When do my choices become an abdication of my power? My therapist says that as a rule, women's work is power and men's work is relationships. This is, of course, a generality and as with all generalities, subject to major exceptions, but I have found that overall it does seem to ring true. And my work is certainly to keep from becoming invisible and retreating in the face of threats, imagined or real. I do live with a lot of fears, fears that I'll do the wrong thing or fears that someone will challenge me or yell at me, etc., and I know where these fears come from and while many are no longer true, some still are legitimate.
Nevertheless, I am an adult now, and so reacting as I did when I was a small child isn't always terribly helpful. Of course that small wounded child still is a part of me, but I need to be reassuring, being the adult for her that she never had when she was growing up. These thoughts popped up today as I was doing my online shopping for pet needs. I have recently found a brand of canned cat food that the cats and I have agreed on. Wellness cat food comes in small cans, has no meat byproducts, fillers, etc., and it is a pate which does not look like any "body parts" so I, as a vegan, find it less horrific to feed. (And personally I'm thrilled that because of Chauncey's allergies, the dogs are on a vegan diet, but I do know dogs differ from cats in this as well as many other ways).
And I was thrilled when I thought that I could obtain this cat food from my local organic market through their buyers club, so that I would be supporting an on-island business and one that I wasn't afraid to go to. However, today, when I tried to get my first order ready, I found out that they don't carry the small cans. Ok, big disappointment. Went to Amazon.com (my fall back for a lot since I don't leave the island), and they had it but only if I ordered from one of the big pet chain stores and I'm anti-them also.
The apparently simple solution is to buy it from our local and lovely on-island pet store, Pandora's Box. So what's the problem? One of their clerks had treated me very badly on two separate occasions and I'm just afraid to run into her again. The adult me knows that in this instance the power of the consumer is all-encompassing, but the child in me doesn't want to be berated, criticized, etc. This clerk doesn't listen and she'd brow-beat me into what she said was the "best" cat food without listening at all to my needs and I was horrified to find that I could see parts of fish in the cans when I opened it. I gave the food to a friend who has cats but is not vegan, but the experience was not pleasant.
Since then I have been back--got my courage up one day when I absolutely had to have cat food, and I then was treated extremely well by two clerks there that day who did listen, and who gave me a variety of options and explained them all very carefully and even took into account smell factors as well as looks. And I did very gently mention my previous two encounters and they took that seriously as well.
So there should be no problem going back there to buy my cat food (and cat litter when that is needed because shipping that is absurd), and I will give it a go, especially since I will be headed that way on Thursdays now for summer tutoring at the library, but it will be with fear, and I suspect it will become easier each time I do it and I think that this is not only good for an island business but good for me, not to abandon myself and my principles because of one person, but it will stretch me.
I don't know if I will always have this issue going new places or going where I've not been well-treated. It is one reason why I prefer to stay home, in my space, out of the line of sight of much of the world. Some days even crossing the street for my mail is a challenge, and I always think several times over before I walk very far into my backyard because I had a neighbor yell at me several winters ago for a landslide which in fact was her yard's issue, not mine. For the most part, that works fine, but I suspect that I am giving up lots of my power to those who shouldn't have power over me. And on my better days, I forge ahead, at least with small challenges. Today is a nice cool sunny day and all my windows are open and I'm feeling reasonably well, so the idea of buying my cat food at Pandora's Box on Thursday seems most do-able. I am hoping it will seem just as do-able when Thursday rolls around! Have a wonderful day wherever you are!