As I became an adult, there were key moments when I didn't honor my feelings, and those were moments that taught me hard lessons. I should have refused to be induced for Brooklyn's birth. I should have switched pediatricians earlier. I should have--actually, there was a lot of failure to honor my feelings during the first few months of BRooklyn's life, now that I think on it. And Brooklyn's birth disaster and the year and a half that followed made me listen to my feelings very closely.
The other day a friend, Tony, who vacillates in his belief in God and the whole Church "thing", and in fact has good reason and lots of therapy under his belt in regards to all of that, told me about running into an old friend on the street, and in the process of catching up, the friend said to him, "Can we just pray together right here about what's going on in your life?"
"Surely you told him no, that it would kind of make you uncomfortable, right?" I asked. I'm kind of a blurter and I was laughing at the absurdity of the moment.
"No, I did it. I held his hands and we prayed," Tony sighed.
"That's like," I am suddenly brought back to high school, to a moment in Junior Hall after school and George Bourgeois stalking me and the moment when I finally just gave in and let him feel me up and push his tongue into my mouth and I so did not honor any of my feelings that day or any of the days afterward while he made lewd gestures towards me, up until the day he was kicked out of school for sexually assaulting a freshman and then I came forward and that damned principal blamed me and the other girls for not telling him, and he cried, that fat old priest cried in front of us and something clicked inside my head that never again I would just stay silent and meek.
"That's like," I start again, "having an abusive boyfriend ask you for just one more kiss and giving in."
"Yeah," he agreed. "But it was just easier."
And I realized that while I don't have a lot of boundaries about my time and my heart, while I love and let people be and forgive again and again, all of that, I realized that fuck that. I listen to my heart and I do say no. I do.
When that voice in my head says run, I run.