent post about Resilience must have inadvertently hit a nerve, because I have received much feedback about it, some publicly, but mostly privately. The great majority of the feedback I received was in agreement, with people having witnessed similar situations on social media getting blown out of all proportion. Many said they felt more comfortable having a private discussion because of this very phenomenon, rather than posting publicly, which is fine with me. In fact, I found myself replying with similar responses so often that I finally decided to go ahead and do a separate post.
First, I would like to clarify that my Resilience post was not intended to be a comprehensive tome on the topic; like most topics, resilience cannot even be adequately covered in several books, and therefore it certainly cannot be comprehensively covered in single blog post. It, like almost everything in life, is not a cut-and-dried or one-size-fits-all topic.
My main point with the Resilience post was to put forth the concept that we don’t have to respond with feelings of self-doubt/insecurity/hopelessness/depression/anger/etc. to someone else’s opinions ~ or to their tone. The choice of how to respond to any situation is always within our power.
Humans are not vending machines where if you put in some change and push a button, you’ll automatically get a bag of chips. Even when our buttons get pushed, we can learn to pause between the stimulus and the response long enough to choose how we want to respond.
As just a few examples, depending on the situation, we can choose to walk away and ignore what’s happening; or to stand our ground and argue our point; or to take a break and return to the situation later when we are feeling calmer; or to write our very own blog post about the topic to make sure our side is heard; or to do a collage or art project to deal with the feelings; or to journal about it; or to do some sort of self-care to calm ourselves (such as taking a walk, taking a bath, calling a friend, etc.).
Of course, I don’t mean to imply that it is ever simple to stop automatic reactions, or that it is easy to refrain from jumping into the fray in the heat of the moment. I also don’t mean to imply that the reasons behind our initial responses are always simple or clear-cut.
But I have noticed that there are often some variations of Ellis’s irrational beliefs behind most knee-jerk overreactions. Finding out whether any of these beliefs are behind our feelings is a good first step to starting to find our own power.
Again, my main point is that ultimately, all of our responses are within our own control, which leads me to the second part of the feedback that I wanted to respond to:
An interesting, repetitive refrain of the feedback I received is the thought that my spouse, partner and all-around sweetiepie, Dirt, does indeed upset people with both the content and the tone of her writing…and therefore, some said they feel that it is inevitable to be upset by both her content and her tone.
There is no doubt whatsoever that Dirt is a lightning-rod of intense controversy. Dirt has a no-holds-barred style that leads to both copious cursing and death threats on a regular basis. She is direct and unapologetic in her communication, and she doesn’t back down, no matter what. To say she is passionate about her cause would be a huge understatement; it would be like saying the entire vast universe is “kind of large“.
So, yes, I admit that Dirt does have a tendency to leave a plethora of pissed-off people in her wake.
Reading between the lines, I also think the implication of some feedback was that I, as her wife, should perhaps influence her to “tone it down“, both in the content of her work and in the tone of her communication…to be a sort of “Femme-over-troubled-waters” between Dirt and the rest of the world. The idea seemed to be that I could, and should, mediate her opinions and communication in order to water her message down to make it more palatable for polite consumption.
Well, that will never happen and I will tell you why: I fell in love with her for exactly the way she is. I believe in her and in her cause. I am not some starry-eyed schoolgirl (although she does make me feel that way!); I am a middle-aged professional woman with a Ph.D. and lots of opinions of my own, who shares a remarkably compatible degree of passion and stubbornness.
I support (and agree with) her and her cause completely, and she supports me and my passions completely. I would never want her to change, much less ask her to.
Love, to me, is not falling for someone…and then hoping that she will change; it is loving her, completely and realistically, for exactly who she is. In my opinion, the greatest gift we can give our partner is whole-hearted, complete acceptance and support.
To ask her to change her writing or her tone would be asking her to weaken her message. What prompted the original altercation that I described in my original post on Resilience was the necessity of the accuracy of language. Like a vampire, political correctness drains language of all meaning to the point of lifelessness.
Dirt and I communicate very differently, but if you pay attention, you will see that our message is the same.
Plus, I truly feel the same principles of self-responsibility for our reactions that I wrote about above and in my original Resilience post still apply, no matter how much Dirt’s writing pushes people’s buttons.
Finally, I learned that there are still apparently many misconceptions about Butch/Femme relationships ~ so very, very many that it will have to be a completely separate post ~ but I want to end this post with just a brief summary:
Butch/Femme relationships are not a mimicry of heterosexual dynamics. Dirt and I are both women who love and respect each other as equals; and therefore, we don’t have a hierarchy of power, nor the need to communicate via manipulation like Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.
So if you have something to say to Dirt, please say it to Dirt. She’s a big girl and I promise she can handle it.
And if you have something to say to me, by all means, please reach out anytime. I promise I will always welcome your thoughts.