This post is, in part, ar response to DJ Fet’s recent one entitled “Hetero Cis Men“. In which they make some very fair points not just about an understandable reluctance to play with HCMs, but also acknowledging that most are genuinely trying to do the right thing within a restricted set of conflicting social parameters. It’s a good post, you should read it. However, I do want to offer a counterpoint.
A little while back I got a message from a friend about a friend of theirs who was looking for some advice on how to get into the local rope scene. It’s not an unreasonable request and I’ll admit that I was pretty flattered to be thought of as a good person to turn to. They linked me through to a post said friend of friend had made describing their thoughts/feelings/experiences and my heart sank. Not because I couldn’t think of any advice to give this person, but because I genuinely don’t think they were in the right place to be able to hear it constructively.
Anyway, this is my blog and one of the benefits is that I’m addressing the void of the internet and can put things as bluntly as I like, so here is the advice I feel I could not give:
First and foremost, before anything else and before any progress of any sort can be made there is one lesson that needs to be learned, not just academically, but in a deep visceral way; the universe doesn’t owe you shit!
I mean it. Without thoroughly grasping that lesson (and I mean thoroughly grasping, complete with letting go of the self-pitying “life is so hard” attitude) you will not get far. People can tell when they’re being treated as things, it pours off people like a bad smell and few things are a bigger red-flag and turn-off than someone who feels they’re being hard done to if you don’t do X with them.
Now, I want to stress, my point here is not “nobody likes you? Get over it and sod off home loser!” Absolutely not, and I know full well that this is tough, I’ve been there myself, but there is no substitute for going through this. Yes it’s difficult, it involves some potentially quite painful soul-searching. But, here’s the good bit, it makes you a better person. You see, once one gets over oneself, things change. It’s a bit zen, but by letting go of attachment, you just kinda tend to get more of the thing you were looking for anyway (PRIVILEGE CHECK: Holy Hell this is only limited to the tiny reference of my own experience! So please take with ginormous pinch of salt!)
Another aspect of this, though intrinsically tied in with the first is this; learn to accept rejection. Again my emphasis is not “screw you loser!” but rather that, when asking someone for something, a ‘no’ has to be ok. And when I say ok, I mean just as ok as a ‘yes’, as easy to say and with absolutely no pushback, hesitation or repercussions. Because otherwise the question or offer isn’t just what it is, it then comes with a huge weight of presumption and expectation and privilege behind it (see aforementioned turn-off). Some even advise deliberately practicing rejection by asking for things where you are almost completely certain that the answer will be ‘no’, I wouldn’t necessarily go that far, but even giving that exercise some serious thought can bring home the gulf between what most people think and fear about rejection and the reality. Put simply, if ‘no’ isn’t an ok answer for you to hear, then you shouldn’t be asking the question.
As previously stated I’m no expert and this is simply my opinion based on my own meandering experience. So be gentle yeah?