It is so easy for me to become defensive, even when it isn’t directed toward me. I wonder time after time whether it’s something that everyone goes through, or that my defensiveness is reaction unique to me to a perceived threat near me.
Example A: an older student in my history class decided to call Twenty One Pilot’s music trash, and continued to tear them apart in front of me. I usually wouldn’t mind all that much because hey, everyone has their own music taste. The thing is I talked about this band’s music the class before with another guy who’s into them. It seemed like a calculated blow to me, because the other guy wasn’t there that day. I knew I shouldn’t take it personally, but the fact that this guy was ripping apart one of my favorite bands without even giving me a chance to talk was more than enough for me to get up out of my seat and join a different group.
I feel like I take things way too personally. On another level maybe. I’m not sure what it is, but that part of me has always been there. Anytime I am chastised, even if it’s because I pronounced a word the wrong way (actually this happens much more often than I want to admit) I am immediately ashamed and it rings in my ears and mind for a long time.
Example B: as a child, I was in a museum that had all of the Presidents’s signatures laid out in silver writing on the wall. There was a piece of the Berlin wall there too, but the signatures were far more interesting to me. I traced my finger over them (it seemed okay, I was only kid but even then I knew when and where it’s okay to touch things in a museum) until one of the staff came over to me. She was very nice about it; letting me know that it’s not there to touch but she was happy I thought they were so interesting. Even joked that one day my signature would be up there. All I could think about afterward was how awful a person I was for doing something I should’ve known better about.
Whenever I am put in the wrong, I tend to over explain even when it’s not related to the situation. Or if it’s mildly related, I’ll go all out in my explanations. I say “put in the wrong” because a lot of the time I haven’t even done anything wrong, but some part of me tells me that I have.
Example C: I only had possession of a driver’s license for half a year when I was pulled over late one night. I panicked. I had just driven through an intersection and I was thinking to myself, “crap, what if I just ran a red light and didn’t realize it? What did I do wrong this time?” It felt like I was in a movie. The officer asked me how my night was going, and we ended up talking about boba (?? is this how it usually goes?) as well as me giving him way too much information about how I was on my way home and my house was just a bit aways. He asked to see my license and I obliged, while he just told me I had a tail light out and I should go get it fixed. I’m sure he felt the relief pour out of me as I promised to be safe on my way back home.
Growing up with a father who constantly teased you can apparently take some toll. But honestly, I don’t mind. I just hope that next time I get called out on something, I will have the ability to take it like a (wo)man.