Am I Really That?

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Separation.

I think I’ve fully explored my submissive side over the past  twenty years, and now I’m exploring my dominant side. Maybe that’s the  reason for all this. Or maybe it’s just being more self-confident.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

I’ve called together several close friends, ones who will be  honest  with  me,  because  I  want  to  know  the  truth  and frankly, my  feelings are a little hurt by what I’ve been called. These are friends who are highly intuitive and who have known me for several years. They knew  me through at least the last years  of  my  marriage  when  I  felt  so  oppressed  and  they’ve known me in the past couple of years when I struggled to break free and when I’ve been struggling with learning to fly  on  my own and getting comfortable with soaring. They’ll be straight with me.

I tell them about my visit to the metaphysical festival this  weekend, and how in some ways, I was disappointed. I’d love to find someone I can learn something new from. I don’t mind being an  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 I’d found her. A woman who seemed to be exploring some of the same areas my circle’s been delving into. As we chatted, I was excited that she was indeed exploring the same knowledge—and teaching it. Yes! She claimed a degree of expertise. This was great, I thought.  Someone I could learn from. Maybe she could explain some of my recent experiences. So I started asking her questions. And…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, she’d written books on the subjects, she seemed to know  more than anyone else I’d met locally. She even claimed to have knowledge not given to any- one else. I’d been looking for someone outside my circle with personal experience in this area, so when I met her, of course I thought I’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, “Uh… yes, that’s right,” but her eyes  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 didn’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?

“That’s because you were farther along in your studies,” a friend tells me. “You see too much sometimes, and that’s what makes people scared of you. She was the expert but you asked questions about things she hasn’t  gotten to yet, so you intimidated her.”

“I’m not intimidating,” I protest. “I’m shy. I’m quiet. I

am not intimidating.”

My friends all laugh. “Oh, yeah, you are.”

I’ve been called that before, and it bothers me. I’ve had bosses feel intimidated because I refused to do something un- ethical and was willing to lose my job over it when they weren’t. I knew they were  intimidated because they told me so, point blank. “I would never have the guts to do that,” one of my supervisors told me, and I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t. It just seemed so…obviously the right thing to do.

I’ve had men run screaming from my house (well, al- most) rather than be alone with me because I made them nervous—and that really hurt my feelings, even though they told me

I’ve had people ask me to do something for them and then  make  sure they’re never alone with me so that I won’t question their intentions or actions. They want to be friends but in a superficial way that doesn’t suit me. They start putting up those heavy-duty psychic shields out of fear that I’ll know what they’ve been up to, but as long as they’re honest with me and not trying to manipulate me, I don’t really care what  they’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 don’t. I’m confident of something they aren’t. I refuse to be a yes-man or bow to  office politics. I’ll say what’s on my mind, to the point of being a little too honest. I know what I want and go after it, though I don’t always get it. I’m willing to take a risk. I accept that I’m a little different.

The thing is, I don’t generally try to be intimidating. Ac- cording to my friends, it’s when I’m being myself and secure in my belief in myself  that I’m most often told I’m intimidating. And here I’m thinking of myself  as gentle and compassionate and  that  those  two  adjectives  cannot  mix  with  intimidating.

I can remember a few times in my life when I’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 “cute” and “darling” and  “inexperienced” and trying to intimidate me so they could get double the  profit. So I tried to be intimidating right back. My attempt to be fearsome wasn’t working. Until the contractor reached across the table in the middle of the negotiation  room  crowded  with  at  least  twenty  men  and  no  other women and he patted my head and said, “Honey, I’ve been doing it this way since longer than you’ve been alive,” to which I fired back, “Then for  my whole lifetime, you’ve been doing it wrong!” They backed down then, every one of them. Suddenly, nobody was messing with me. I’d had enough.

I don’t like intimidation. I’m solidly against it as a manipulation tactic. But, my friends insist, that doesn’t mean others won’t find you unintentionally intimidating, especially if there’s an area of their lives that you seem to have it together in and they don’t.

That’s still funny to me. The whole idea that I’m intimidating. Me. Of all people.

“This is especially why you must be careful with your heart,” one of these friends tells me. “The men who won’t find you intimidating  are  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. They’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.”

I so hope that isn’t true.