“Who’s got it figured out? M-A-N-I-P-U-late”

Big thanks to The Dead Weather song, ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’  for the title of this post.  Sort of a 21st century nod to Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T,  I think.

I’ve always liked the intensity and sarcasm of this song.  But somedays it hits me on a deeper level.  I think these are the days when I feel particularly soaked in manipulation;  like an unconscious pawn on someone’s human chess board.  The hardest part of this feeling is the way in which I can be totally oblivious to it, but the moment it becomes clear, I am P-I-S-S-E-D.

The little imaginary DJ I call “ipod shuffle” played The Dead Weather for me this afternoon on my way to preschool pickup.   I turned it up loud, maybe too loud for the delicate north Santa Monica standards, yet loud enough for me.  Thinking about The Dead Weather always makes me remember my husband was once in a band called Red Weather.  This was before I knew him.  It’s nice to have a man with a past.

Anyway, this afternoon,  ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’  left me feeling tender; with a melancholy angst reminding me of all the subtle ways I feel manipulated these days.  I’m a firm believer in the concept that people can only treat you as you let them, so I’m not trying to fling the blame like chimps at the zoo.  It’s just that in the moment, when you feel this kind of agitation, it’s easiest to be reactionary, shout out,  point “the” finger,  and hate someone else.

Like any true child of the 70’s, I turn to lyrics to make sense of my feelings and to help lift me out of self-obsession.  And today, this song did not disappoint.  “Who’s got it figured out? -M-A-N-I-P-U-late”  is only part of the story.   The other side is “Treat me like your mother”.  In other words, R-E-S-P-E-C-T.   I believe this is what the chimps at the zoo would ask for if they could, to express their outrage at feeling caged.

To feel like a pawn is one thing.  To recognize the feeling and allow it to continue is another.  Today it became clear that I can chose the role of the pawn, an expendable front line for someone else’s life; or I can chose to be my true self, in charge of my own game.  The queen.

-jrb

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