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Draco As An Empowered Chick

September 12, 2010

I remember the first time that I was called Draconian. I don’t remember exactly what led up to it, except that a friend of a friend had behaved in a way – and in my home – that I found offensive, hurtful and illustrative of a value system that was profoundly incongruent with my own. I truly don’t remember what happened, but I do remember telling her that she was no longer welcome in my home and I did not intend to have her in my life. She was aghast. Our mutual friend called me Draconian. And I thought to myself, “wow, that was easy.”

Though I have yet to actually execute anyone, I have become fairly quick to extricate people whose behavior hurts – or has a reasonable likelihood of hurting – the world that I have created for myself. I do it quickly, swiftly, and usually without regret. Those offenses that result in my feeling unsafe, disrespected, fearful, or incompatible are generally my signal to move on.  But I have to be clear with myself about why and how, and when.

I am generally very clear with the people in my life about what I value and expect. My expectations are rooted entirely in behavior and not in external things like wealth, politics, religion, musical taste, club memberships, job titles etc. In fact, what I expect – what I allow – in my life pretty much boils down to: honesty, communication and the ability to look at your immediate impulsive desires against the impact their sating will have on others in your life. I never expect people to change for me, and I never will. But I do communicate my needs and feelings and allow people to make their own decisions, and will extricate myself if I need to.

It’s not an ultimatum. It’s freedom of choice. It’s cause and effect. It’s a basic law of physics – every action has an equal reaction.  Even in human relationships. I will not choose someone who does not choose me.

And there’s no reason to hang on rather than move on. Whether it is a friend, a lover, a family member, a job, or even an idea, there are more where they came from.

There are more people in the world than there are hours in my life. I don’t want to waste any hours on people who don’t make my world a better place. I certainly don’t want to spend any hours of my life in a defensive stance ready to mitigate whatever slings and arrows a selfish and manipulative person may thrust my way. If someone’s value system is fundamentally different than my own, I have no reason to believe they won’t – either knowingly or unknowingly – do harm to something that I value and they don’t. (Like myself, for instance.) I can see no reason to spend time being defensive when I could spend it being joyful.

Cases in point:

  • The chick whose behavior originally resulted in my being called Draconian was, if I remember correctly, treating another friend of mine with incredible disrespect and verbal put-downs in my home. Time that could have been spent being joyful was instead spent witnessing and then mitigating cruel behavior. I have no need for that in my life.
  • At a family function, years ago, I witnessed, repeatedly, the behavior that I grew up in. Relentless teasing, picking on, poking at each other. It makes me uncomfortable and reminded me why, until very recently, I felt that I was constantly having to prove and defend myself to everyone. It is not healthy and not the world I want to live in and certainly not the world I want to raise my daughter in. I did not want her to learn that people who love you will knowingly and intentionally be cruel to you, that it’s okay to belittle and demean people and laugh at their expense. I tried to explain it to my family. It was futile. I have not seen most of them since. I simply do not have room in my life for people who are not kind and do not take the feelings of others into consideration.

Of course, there are harder ones. Lovers who make decisions to do things they know will hurt me, and in so doing choose that behavior rather than me. It hurts every time, but it’s how things go – people make choices all the time that shape their world. Every time you choose one thing, you likely eliminate another. I don’t take it personally, but I feel it personally. And again, I will not choose people who I know won’t choose to protect me.

It is then I have to look at my “rules,” as clearly as Draco would. And they don’t always tell me what the appropriate justice is. Were they honest? Yes. Did they communicate? Yes. Did they weigh their impulsive desires against the longer-term impact and make their choice? Yes. And if their choice is still incompatible with what I need in my world, I know I need to move on. Without anger. Without judgment. But also without harming myself, which needs to be my first priority.

Because I cannot be as creative, as vibrant, as sensual, as energetic as I want to be, and pour that energy into the projects and people I want to build my life with, if I have to be defensive and prove myself worthy. I just won’t bother. I know I am worthy.

The grey area sucks. (Which, I am sure, is why Draco avoided the grey area altogether.)  People who fall short for circumstantial reasons, or who, for some reason, I just know that I want in my life. That’s where life gets messy, though the rules don’t change, they just slow down a bit, “justice” jogging in the molasses of desire.

Now, if you live in the gray area, that is pretty huge compliment from me. It means that you are someone that I think is worth reevaluating my world-view for, that I see magic in you and in our relationship, and you are someone who I think will help me adjust my rules, that make my world better, and I’m willing to risk it. (Until I’m not, then off with your head.)

Draco, in general, gets a bum rap, mostly because he killed people for things like littering and would enslave you if you owed someone a nickel. But Draco was really the first dude who made clear, wrote down and distributed the set of rules by which society agreed to function. He made clear that there was cause and effect. People knew what would happen if they broke the laws – however disproportionate the punishment may have been. And I am like that, proudly. I tell people what I need and what I want. I tell people what will happen, how I will react if those needs aren’t met. And I follow through. I think it’s something more people should do.

Unlike Draco, I have very few rules. Be honest with me. Communicate with me. Let me know that I am valued. Create a relationship in which I feel safe. That is all I require, but no less.  It is what I will do for you, and no less.

Draco was criticized for applying the death penalty to just about every offense a citizen could commit. Littering and murder were both punishable by death. In that way, maybe we’re the same. Because I only have one punishment also. Loss of me.

Because I am valuable, and although your life may go on if you lose me, mine won’t. If you want me, you know where I am. And what I require. And the rewards for it are, simply, unimaginably rich with infinite possibility. Because when I feel safe and valued, I can become creative, sensual, adventurous and generous in a way that will make your life as rich as it makes mine. It’s so worth it.

Anything less is pointless. It is an offense punishable by the slow and simmering suffocation of souls that make zombies out of so many of us. No thanks. May as well be dead.

__

(Next up? The first time I was called “insatiable.”)

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