31 March 2006 3 Comments
I have got to stop picking up strays. My (ex-)therapist figures I don’t give off enough non-verbal signals for people to back off. I think it comes from not trusting my instincts enough and for not being able to assert enough of my needs when I’m in someone else’s presence. I’m one of those that gets annoyed in hindsight, when it might be too late to tell the other person to stop what they’re doing.
My seaside flat has been vacant since I’ve been away and before I left a friend of mine encouraged me to sublet it informally to his parents who were coming to town to visit. Because I was so financially strapped I thought why not, can’t hurt. When I spoke to him 2 days before I left, it turns out they only wanted it for 2 days not for the whole 3 weeks, and I feel misled. Was it because I didn’t clarify the terms early on or that I allowed the friendship to manipulate me? I didn’t feel I could back down at that point, although now I think it would have been perfectly all right to say, ‘I’ve changed my mind.’
So I agreed to the 2 days and objectively it isn’t a problem. Except that I only found out today that not only did my friend’s parents not come up to use the flat, but that he had been staying there himself, even though he has a house about 5 miles away. Is it just me or is that just plain creepy? It’s not that I think he will thrash the flat, on the contrary, he’d probably take care of it quite well. I just feel like an intimacy has been forced upon me for which I didn’t invite. Or was the first invitation an invite in the first place? I don’t actually think so, but I need this blog to say it aloud. To put it crudely, it’s like the old conundrum, if a woman invites you to her flat, does it mean she wants to sleep with you? Not necessarily.
I think it’s time for me to work on the Noble Eightfold Path a bit more consciously; to be a bit more mindful of my own presence in a dialogue or an interaction. My unconscious desire to make things nice and non-threatening for the other person is often manifested as unconscious action on my part. I often agree to things before actually thinking it through, and then even after I’ve regretted it, I feel unable to say so. I know that one of the aims in meditation is to cultivate mindfulness while sitting in silence; I’m wondering how to cultivate mindfulness while my mind is engaged in the presence of another person. Or as my therapist put it, to make my ‘needs’ more explicit to others.