Am I Really That?
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Separation.
I think Iâ€™ve fully explored my submissive side over the past Â twenty years, and now Iâ€™m exploring my dominant side. Maybe thatâ€™s the Â reason for all this. Or maybe itâ€™s just being more self-confident.
Iâ€™ve called together several close friends, ones who will be Â honest Â with Â me, Â because Â I Â want Â to Â know Â the Â truth Â and frankly, my Â feelings are a little hurt by what Iâ€™ve been called. These are friends who are highly intuitive and who have known me for several years. They knew Â me through at least the last years Â of Â my Â marriage Â when Â I Â felt Â so Â oppressed Â and Â theyâ€™ve known me in the past couple of years when I struggled to break free and when Iâ€™ve been struggling with learning to fly Â on Â my own and getting comfortable with soaring. Theyâ€™ll be straight with me.
I tell them about my visit to the metaphysical festival this Â weekend, and how in some ways, I was disappointed. Iâ€™d love to find someone I can learn something new from. I donâ€™t mind being an Â experimenter, being a discoverer, and being a teacher, but surely I can still be a student. Surely, I can still learn from someone on the earthly realm.
I thought Iâ€™d found her. A woman who seemed to be exploring some of the same areas my circleâ€™s been delving into. As we chatted, I was excited that she was indeed exploring the same knowledgeâ€”and teaching it. Yes! She claimed a degree of expertise. This was great, I thought. Â Someone I could learn from. Maybe she could explain some of my recent experiences. So I started asking her questions. Andâ€¦her jaw dropped.
And yes, I know Jane told me to be careful of what I shared with the uninitiated, but this woman seemed to be initiated. She knew all the terminology, sheâ€™d written books on the subjects, she seemed to know Â more than anyone else Iâ€™d met locally. She even claimed to have knowledge not given to any- one else. Iâ€™d been looking for someone outside my circle with personal experience in this area, so when I met her, of course I thought Iâ€™d hit paydirt!
No. In fact, I realized within about thirty seconds of my first question that she had not gone as far with this exploration of knowledge as I had. I asked a second question regarding unified field theory and quantum physics and she just said, â€œUhâ€¦ yes, thatâ€™s right,â€ but her eyes Â were full of questions. She got antsy, like she was ready for me to get the hell away. Then she started delivering messages from her spirit guides as we talked, but the messages were all wrong (factually) and when I questioned one of them because she was so far off (as in, the person didnâ€™t exist so it really did not make sense), she finally told me that her guides wanted to know what I was still doing there and I should go home. Huh?
â€œThatâ€™s because you were farther along in your studies,â€ a friend tells me. â€œYou see too much sometimes, and thatâ€™s what makes people scared of you. She was the expert but you asked questions about things she hasnâ€™t Â gotten to yet, so you intimidated her.â€
â€œIâ€™m not intimidating,â€ I protest. â€œIâ€™m shy. Iâ€™m quiet. I
am not intimidating.â€
My friends all laugh. â€œOh, yeah, you are.â€
Iâ€™ve been called that before, and it bothers me. Iâ€™ve had bosses feel intimidated because I refused to do something un- ethical and was willing to lose my job over it when they werenâ€™t. I knew they were Â intimidated because they told me so, point blank. â€œI would never have the guts to do that,â€ one of my supervisors told me, and I didnâ€™t understand why he wouldnâ€™t. It just seemed soâ€¦obviously the right thing to do.
Iâ€™ve had men run screaming from my house (well, al- most) rather than be alone with me because I made them nervousâ€”and that really hurt my feelings, even though they told me
Iâ€™ve had people ask me to do something for them and then Â make Â sure theyâ€™re never alone with me so that I wonâ€™t question their intentions or actions. They want to be friends but in a superficial way that doesnâ€™t suit me. They start putting up those heavy-duty psychic shields out of fear that Iâ€™ll know what theyâ€™ve been up to, but as long as theyâ€™re honest with me and not trying to manipulate me, I donâ€™t really care what Â theyâ€™ve been up to.
My close friends have different answers for why people feel intimidated around me. I see too much. I know something they donâ€™t. Iâ€™m confident of something they arenâ€™t. I refuse to be a yes-man or bow to Â office politics. Iâ€™ll say whatâ€™s on my mind, to the point of being a little too honest. I know what I want and go after it, though I donâ€™t always get it. Iâ€™m willing to take a risk. I accept that Iâ€™m a little different.
The thing is, I donâ€™t generally try to be intimidating. Ac- cording to my friends, itâ€™s when Iâ€™m being myself and secure in my belief in myself Â that Iâ€™m most often told Iâ€™m intimidating. And here Iâ€™m thinking of myself Â as gentle and compassionate and Â that Â those Â two Â adjectives Â cannot Â mix Â with Â intimidating.
I can remember a few times in my life when Iâ€™ve tried to be intimidating and failed. Like when I was 29 and negotiating a contract with men twice my age who kept calling me â€œcuteâ€ and â€œdarlingâ€ and Â â€œinexperiencedâ€ and trying to intimidate me so they could get double the Â profit. So I tried to be intimidating right back. My attempt to be fearsome wasnâ€™t working. Until the contractor reached across the table in the middle of the negotiation Â room Â crowded Â with Â at Â least Â twenty Â men Â and Â no Â other women and he patted my head and said, â€œHoney, Iâ€™ve been doing it this way since longer than youâ€™ve been alive,â€ to which I fired back, â€œThen for Â my whole lifetime, youâ€™ve been doing it wrong!â€ They backed down then, every one of them. Suddenly, nobody was messing with me. Iâ€™d had enough.
I donâ€™t like intimidation. Iâ€™m solidly against it as a manipulation tactic. But, my friends insist, that doesnâ€™t mean others wonâ€™t find you unintentionally intimidating, especially if thereâ€™s an area of their lives that you seem to have it together in and they donâ€™t.
Thatâ€™s still funny to me. The whole idea that Iâ€™m intimidating. Me. Of all people.
â€œThis is especially why you must be careful with your heart,â€ one of these friends tells me. â€œThe men who wonâ€™t find you intimidating Â are Â more likely Alpha males and will be the men most likely to try to develop a relationship with you. The men attracted to you will be very commanding and demanding, maybe to the point of being abusive. Theyâ€™ll find you challenging because they want to try to break you. A gentler man will be too scared of you and who you are and what you want out of life.â€
I so hope that isnâ€™t true.