Reflections after the Training

I love my fellow escorts – and escorting – and I love talking about it.  What we do, how we do it, why we do it ~ all of that.

So trainings are a blast.  As a presenter, I get to talk about my favorite topics – managing stress and anger, and self-care ~ and I get to hear other people describe their experience.

If I say one thing, there are generally five escorts who could tweak it a little bit to be more accurate, five escorts who would disagree at least slightly, at least one who’d disagree completely, and five who would be willing to tell their own story to illustrate the point.  We don’t always agree on things, but we’ll invest the time and energy to explore it thoroughly, and when we disagree, we try to reach consensus.

We tend to be respectful listeners.  We work at understanding each other’s perspective, although we’ll argue our points vehemently at times.  With the points of unity for a guide, we look for middle ground.  And we can agree to disagree without hard feelings.

A couple of weeks ago on the sidewalk, I got into an argument with one of the anti’s ~ one of the protesters. Now, this is mostly against my principals, usually I am all about “non-engagement.”   And there’s a reason for that.

When I start talking with one of the protesters, I almost always end up angry and frustrated, tempted to say inappropriate and unhelpful things.  So I’m better off not doing it.

But this time, I got sucked in.  He ~ A ~ was talking about the Bible, and a couple of other escorts were arguing with him too, and I just couldn’t resist jumping in.

Of course if didn’t end well, and eventually ~ after maybe 5 minutes ~ I had to walk away from him.  The only redeeming feature of the whole conversation was that while he was talking to me, he wasn’t talking to the couple of clients standing on the corner waiting for the clinic doors to open.

Later, I was trying to figure out why it was so frustrating, why I ended up not being able to tolerate it any longer than I did.   I’m sure part of it is my own issues ~ there is no logical reason why it should bother me if he thinks women should be submissive to their husbands.  I’m certainly not going to marry him.  His opinion is just that.  His opinion.

I know that his interpretation of the bible is also “just that.”  One interpretation.  And I’m grateful for people like Seminarians for Choice, who help me remember that.  I’m not schooled well enough in the Bible to argue effectively with A.  It’s nice to know people who are.  {See their blog here.}

I think the thing that frustrates me most about trying to discuss things with A is that he is not really interested in hearing or understanding.  He is just waiting for the opportunity to make me see I’m wrong.

And I probably do the same thing back to him.  The difference is, I don’t care if he actually agrees with me or not.  I just want him to accept that it’s ok for me not to agree with him.

Does that make sense?  I’m fine with him thinking whatever he wants to think.  I just don’t want him to try to impose it on me, to insist that his way is the only right way.

And yet.  That’s exactly what he does believe.  So he’s trapped by his belief ~ he can’t be open to other possibilities, or even agree to disagree.  That is intrinsic to his belief system.

So really, the next time I’m talking to him, if there is a next time, I need to just listen.  Hmmm.   Not argue.  Just listen and understand his perspective.

I’m not sure I can do that very well, but I can make it a goal.  Not to argue, disagree, tell him why he’s wrong.  Just listen.

Because really, that’s part of what distinguishes us from the protesters.  Listening to people.  Respecting their words.

Well.

Listening.  Sometimes it’s easy.  Sometimes it’s a real challenge.  That’s ok too.

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