On Conflict And The Need For Tension
The other day I had a trivial spat with a Cancer-sign male. (These details are important, and I promise to tell you why later in this post.)
This trivial spat has had a lingering positive effect on me, which you might not expect from a heated shouting match during breakfast at your favorite local. I want to say trivial again to make the point that huge moments of conflict often erupt over the most trivial things.
The straw that breaks the camel’s back.
If you want to find it, usually, with enough introspection and objectivity you can locate the base root of interpersonal conflicts.
Many times these start with slight triggers to deeply ignored insecurities.
I have been known to fly off the handle on innocent people making innocent jokes, which I might otherwise roll with, because on that particular day I was far inside my insecurity and unable to detach from it.
A lot of the conflicts I have with women stem from a mutual envy, some imagined upper-hand we think the other has. In some ways this is actually respect.
But when it’s acted out poorly it can become a useless feud, and result in a non-stop power struggle for social or professional capital. See: Cardi B. vs Nicki Minaj.
What I think happens before a conflict erupts is that people see a tiny bit of danger in one another. Some people dance closer toward this intrigue, some keep their of distance, and some jump right into the fire.
You can see this a lot when people become super fast friends, but then suddenly severe ties. Because their individual emotional responses feel threatened and neither person quite knows how or where to compromise.
This is precisely the danger they each initially perceived: the notion that the other person has a quality you either lack and want, or a quality you that you don’t want and actually abhor.
The dynamics of social relationships are such that you don’t always know how a person’s qualities will play until it’s go-time.
This guy wanted to show me a video of a dog’s dick.
I only know that because I saw the lipstick on the phone before he could even press play. And I gave a hard “No.”
Dick humor does nothing for me. Never has. Never will. I can be “one of the guys,” and listen to most of their jokes and bullshit commentary on sex, on women, on what type of imaginary impossible women they think they deserve
All that stuff is my homework as a writer.
I don’t care for dick humor in the form of any visual of the penis of any species. First of all, it’s juvenile. Like the monkey who smells his own finger and faints. I don’t get it. It’s not my humor. I don’t care. I’m not interested.
One hard “No” ought to be enough in any situation.
In literally every circumstance we must consider and accept that the word No means No. Regarding: dog dick video, plans tonight, wanna do a bump, can I borrow some money. In every single situation where someone can opt in or opt out and they choose no, that is very fucking likely their final answer.
He wouldn’t let it go.
To the point where as I was trying to work he was holding up his phone for a “gotcha!” Who knows, maybe he really did have an alternate video. Maybe he wasn’t trying to shove a dog’s dick in my face.
Guess who doesn’t care? Me.
I flipped out, cursed at him, gathered my belongings and left.
Then, I spent an afternoon and evening, spurred on by my fury, analysing and writing on the dynamics of power between people. And the necessity of friction and tension.
Here is why conflict and tension are good, important, and necessary:
Because if I hadn’t woken up that morning already nine hundred percent gung-ho to be productive, to tackle my goals then I might have rolled with his bad humor. If I hadn’t set the intention to work I would’ve been more open to distraction.
I might have rolled my eyes, but watched the video anyway, had a fake laugh. It would have been a non-issue.
Also, I would have maybe found some new inspiration that day. It’s possible I might have addressed another element of my work in a more chill manner.
But conflict can give you energy, if you let it.
You can either burn your energy out in a conflict by missing the point and going to battle. Or, you can pull energy from the release of the tension and you pick it apart and break down the energy, and take it in pieces.
Which is what I did.
In my post-cuss-out fury, I gained even more resoluteness to tell men when they’re being crossing my personal boundaries, and over-saturing themselves in bullshit male-privilege (the kind which tells them that they can say and do anything even after other people say no.)
And I became even more convinced that all my social interactions with members of Cancer the cancer zodiac must always be extremely limited; as close to zero as possible.
I felt so fired up on my rightness, my commitment to my work, to my boundaries, to my taste in humor that nothing could stop me.
And that dog dick video sure tried.