PSAs ~ not brought to you by . . . .

Stories we tell ourselves continued ~

In addition to the stories we tell ourselves and others about major events in our lives, we have those 5 -15 second PSAs I mentioned in the last post. Unlike the PSAs (Public Service Announcements) you see on TV, your personal PSAs are not brought to you by the Ad Council, and they do you no service. Quite the opposite in fact: these are more like Poor Self-image Affirmation PSAs, and most of us have these ad spots airing in our heads like a bad commercial at least once a day.

In some ways, these PSAs are more detrimental to your story ~ your life ~ than the major motion picture event stories we tell. Case in point:

So, I was talking with some of my girls the other day (like you do), and the conversation came around to sex (like it does), and eventually, I opined that sex is something you want to take your time getting to, because it just makes things more complicated and confusing in young relationships, particularly those that aren’t (or aren’t yet) long term.

We talked about how sex should, at least sometimes, be a joining of two people soul to soul, mind to mind, and heart to heart, as well as body to body ~ how it should fulfill the old definition of two becoming one, so intertwined, each with the other, that it becomes unclear where one leaves off and one’s lover begins.

So much of the time, sex isn’t like that. So many times, for the woman, particularly, sex is a yielding, a giving in, a lesser of two evils. And if a woman, or a girl, is giving in to sexual demands, you can bet she’s giving in on several other fronts, too, though she may call it compromise or, more bluntly: what the hell? who cares?

And that’s one of those PSA’s we were talking about yesterday ~ not brought to you by the ad council.

In the case of this particular WTH sentiment, and I think the same probably applies to boys and men, the PSA is a shortened version of “go ahead and let him (her) do (say, think) whatever. Nothing I do (say, think) matters anyway, and no body cares, so I won’t either.” The underlying belief being that if you can convince yourself that you don’t care, it won’t hurt so much and/or you won’t be so scared.

This isn’t weakness; it’s self-defense.

But these are lines in a learned story ~ you’re telling it to yourself, but it’s not really your story. Most of these kinds of PSAs aren’t created in your head, even if you think you came up with them yourself. Something someone else said or did at some point, and often repeatedly, created those lines of your story; you simply internalized them and began reaffirming them as truth.

In a way, they are sometimes like the original PSAs because some of them, at least temporarily, serve a purpose. If you’re in a situation that you can’t or don’t know how to get out of, you will assemble what protections you can ~ and mental protections are harder to take away. Unfortunately, they’re also harder to get rid of once you no longer need them.

Instead, they morph into others of their kind: negative and insidious and just plain mean.

(Addendum: My friend Sherry remarked to me today that I ought to sign my blog posts, since it isn’t always clear who the author is when something like this turns up on fb or twitter or something ~ duh, ‘becca, as some of the fam might say  ~ so this is me, signing off . . . )

Until next time (and yes, there will most certainly be a next time) ~


Next time: “the bad things are easier to believe.”

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