Friday, March 19, 2010

Warlike

One thing I've discovered about myself during my adulthood is this: I am a very sweet person, but the moment a person begins to manipulate or pressure me, a vengeful warrior (who typically is enjoying a lazy slumber somewhere in my interior world) emerges with her arrow drawn back in the bow, fit and ready for battle.

Brian and I have been taking ballroom dance classes together, and last night after our lesson, our teacher explained to us that next week we would need to decide what the next package of classes would be that we should buy. It was a sloppy sales job and the details were very unclear. Finally, I just told our instructor that I am a straightforward person and she could just tell us plainly what to expect. She explained that private classes would cost $100 each, but if we bought them clumped together, say in a package of 10 classes, they would only cost $90 each. I asked if we could buy them in smaller clumps, say in a package of 4 classes, and she responded by asking me, "Why wouldn't you want to invest in 10 classes at once, knowing that you'll need at least that many to meet your goals for learning?"

Well, I don't know how that question would have felt to you if you were on the receiving end of it, but to me it felt like pressure. Hello! Ten classes at $90 each is $900! That is a lot of money!

Immediately, my inner warrior emerged, and I found myself looking down a drawn arrow and my instructor was on the other end. "Why shouldn't I pay for my classes in increments of four at a time? I prefer to buy things in smaller packages. We could have a baby soon and things could change!" I became irritated that I was being asked to justify to her how and why I would choose to spend our money.

And you know what? Our instructor got the message. She continued in her sales pitch, but it took on a more respectful tone.

For all of my life, I have been a very sensitive soul. When I was younger, I would get trod upon emotionally because even though someone might say something harsh to me, I often didn't have the gumption or quickness to say anything back. As an adult, though, things have changed. I learned a great principle in a self-defense class that I think transfers well to interpersonal conflict: if a potential attacker starts talking at you harshly to intimidate you, you are supposed to match his/her tone and volume. This shows that you have strength and often the attacker will back down, because they look for an easy target. In interpersonal conflict, I've found that if someone becomes aggressive with their words and I then match their tone, it quickly levels the playing field and the conversation very quickly takes on a better tone because the other person realizes that I am not a someone to be trifled with.

Last night, after we left the dance studio, Brian told me that he hates to see me get upset, but I assured him that even though it is a significant departure from the sweet me that he lives with on a daily basis, I really like the warrior part of my personality.

In doing research for baby names, I ended up researching my own name and its meaning. I found on BabyNamer.com that "its source is Treasaigh, an Irish Gaelic name meaning 'Warlike'".

Love it!

5 comments:

Dana Cheryl said...

Being raised in the South I was taught a particular set of rules in regards to politeness, deference, etc...

However, like you, I'm finding that I have to find & use "my voice" when confronted with certain situations.

I've finally realized that it's not impolite to ensure my own well being. If I don't who will?! :)

Tracy said...

Dana Cheryl,

I'd like to give you an "Amen"!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I've never heard this before:

if a potential attacker starts talking at you harshly to intimidate you, you are supposed to match his/her tone and volume.

I LOVE IT. And especially for our daughters, who are taught to be polite and kind...to realize that when their gut tells them something is wrong, to SPEAK UP. That's valuable.

I was mugged once, when I was 19. Not bad. Walking to work in my crappy neighborhood at 5:45 am. A boy who had been out partying until the wee hours followed me and took my purse. Why didn't I scream for help? Because it was so early, and it felt wrong to disturb the neighbors. My mom was horrified that I reacted this way in a dire situation when I could have been hurt. In retrospect, so am I. YELL.

Good for you for speaking up. And when you have a kid, wait. Your inner warrior will be SO much stronger. Not only for little slights, but for real issues. Having faced a very real issue this year with my own daughter, I am proud of the warrior within me facing that issue down. Sometimes it comes from the outside, and sometimes not, but either way, you're the best person (you and Brian...you as a parent) to stomp it down.

Dana Cheryl said...

I am so proud to be associated with two strong women such as yourselves!!

I love when women come together in sisterhood and lookout for one another. TV portrays us so often as vapid, self-centered, catty witches only looking to climb the social ladder. (Yes E! entertainment television I'm talking about your shows. lol!) We're so much more than that in the real world! We strong, smart, caring warrior women! :)

Sharon said...

you go Starshine!