By Vita Forest
A little while ago I was catching up with Saskia who had just seen the English language version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I had read the book a few years ago and voiced my distaste for the level of graphic violence in it which seemed gratuitous and verging on the salacious to me. Saskia’s take on it was difference. She appreciated seeing a female avenger heroine, who did not become a victim when the system failed her, but exacted revenge on her own terms. (As I’ve said before – perhaps it all depends on what is going on in your own life as to what you take from a piece of art??)
Saskia also valued the conversation with the eventual murderer, where he discusses how most victims came with to him without much fuss, as they did not want to appear rude. They were more concerned with hurting the murderer’s feelings than with their own safety.
This struck a chord with me. How often do we do this? How often are we so concerned with others’ feelings that we forget about our own? How often do we silence that inner voice that is telling us to run? To get out of there NOW?
I think this is particularly true for females.
At school we teach the children about Child Protection. We teach young children the importance of listening to their bodies (sweaty palms, butterflies in their stomach etc) – the “No” feelings. If they get a “No” feeling they do not need to be polite, they do not need to think how that other person is feeling, they do not need to hang about and explain themselves, they should just leave and go to someone they trust. Good advice for everyone. I wish I had learned it earlier.
Lucy and I watched a young Hugh Jackman becoming a star in Oklahoma! recently. As well as the enjoyment factor, I was struck by Laurie staying to listen to the obsessive Judd, when all her instincts were telling her to run. She stayed because she felt sorry for him, because her friends and family told her not to worry, because she was polite. She could talk herself into staying, but her body was telling her to leave. Lucy and I talked about this later. How she has rights. How she should be respected. How her feelings are just as valid as someone else’s (more so when the situation appears menacing).
It is important to be mindful of others’ feelings, to think how our actions effect others. But conversely, there are some times we do not need to be polite. There are some times when we need to listen to what our bodies so rightly know.
Sometimes we need to leave. Do you always trust your instincts?