In conversation with SO about a neighbor — she has very negative feelings about the family (we’ll dissect later) — I reminisced that the neighbor has some deeply-ingrained, culturally-reinforced and nurtured, frankly regressive ideas about women. She began to tell me what she would have to say to him about that, and it struck me as I said it out loud, that she would never gain the high ground in that conversation, because his worldview would be reinforced whatever she would have to say. If she does not speak up or if she ultimately backs down, his view of women is reinforced – they are submissive, they are sub-me, they are cowards to my face. If she speaks up, she is ill-bred, and sub-me because she does not know her place, and upon speaking, she is rude and stupid — whatever she says.
Silencio. Then, “You’re right.” Born, and educated through med school in China, came to America to work, family, marriage, relocation, and generally, successful. But he seems to have formed an early view of the place of women in his world, and it would seem that potentially every encounter, chance or planned, can reinforce that view.
SO raised the subject after a recent close encounter with said neighbor — I spoke with him, if she had, I might have had to call the cops, or worse. I have reasonably good judgment (most times, in spite of what you read), and can get a good bead on a situation pretty quick if I’m paying attention. Which caused me to question the negativity – not just a tendency to talk negatively, but to harbor really negative thoughts, hatred, anger, possibly violence, certainly vocal. I’m not a psychiatrist. It’s very out in the open, not concealed in the least except (by and large) in polite company. I reminded her who she sounds like, in spending her waking hours constantly dwelling on anything negative. The words that come out of her mouth. She hates being compared to him. If she knew I was wrong and that she doesn’t have a lot of him in who she is, she would be able to tell me so. But she knows this too. I try today, like I do each day, to focus on positive thoughts, and feelings. Not to shut any feelings out, but to spend my conscious energy on the positive, and on making the best of the situation I find myself in — wherever, whenever.