Respect

Back in high school, in my immaturity and innocence about life, I never could place the feelings that I had in certain situations.  I realized by the end of my second year of college that I demanded respect.  I didn’t need agreement or compatible ideas, but I needed respect.

I was in a relationship that ended poorly.  I was heartbroken at the time because he allowed his parents to believe things that were far from the truth.  I was a good girl.  I didn’t drink.  I didn’t do drugs.  I was proud of that fact.  My brother had gotten into drugs in high school and I wanted nothing to do with mind-altering substances.  I had a good group of friends that felt the same.  In college I found another group that didn’t feel the need to drink to have a good time.  I also found someone who I thought respected me.  We dated.  It was painful when it ended because I didn’t understand how he could believe (or go along with) his mother’s opinions of me when he KNEW me.  It was a hard breakup to say the least.  My friends were pretty supportive of my perspective as they knew me and  didn’t really understand the backlash either.  It was over a year later that I realized that those who I though were my real friends were more willing to compromise the situation than stand up for me.  That was a painful realization for me.  I vividly remember sitting on my porch crying because I couldn’t fathom how these people who knew and “supported” me, would go along with those who were out to slander me.  (I don’t say slander lightly.  I was “evil”.  I “ruined” their son.  I was a bad influence even though I was not the one encouraging him to drink and be in public while drink/drunk.  I was the one who brought him down.)  It took everything in my barely 19-year-old self to hold it together.  I soon found peace within myself and was happy and truly content to be on my own, working, and going to school… And then T came back into my life.  It’s crazy how life does that.

Respect.  I demand it.  If I have a problem that I feel needs to be dealt with, I wait until I have my thoughts clear in my own mind, and then I talk.  I have the tendency to talk things to death.  But I have to understand.  I have to make sense out of what someone is telling me.  I must talk about it.  Especially with those I care about.  (T may argue with this concept, but I feel confident in our relationship that we can and will overcome any obstacle in our way, so sometimes I don’t talk when I should.)

Because of those experiences in high school and college, I guard my heart against pain at all cost.  I don’t let people in unless I am confident in that relationship.  This process may take years, but once you are in my heart…well it’s hard to get banned.

I rarely cry.  Even if I feel like it would be a good thing, I usually can’t cry.  This past Wednesday?  I sobbed.  I closed my bedroom door and I sobbed.  This will probably be news to T when he reads this. (I also compartmentalize emotions so they don’t interfere where they don’t belong.)  It takes a lot for me to cry.  But this week, I did it.  I did twice.  I always feel weak when I cry… I hate feeling like I am weak.  Even though I know I have the right to feel my emotions and let them be expressed as they need to be.

I have a complex about how I am perceived as a woman.  I don’t want people to think of me as a “weak woman”; someone who is guided by her emotions.  But you know what? Sometimes I am.

Respect…it’s something I value.  It’s something I expect.

I have a hard time dealing with the feeling that I’m not being treated with the respect I know I deserve…but I’m also scared of the consequences of speaking my mind.  I don’t like to rock the boat.  Sometimes the pain in my heart is too overwhelming and shocking to hold in.  Sometimes the pain is too great to acknowledge and cope with.  So that leaves me in a state of limbo.  Does conversation make it better?  Does airing the “dirty laundry” make it better?  Or does it cause more chaos?

I question myself sometimes.  I question whether my feelings are valid to be voiced.  I question whether I will be respected after I speak my mind.  I question if speaking my mind makes me unlovable to those who I care for the most.  I question whether my voice NEEDS to be heard.

And then I realize that I am important.  My perception is important.  My opinion is important.  If I am going to surround myself with people, those people who I let into my heart…I should be honest with them so they continue to know my heart and know my feelings, so they can continue to know the real me.

It’s hard to be vulnerable.  It’s hard to let people in.  But sometimes the tears must fall.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Curtis on September 19, 2009 at 3:36 am

    ok so I looked up the word respect in several laguages expecting to find some enlightenment to breaking the definition down, I figured this would give me a great platform to work this post from…. but it all pretty much means the same, I bet my philosophy teachers would find an argument here but thats another story…those that know me understand my postion on philosophy.

    So… I care deeply for someone, she smart intelligent, creative and an exceptional mother and a lot of fun to have in your life. I screwed up, not intentionally I might add, but she heard things from reliable sources that lead her to believe that I had led her trust in me astray. This wasn’t the case …. well the reliable sources were….. reliable,,, but the problem is they showed two sides of a different coin, the comments were truthful but not in similar context. I understand respect and live by it’s codex but more important to me is integrity. If you have friends with integrity you would not have had those questions,if you had a boyfriend with integrity those issues never would have come up on your previous post. Integrity is what makes a man a man, and I like to think of myself as such.

    So i see this women that I respect and belive to have integrity. I said things that again were truthful but when communicated back to the source were placed out of context, she now distrust me because of that occurance, which is tragic from my perspective becuase she has learned to trust so rarley, and shes such a neat person to know. I feel that if she were to pull back now it would be a huge loss not only to herself but to those around her becuase she has so much to offer. I am sincerely sorry for what happened and I feel that you need to know that I love you and care for you deeply. What has happened is unfortunate but I feel compelled to comment on this (bad spelling and all).. and urge you to look forward from your previous experiences to those who are friends today. I think you might find a different caliber of people surrounding you now, stay with me through this, it will be worth it in the end. Love C

  2. You deserve respect and you ARE important. Showing your emotions do not make you weak, it makes you HUMAN.

    The older I get, the less problem I have speaking my mind. Some things just need to be said. If people don’t respect you after they have been said, maybe they aren’t meant to be in your life.

    Love you, hooker!

  3. I have to agree with you. Can I give you an AMEN, hooker? Respect is something I demand. I can put up with a lot bullshit from people, but lack of respect is not one of them.

    I’m so sorry you had reason to cry this week. I’m not easily provoked into crying either (except when I watch the Biggest Loser the other night, and felt like a stupid crying MORON), so when it happens, I tend to get more mad than anything. I hope things right themselves for you. I really do.

    You are special, important, strong, smart, and funny as hell. Oh, you’re also one of my favorite hookers, too.

  4. I love you and RESPECT you. Thanks for being such on honest, genuine person. When you visit, I remember how much I miss you, because you always keep me grounded. It seems like you are so focused on what’s really important (family, friends, happiness, respect), and it reminds me that there are a lot of things I worry about that aren’t important at all. And you also remind me that I’m not crazy! Thanks for your friendship.

  5. Posted by Mary at Musingsofthesixties on September 20, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I’ve read your post twice and thought about it a lot more than that. I’m so sorry for your pain. Try to remember that people say things and by the time their words get passed along and slightly skewed and then taken out of context, they become almost unrecognizable from the original comment

    I’m like you as far as talking about an issue. On some level I believe that if you don’t get to the bottom of the issue, it will lay there and fester and always be a sore spot. You SHOULD cry when you’re hurt. You SHOULD voice your opinions and try hard to understand another’s perspective. You SHOULD be honest and your perspective IS important. After you’ve tried everything, do like you did when you were 19. Find peace knowing you took the high road and tried everything. That’s all you can do.

  6. […] get me wrong.   2009 wasn’t a never-ending bed of roses.  There were the downs I wrote about and some that I didn’t.  I spent a lot of time with my family.  T bought me a […]

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