Back in my early 20’s, I was out late one night dancing at a club in the Meatpacking District. It had been a fun evening so far. My girlfriends and I made it past the velvet ropes and were in the middle of the dance floor.
We were feeling all the good feels that come with being young and alive – moving to the music in a crowd of celebratory strangers.
Then out of the crowd, a very drunk young man lurched forward to dance with me. He was skinny and rather wan looking, dressed in a rumpled suit.
He appeared as though he had gone from work (at some sort of tech company I assumed), to Happy Hour, to unexpectedly stumbling into a big drunk night out – winding up at the club.
As he quickly moved in on me, he was flailing his arms in strange circular motions, as though trying to corral me. His suit seemed to be moving at a different tempo though, giving the impression of a child swimming around inside his father’s work clothes.
When he landed just inches from my chest, I followed my instinct to put my hands up, and gently push him away.
On Getting Sold Out By Your Friend
Because this young man was so intoxicated and off balance, when I lightly pushed him away, he easily retracted back into the crowd. Kind of like a yo-yo getting drawn back after reaching the end of its string.
Thankfully, he got the message, and kept dancing several feet away. And I happily kept dancing to my own beat, with my personal boundaries intact.
At which point, my friend proceeded to sell me out.
My friend could see that the drunk young man was still focused on me, wanting to get close. She came over and said “he likes you! Let him dance with you!”
I said, “No, I don’t want to dance with him.”
“C’mon Ariel, look at him…(indicating his rather pathetic vibe)… just let him dance with you.”
“No I don’t want to.”
Still, she wouldn’t have it. She went over to the guy and pulled him back towards me, and put her hand behind my back, pushing me into him.
So as not to be overtly rude and rejecting, I tried to go with it. We swayed around a little, attempting to move together to the beat. Then without warning, he reached up and groped my chest.
Again, I pushed him away. This time with a bit more force.
He bounced back into the crowd and and lingered a few more moments, then started to move in again. “Get the fuck away from me!” I shouted. And off he went.
Someone Else’s Pathetic-ness is Not Your Responsibility
This is an overt example of a boundary infringement, and obviously the guy was out of line. But it’s not his behavior that I have the real problem with in this scenario. I instinctually knew to keep him at a distance.
What concerns me is this attitude that many women have – the one my friend displayed. It’s the attitude that when you have something someone wants, and they seem a little more pathetic than you, you owe them a piece of you.
As though you were a cherry pie that could be sliced up and shared.
I do see this commonly amongst lovely ladies when they are navigating pushy male attention. But by “beautiful” I am really referencing your inner light more than the height of your cheekbones.
Your beauty comes in the form of your brilliance, your great humor, your kindness, your stability, your inner wealth… your beauty is those qualities that are admirable and attractive in you. The qualities that draw people to you. The attributes that give you personal power.
Your Beautiful Attributes Are Yours Alone
Your beauty is not up for grabs! It’s not a pie that can be sliced up and shared. It is not your obligation to give it to others. And by giving it away to those who are taking without equally returning, you are engaging in self-betrayal.
Plus, by letting others take it whenever they want it, you are enabling their pathetic-ness. Which is not respectful of their potential to be beautiful too.
The human form you are living inside is the biggest gift you ever got. It’s the gift that allows you to be a part of this human experience.
If you happen to treat your form really well – if you feed it good food and exercise it… if you read it great books and engage in activities that ignite it with passion – amazing! You will have more and more beauty. And others will be drawn to you.
But in that moment, when you realize that you have the magnetic power of inner beauty, you must be extremely cautious. Because that’s when you might notice others don’t feel so hot, and a sense guilt can show up if you compare yourself to them.
When guilt arises, you are vulnerable to selling yourself out, or getting sold out by the world. This is when you might give yourself away for free to those who grab at you and pull you down to a duller level.
What those “pathetic” or beauty-hungry types really need to do, is get a hold on their own power and lift themselves up! Not grab you and take you down. You feel me?
How to Protect Your Beauty (and Dance Space)
So from now on, when the world takes note of your beauty and lurches towards you, stop for a second. Remember all the hard work you’ve done to keep your vibe high. There are so many ways you could have dulled down and checked out, but you didn’t.
Respect this human body you have the gift of inhabiting, and the work you’ve done to give love to it. Tune into the precious balance of self-care and boundaries it needs in order to shine bright.
And treat the sloppy gropers of the world with respect for their potential to get their own personal power going – by setting your boundary with them, and not letting them steal your light.
Now go forth and enjoy your beauty with zero apologies… it’s the best gift you can give us all.
PHOTOS: Published with permission from the stunning Sky Harrison (@skydreo)
Photographed by @taylorimans
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