Thursday, May 04, 2006

Predator

The wolf crouches in it's den, lying low in shadows and mist, calm, but alert. A rabbit hops gingerly into the clearing, dappled sunlight dancing patterns over it's fur. The wolf lets out a low, smooth growl, and the rabbit's ears perk.

--What was that sound? I don't know that sound...--

The wolf growls again, louder this time.

--Don't come near!-- the growl conveys. --Don't get any closer!--

Curious, the rabbit hops forward, towards the the entrance of the den. Brown eyes meet flashing gold. The wolf curls it's lip back, baring it's teeth at the rabbit.

--Such a pretty smile,-- thinks the rabbit, --and such flashing eyes!--

--I'm dangerous, you know,-- thinks the wolf, matter-of-factly.

--Oh, but certainly you're not all that dangerous. See how soft your fur is? How broad your brow? You're too lovely to be dangerous. May I touch your fur?-- thinks the rabbit, crossing the barrier between light and dark,entering the den.

--I told you not to come any closer,-- thinks the wolf, with only the slightest pang of remorse. --I did warn you, you know.--

--I don't know what you mean,-- thinks the rabbit.

--You will,-- thinks the wolf.

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Recently, a friend told me I'm a predator. He isn't the first, of course, only the most recent. I disagreed with him (them)... surely I'm not so bad as that. "Predator" conveys that I hunt, that I seek things out to maim or kill. That isn't the case at all. And then he told me the story of the wolf in the den, and the rabbit who just happened by.

"Do you think the wolf would be any less likely to kill that rabbit, than it would be to kill one it had hunted down?"

No, of course not. It's in the wolf's nature. The wolf is a predator.

I don't mean to be, certainly, but intent doesn't negate behavior. I'm not entirely sure it's my fault that I've been draped with this mantle.

"You lure men in with that laugh and those flashing eyes, with that wit and that charm, and that smile that lights up a room. You look at them and talk to them and laugh with them and make them feel like they're the only man on the planet, and the only man for you." Which is rarely, if ever, the case.

Should I be penalized for giving some one my undivided attention? Should I be punished, branded a predator for making some one feel special? Should I tone down my enthusiasm, the appreciation with which I meet daily life? Should I hide it? To do so would be to give some one the complete wrong impression of me, which doesn't seem fair at all.

Better, I think, to shine. Better to be who I am.

It's hard, though, when you see them welling up with tears. "I don't understand! You made me feel like I was everything to you. I could see it in your eyes!"

And then, of course, it comes full-circle. Then I have to explain, again, what I've explained so many times. "Oh, sweetie, don't you understand? I look at every one that way. I smile at every one that way, and laugh at every one's jokes that way. That uniqueness, that "special", that well of joy you see lighting up my face? It isn't you. It's me."

Apparently, it still counts as predation, even when you warn them.


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hm. It looks like even predators get their feelings hurt now and then>

Anonymous said...

Ouch.
L

Anonymous said...

I used to be you.

Tears. Begging. Pain. Move on.

Then roles reversed and the world shifted.

Predator becomes prey.

Now, I try not to even look. Avoid the connections. Run.

Anonymous said...

It's really not that bad, once you get used to it. It's the getting used to it part that's tough.

Like anything else that requires balance, dealing with a situation that isn't what you think it is takes some time, and more than a few falls. Maybe you'll fall off the side of the balance beam that dismisses the person you thought you knew as shallow - someone who wasn't really worth knowing because she wasn't *really* honest with you. (Though in retrospect, since she told you everything that was going to happen, how much more honest could she have been?) Maybe you'll even stay there, once you've tired of the process of trying to learn that balance, dismissing complex people as not being worth your time and effort to get to know.

Or maybe you'll fall off the other side of the beam - the side that convinces you that *you're* the one who wasn't good enough. I mean, there she is, doing exactly the same things for some other guy that she once did for you - is there any better proof that you're no better than anybody else? Or perhaps even worse? After all she's doing those things with him now and not with you. Grow tired of the balancing act, and you'll sink down into self-pity and mumbled excuses.

Once you get used to it, though, you find you can walk that balance beam, for a while anyway. You see that she's not mindless in her praise, she's not blind in how she chooses to make you feel special. She does find those things in you that are uniquely you (or at least uniquely you in your own head - there's a tightrope-walking act for you).

Of course, even once you're used to standing on that beam, you don't always stay up for very long. And when you do fall, you tend to fall longer and harder - a gymnast or acrobat will tell you that if you fight the fall, you take yourself out of any position to be able to protect yourself from it. But we still fight, because we want to fight. We don't want to fall off that balance beam, but more importantly, we don't always see why we have to be up there in the first place.

It's a long-winded metaphor, and probably more than a little confusing, but it's how I feel about this. It doesn't have to be the end of the world. It doesn't even have to be all that painful, if you can either stay up or at least know how to fall.

All it takes is a little balance.

--
Pauper

Real Mac Daddy said...

It's not so much that you're a predator. It's that men are sheep. I'm a men, I know what I'm talking about! The only one that looks at you as a predator, is the prey. If the prey wasn't so damned susceptable to being preyed upon, then there wouldn't be an issue.

Don't feel bad for being a decent person, and for making someone feel special. That's a gift! How they perceive it, process it, what they do with their feelings, is entirely up to them. Your conscience should be clean knowing that if nothing else, you were kind. ;o)

Mouth said...

Anonymous 1:

Yes, of course they do. I'm a human being, despite the metaphor. I've been on the recieving end of a break-up, although not so often as I've delivered the news. That's just part of it. Part of the adventure of dating in 2006.

m.

Mouth said...

Anonymous 2:

You're missing out on so much. I can't bear the thought of going through life without at least making the attempt to connect with some one. That doesn't mean it's easy, or smooth sailing. That doesn't mean I don't hurt people, or get hurt. It only means that life without effort is purposeless. Why get up in the morning if you aren't even going to try?

m.

Mouth said...

P:

This is why you've been my friend for so long... because, for the most part, something in you "gets" the fact that I smile because I'm happy. It doesn't mean I'm falling head over heels; it means I'm having a good time.

Thank you for putting forth the effort to understand, for knowing when it's okay to pull in close, and knowing when it's right to back away.

Balance.

m.

Mouth said...

Mac:

I'm reasonably certain I didn't get pinned with the lable through one experience, or even two.

Unfortunately, it's at least partially true... I have a history of leaving behind broken hearts. I don't mean to, but it doesn't "just happen" either. I'm aware that the way I interact with people makes them feel like they're the center of the universe.

I realy can't imagine being any other way.

m.

Anonymous said...

From Anon2...

Why get up? Because there is much, much more to life than that.

I can handle my own pain, that isn't a problem. I just got a lesson in how it feels and grew very weary of hurting others. Perhaps someday I will be willing to risk hurting someone again, but not right now. Not at all.

Anonymous said...

Given Mac's comment about men being 'sheep', I thought this was an apt story to throw into the conversation.

(And apologies to m, who I know isn't a fan of The Onion.)

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/32106

--
Pauper

Anonymous said...

There is certainly a flirtatious element to you that some take personally, and some have been warned. You are not the only one I know like that.

But there's also simply an element of chaos to you. Your moods and desires change, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but usually suddenly.

In all fairness, while there's a strong tendancy in anyone to see what they want to see; and while your nature lends itself to that, there's also a signifigant pattern in your life to actually see someone as the center of attnetion and then change that position abruptly.

I think your long-term happiness can only start with your own consistancy... which unfortunately has not seemed to become more stable over they years :(.

Mouth said...

Choosing to edit people out of my life who no longer fit doesn't make me unstable.

m.

Mouth said...

Choosing to edit people out of my life who no longer fit doesn't make me unstable.

m.

Anonymous said...

It's a tad bit harder when you warn them ahead of time. Try that sometime. (grinning)

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