Monday, October 23, 2006

saying no.

I suck at boundaries. I've always been this way, especially when I feel like I'm not in control of a situation.

I'm a sex-positive person, I love sex, I'm empowered, all of those things -- so even when something makes me a little bit uncomfortable, I push myself. Because, "I'm sex-positive," I think, "why am I reluctant to explore this?" Or in some cases, "I've done this before, why am I having a problem with it now?" Almost always, I'm the one putting pressure on me (with a couple of notable exceptions). I spend so long exploring whether my initial "no" is really, truly a no, that by the time I realize it is I'm in over my head.

By then, I'm paralyzed. I don't know how to get out of it. I stop speaking and close my eyes and pretend that if I stay really quiet, the whole situation will cease to exist. It doesn't. Whether or not I choose to excuse myself from the situation at that point, it ends with me crying, feeling alternately like a bully and a failure, and terribly, terribly embarassed.

What worries me is that I recognize my inability to honor my "no" not just in sexual situations, but in romantic ones too -- I get caught in a place where I think saying no would sound too strong, or I don't want to bruise any egos, and instead of just being honest I ignore the signs and play for time, and everyone ends up the worse for wear.

I've been telling women not to be afraid to say no for nine years. Why can't I get through to myself?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Life is about motion... whatever the task...whatever the goal... the way you stop something is most often a function of how you started it in the first place. "No" is an essential safety valve and should be respected, but it is on par with "stop"... like that emergency red button on a runaway machine and it denies the motion as a whole. The word you need is "slow"... the calm and well managed return to a speed which is comfortable for you and does not deny the motion altogether. Press the brake slowly and the ride will continue safely on its path or diverge according to the new sensation... fill your tank...bring a snack... read the map... put on some tunes... the ride is fun even if you end up back were you started.