I Got it Right the Second Time Around or I Found Your Noses, They Were In My Business, Again, Butt Out

A few days ago I had an incident by the downtown library. I was on my bike, but stopped at a red light. Two females were on the sidewalk, after coming out of the library, walking towards me. One of them was yelling about me, an insulting comment. I didn’t want them to come near me so I looked back at them to let them know I heard them and didn’t like the way they were acting and that I didn’t want them coming nearer to me. I will point out that they could have gone in any other direction, but chose to wait more than twenty feet away from the curb for the light to change and for me to bike away. I think I communicated what I wanted in that one look.

One stopped and grabbed the other female and said don’t go any further. And then she repeated her insult to me, blankety blank biker. The blankety blank was a slur about a body part, apparently they both thought they had a right to judge and insult and bully me. They believed that someone has to be tiny in order to be a bicycle rider! What incredible misogynists and body haters they were.

I love biking and I love the freedom and independence that it provides. Nothing else matters when it comes to biking but my own inclination and joy. I won’t be doing less biking because of any haters, I love my body, no one else gets to tell me what to do and how to think, act, and feel, and how much to love my body. Like what they think, believe, and say has any effect on me, how I live my life, my self-esteem, my self love, and my body love. It doesn’t. At this point in my life I can confidently say, it won’t ever.

As a consequence of their behavior and beliefs they mean nothing to me. They will never mean anything to me. I will never love them. I will never be their friends. Their losses. They might not ever know how big a loss it is to lose me, but I know. I am wonderful. I am a great person. I have tons of great qualities and I love people and care about them. But I will never care about them. They will never have me in their lives.

As the saying goes haters gotta hate. And squeaky wheels gotta squeak. That doesn’t mean I am going to listen to haters spewing hate at me or squeaky wheels squeaking at me. Those two hate-filled haters sure were entertaining themselves and they sure were toxic.

The light changed to green and I biked away. I didn’t give them any words and I was proud of that. But as I biked away I gave them the middle finger and I know they saw it and knew it was meant for them by the hooting and yelling they did right after they saw it. They appeared shocked and amazed that someone would not stand there, be silent and endure their abuse.

I biked down the road and then decided to take myself out to supper, because I love me and because I deserve it. I had a great time and had a great meal.

In reflecting on this incident I have to say I wished that I had not engaged with them, by looks or in any way. But I was not going to bike blocks out of my way, I told myself, and they can stay away from me. I think my look gave them that message loud and clear. And I think that I intimidated them and that is why they continued being loud, even though they knew that they should respect my space and not come near me. Like how dare I not care about them, their opinions, or how they were acting. And I don’t.

I would have preferred to not give others a hard stare or not to lose my temper and give the finger to someone. I don’t like behaving badly, even in minor ways. I like being good and kind all the time, even though I know that I can’t always be good and kind when interacting with others. When being yelled at and bullied, and called names I can make the best choice for myself, while trying to behave as good as possible. Having good boundaries sometimes precludes having a tender heart, being good and kind to all others. Practicing good boundaries is a good thing.

I would have preferred to ignore them and ignore what they were saying and to ignore their existences. It’s a bizarre thing but I was thinking how I would like to have another incident in order to do it right the second time. Let this be a cautionary tale to all of you, be careful what you wish for. Here is the bizarrest thing! I saw the same two awful young females a few days after the first incident! I am not kidding, the same two!

I was on a bus going down the same street, right by the library. They must have got on the bus at the library stop and sat down, but I wasn’t paying attention. 🙂 Freaking hilarious. When all of a sudden I hear, very softly, the same voice saying, I can’t believe it, it’s the same blankety blank biker. It was said in a way that sounded like she couldn’t believe that they hadn’t driven me off the streets, hiding in my apartment, ashamed of myself, my body, and in fear of being abused in the future. Didn’t happen. Not going to happen.

This is the bizarrest thing, I don’t normally have other women saying hateful things to me, when I am on the bus, in the library or stores, on my bike, walking into a building. I am flabbergasted, mostly because I am at a place in my life where the opinions and words of others that are hateful don’t mean one single thing to me. I have a good self esteem and I accept and love my body. I’ve done a lot of good and hard work on healing and they don’t even register a tiny blip on any of these areas in my life. They are pathetic and cruel.

My resolution had been to give nothing back to someone who bullied and verbally abused me. Cesare Millan, The Dog Whisperer, who I love so so much, teaches something fabulous, that I love very much, and had been trying to do myself for several years before learning about his technique; when around people who’s energy is hyper, mean, inappropriate, scary, etc, is to step outside of their energy field, physically and metaphysically, and not interact with them, to resolve not to take part in their energy.

So I gave them nothing. I didn’t look at them, I didn’t give them any hand signals, I didn’t acknowledge their existence. Neither of them said anything else about me.

I stayed on the bus and a few stops later, where I wanted to go, I got off the bus. I got off the bus and I went to Target and had a good time shopping, bought something extra special just for me, and then went home.

Being

What I have learned that has been the most transformative, as a survivor and while working on healing from child sexual abuse, is:

Being.

I’ve tried hundreds of things during my process of healing from childhood abuse and this is the one thing that works the best for me; being calm and assertive.

I’ve tried meditating. I’ve tried cognitive therapy. I’ve tried Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I’ve tried over a decade of therapy. I’ve tried refuting the false cognitive beliefs, which was helpful, but not much. I’ve tried increasing my self-love and eliminating self-loathing and reducing self-hatred and that was good, but I always believed that I had to have a reason to love myself and really had trouble finding  one. I would remind myself that other inners in the multiple system all loved me and that they loved me for a reason. Even after all that I was still being bullied and emotionally abused by bullies and abusers almost each time that I went out in public. As a consequence I never felt safe. Safety was an important element to healing.

What I ended up with was a long list of things that didn’t work, a long list of things that mostly didn’t work and a long list of things that triggered me and made things worse. I guess this was a good thing, because it helped me to look elsewhere with an eye to changing things around to suit me and our multiple system. If something doesn’t fit, no shame should be attached, and I should feel free to learn my valuable lesson and move on to trying something else.

What I learned from therapy and from all the things that I tried that were not very effective, helpful or healing was:

The mindset that you had to work from the inner experience of self outward. All that assault on the inner self and my personal beliefs was very bruising. I didn’t feel healed from it, more like beleaguered.

What I’ve found the most helpful, healing and transformative has been exactly the opposite.

What I’ve learned is that I can figure out what is best for me; that I am the best person to do that. What I have learned is that my mind and my heart, my self and selves, that together we can make the best decisions about life and healing and that other ideas are only a suggestion, a stepping stone to what works best for me, for us.

I had heard of the fake it till you make it philosophy. I didn’t find that easy, firstly you are faking something, not being, not doing, just faking. One of the hallmarks of my life is a strong desire to live a life of integrity, honesty, and my own truth. So faking of any kind did not sit well with my soul or us. I didn’t think that it felt right to other survivors either.

What has worked for me is:

Being.

I got this idea from Ceasar Millan, The Dog Whisperer. I know I have written about this process a lot on the blog. For me it has been the key. I would start on the bike rides with doggie with the plan of being calm and assertive. Each time a challenge came along, a person, another dog, a squirrel, a car driving too close or too fast; I would feel my fear spike. I would get off the bike, get the doggie sitting down and obeying me and then calm down once again.

Calm and assertive was not a place I found within me. It was a state of mind that I presented to my mind and my body. It wasn’t something that I had to meditate into. It wasn’t something that I spent a lot of time or money on, it was something that I did by myself and for myself. It was something that I did. It wasn’t something that I wore, it was something that I put into my mind and into my body, into all my cells, I think something I did with the force of my will. Something that changed my energy, my vibe. It didn’t have anything to do with how much I loved myself or how much I hated myself or how someone else was treated me or loved me or didn’t love me. Sometimes it didn’t last long, a block or two. Then I got the opportunity to do it again; over and over.

At first I only did it while I was on the bike rides with doggie. And then I found myself doing it more and more in my daily life, even at times doing calm and assertive when I wasn’t thinking about it. What I figured out was that after a while it was easier and that after doing calm and assertive for a while my body and mind would start doing it all by itself, they must liked being in that state of mind. I started seeing myself speak assertively back to others without thinking about it. I’m sure that others who were not used to me speaking up like that didn’t like it or appreciate it, but really I believed they would have to just get used to it.

What I’ve found is that I do calm and assertive a lot. It has helped increase my self-esteem and self-love. The other way of increasing those didn’t work well or much for me, so I am tremendously happy that I have found another way of working on them by being.

What I’ve learned is that all of us are different and things that work for someone else might not work for another. There is no shame in that. We all deserve to have a self-designed healing path. Indeed it is what we all find in the end.

He Said, I’m Afraid

I was really proud of myself today. I was out riding my bike while giving doggie a walk.

It is a challenge for me to be the pack leader with her. She is the dog of the person where I rent, so I have known her as long as I have lived here. I love her and enjoy spending time with her. She gives me a lot.  When she is with me she needs someone to be the pack leader, most dogs aren’t natural born leaders and they get anxiety and fears like anyone when they are managing a life they are not confident in. Having to be a pack leader is a big job for a dog. And as Cesare Millan, The Dog Whisperer, would say, a dog needs humans to do that in the home, so they aren’t taking over and bossing humans around all the time, so that they aren’t anxious and afraid all the time.

As her pack leader I take my job very seriously. It has helped me to work on being calm and assertive and that has helped me in every aspect of my life. Doggie is a strong dog, from a strong breed, and so I have to work hard at managing her while out in public.

The nicest part of that is that she loves people. She loves to be around them, she loves time spent interacting with them, and she feels happier when they are close. Me too.

She also loves to see other doggies and always wants to meet them, which isn’t always possible. Sometimes she whines, sometimes she barks, and sometimes she bolts towards the other dog, all challenging behaviors I am trying to change.  I tell her, you can’t meet everyone, you can’t become friends with everyone, no matter what you want. Again, kind of reflects my own life. She might not understand the words, but I think my tone of voice consoles her. She likes being understood, I think. I am still teaching her proper behavior and social skills with new doggies. It helps remind me of what I expect of myself and to help me practice my own interpersonal skills.

I’ve been trying to notice reactions from others. Some give a look or make a comment, usually to say nice dog or pretty dog. I used to just bike on by, sometimes say thank you. Now I try to stop for those people and ask them if they would like to pet her. She loves that.

Today we were out and there was a group of people on the sidewalk and I decided to get off my bike and walk her through the group. Some people moved aside as we went through, but I got a good vibe from them, so I asked this one person if she would like to pet her when she started talking to doggie. She did. Several people did. Several kids did.

Then a guy, who was standing back, looked over at me. He said, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of that breed. I told him that she is nice and doesn’t bite. He said no I’ll just stand here.

I said okay, you don’t have to pet her. I told him she never bites, even once she got bit by another dog, and she didn’t bite back. I think that did it for him. He got this look on his face and this light in his eyes, I would call it courage. He stepped forward, several steps, and then, he petted her.

I didn’t know him, but I was so proud for him.