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Today we are going to discuss carefrontation and doing what the fuck you want. The other day I was walking my dog in my neighborhood and if you know Brooklyn, you know that Brownstones are typically gated in the front. After the gate, there is a little curb or step that separates your yard from the sidewalk. My dog for whatever reason likes to use that curb like a tree. I’ve also seen other dogs use the curb like a tree. So, while walking my dog I heard a lady say miss, but I didn’t know who she was talking to and I kept walking. She reaches me and tells me not to let my dog pee on the curb. I tell her, no, this is a public space, and I will keep doing what I want. Now I was a little frustrated because 1. Lady STFU 2. If you know NY you know that it is dirty. 3. Where can my dog pee in a city with little to no trees?

I thought about that situation and I realized that though I don’t like confrontation. I've never shied away from it. My mom used to be confrontational, and I’d be subversive. When I first started working, white women used to try to walk over me and I’d never allow it. Even boyfriends, all of them wanted to design the relationship for me and I just never allowed it. The only problem I had with confrontation was the guilt I felt afterward. I always felt bad for speaking up for myself. about saying no, saying you can’t do that, and saying I am not going to do that. I’d even so far as to ask, why do folks think they can do this to me?

And I had to get settled with two thoughts 1. Understanding confrontation as carefrontation. 2. No one is singling me out, all humans want what they want and they convince, manipulate, or even try to use non-existent authority to get you to do things that are pleasing to them.

So, when I talk about carefrontation. I do so while recognizing my dramatic healing sister Ms. Iyanla Vazant. Mrs. Pop Pop my butt for Rosa Parks herself as the originator or user of this term. She defined carefrontation as caring enough for yourself to confront others when you and your boundaries are disrespected. I thought that was such a good concept and such a great space to place confrontation. Especially, for people who suffer from anxiety, are averse to confrontation, or folks whose parents taught them to feel bad once they declare or recognize their boundaries. These groups of people have been shown in some way or another that speaking up when they are hurt or violated is wrong or they will be retaliated against if they speak up. So, replacing confrontation with the carefrontation framework that does a lot of this group.

It changes the focus from the other and their response to your boundary or your no, into focusing on how you want to feel and how you want to be protected and cared for and loved. Carefrontation starts from the self. It says that I think of myself as gentle, as precious, or as valuable and I can’t allow you to muddy that up. I can’t allow you to think that this behavior is okay. I can’t allow you to think you have authority when you don’t. I can’t allow you to talk to me that way because I care for myself so so so so much and I want to preserve my gentleness. Carefrontation is from a place of love. You love yourself so much that with every interaction and space you enter in, you notify those around you of how you want to be treated. Because when you are treated well, you can give them your best. However, when you are treated unwell, you can’t give them shit.

Now carefrontation can be used in two groups. People who you love and strangers. People who you love can get tact, kindness, or the benefit of the doubt. However, you should still be strong in your resolve. You can’t allow people who you love to guilt you, anger you, or shame you out of your needs. For example, you have a girlfriend and she wants to set you up with different guys. You tell her your needs and though she states she will honor them, she doesn’t. In her mind, she knows best. So, she bypasses all of your standards to get you on a date with someone who she thinks is better for you. You go on the date and realize that he has nothing on your list.

Now, you have several options. 1. Sweep it under the rug and never ask her to set you up. 2. Have a phone call with her and tell her that while you appreciate her efforts, she did not listen to anything you said. So, you don’t want to do setups like that again. Or she can state the same thing and give her friend another chance to choose a date based on what she likes.

Option #1. Is an option when you don’t feel like arguing. You may not feel like arguing. However, it does articulate that your friend can bypass your needs.

Option #2 articulates appreciation, but it notifies the friend that she can’t bypass her friend’s standards like that again. Let’s say you choose option #2. Your friend gets offended and tries to shame or guilt you out of your needs.

People with loose boundaries and who are afraid of carefrontation may succumb to her guilt. They may even try to people please and say well I will be open to new things. Whereas people with strong boundaries, which I teach you about boundaries in the episode The Power of no, and aren’t afraid of carefrontation will insist that she respects your needs or we stop the process and topics regarding men and standards are off the table. That’s carefrontation. It’s you understanding yourself and helping people understand you as well. Now, if they don’t want to understand you, or your needs, or your boundaries, you probably don’t want them around you. However, when they do want to understand this and create space for it, all it does is create room for more love. Because everyone can give the best love when their boundaries and their being is respected.

The next group is strangers or associates. The truth is we live in an exploitative society that teaches us exploitative ways. And one of those nasty habits that strangers like to do is tell you or regulate what you should or should not do. And if you are a marginalized group, you will notice that strangers tend to feel most comfortable doing that to you. We know it is because of history and how folks commodify or demean our bodies. We know the legacy of that is folks truly believing they can control you. So, as a marginalized group member, it will feel like more people try to violate you than others and honestly that may be true. However, you can’t see that as a character flaw, or a presence issue, or a confidence issue, or any of that. That behavior is society's training and as infuriating as it may be and as tiring as it may be you will have to see it as a task you are stuck with for life.

Like brushing your teeth, telling people no, confronting them, and addressing strangers it will be a part of your life. You can do your part in teaching people against that type of behavior, but for now, be comfortable with carefrontation. Also with strangers, I don’t extend grace. Strangers can get abrupt no’s. They can get cursed the hell out. They can get my mean self because it takes a lot of gall to tell someone you don’t know how they should or should not behave. I can see if a person is doing something that impedes your humanity or happiness. But anything outside of that can get fiery rage, and hopefully, after they meet you they learn to leave other marginalized people alone.

The point of carefrontation is to get what the fuck you need. You are your best and sometimes only advocate. If you don’t speak up and have a healthy relationship with confrontation, you will suffer. We live in an exploitative society, that teaches us exploitative ways, and if you decide to lay on the floor I assure you that someone will have no problem stomping all over you!

Take care, and if someone is doing something that violates don’t hesitate to carefront them.



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