Yesterday someone I used to know, and only by circumstance, broke the barrier of my personal space—while I was completely engrossed in a store’s display of books—by thrusting her flailing hand into my face.
Whether or not you know a person to be an introvert, as I am, this is not the appropriate way to get their attention. Rude, is what it was.
She’s as much a stranger as a connection to my past. I’d not seen this woman in a few years, and given the reasons why, there’s no need for us to play catch up. I certainly had no desire for it, and I don’t understand why she chose to acknowledge me.
Once upon a time I’d have feigned courtesy anyway. I’d have responded to her as if she hadn’t just elbowed her way in and unhinged me. I’d have ignored my personal need for space, and my discomfort with chit-chat, and suffered through an unnecessary exchange anyway. Because that’s what I used to believe such moments required of me.
In so many instances through my life, I’ve given over to whoever I’m with. I have squelched my own need or perception to yield. To accommodate. To offer what’s projected onto me by them, even when it wasn’t the authentic choice for myself. That’s caused a lot of angst over the years.
No more. Especially if it’s someone I have no obligation to. If it’s no one I care about connecting to, or cultivating a relationship with, or who doesn’t even have my respect, forget it. No more yielding. Even when it comes to those with whom I am invested. I’m doing what’s right for me in the moment.
That’s how I handled yesterday.
My reaction to this woman was little more than lukewarm. By my clipped answer to her insincere greeting — a flat “I’m well, how are you” without the open-ended lilt — and my overt return to the books, she got the hint and moved on.
I’m sure she walked away feeling I’d been unnecessarily rude. But was I any ruder than she herself had been, given the particulars behind our encounter?
I don’t think so. And given that’s the case, I’m glad I processed the moment in a healthy-for-me way. I was genuine for my own benefit. If I can get to where that’s the norm for me, I’ll be pleased.
That’s the way I need to live. Authentically. Respecting my perception.
In this, I’m a woman determined.
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