I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the 80% psychology. The 30 years spent developing the bullshit, and the 15 years of trying to figure it out. (Funny, it feels like I’ve spent 3x as many years exploring it.)
I was stung by it during my walk yesterday morning, when I saw a man standing on the side of the road I was turning down. My instinct was to turn the other way.
When I was a kid my parents often warned me that men might try to hurt me. I recall one time in particular, when I was about 14 and my dad happened upon me walking down the street with a group of male friends, he made me get in the car and promise to never walk alone with only males. Because I didn’t know the things they could do to hurt me and I shouldn’t trust them. The following year I learned a little more of what he meant.
During my brief stint with therapy in my early 30s, my shrink was trying to determine why I was fat and miserable by leading me through an exercise in which I imagined I was walking down the road on a beautiful day, the sun in my face and the wind at my back, looking as beautiful as I’ve ever looked, when I came upon a man walking toward me – what would I thinking in that moment?
When I replied, “That he might hurt me” I was shocked. Logically I knew that 99% of men would never even consider it but that other one percent was ingrained into my psyche so deep that it was automatic.
It was an amazing realization and I was glad to get it out and look at it from an adult perspective. My weight has fluctuated a lot since that time but I can guarantee in no uncertain terms that any adding of pounds was not a result of that fear. Still,
The dude yesterday, by the way? Was more upset to see me coming than I him – he completely ignored and avoided me. As he puffed away on his illegal Ontario green. (No, I didn’t ask for a hit. But I considered it. =P)