Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2023
Happy January. The first month of a whole new year. A time to set new goals, make resolutions, leave last year in the past. A clean slate.
Social media is always a wealth of posts shared for laughs, information, and most often, on my feed, inspiration. However, I am finding more and more that those intended inspirations are toxic as hell. The number of people in my network proudly declaring – warning, really – that they are “matching energies” has become overwhelming. So what’s the problem with that? I’m so glad you asked.
Most, if not all of us, were raised with some form of the Golden Rule. You know, treat others the way you’d want to be treated. Numerous belief systems have some variation of this rule, you’ve very likely heard it regardless of faith. So THAT my friends is the crux of the matching energies problem. Responding to someone’s behavior toward you in a way that reflects their treatment of you, rather than who you actually are is disingenuous and, very likely, petty. I say this as the majority of times an individual claims to be engaging in an energy match, they are doing so only to those they feel disrespected or in some way slighted by. I rarely, if ever, see or hear this in the context of being kind. It has become a practice in returning slight for slight, creating a near-obsession with getting even and perpetuating the behavior they are trying to end. It’s also made a spectacle for others to applaud and encourage. Thanks, Facebook.
Rather than engaging in this behavior, on- or offline, wouldn’t it be more productive to be up front with how someone made you feel? Telling a person they offended you, rather than going right for a return offense seems a more logical step one. It also leaves room for clarification of intent. Every person is entitled to feel the way they feel about the words and actions of others toward them, intention never invalidates how something is received and processed. However, every person also should be given the opportunity to learn they offended and offer apology, not that they will. Sometimes the way you feel about what someone has said or done is exactly what they intended. In which case, there is likely no apology coming.
There is absolutely no merit in being a doormat, allowing people to walk all over you, or treat you unacceptably. Trust me, I’ve been there. However the alternative isn’t stooping to their level. I am in no way trying to tout myself as any kind of expert here. But, I have in recent years discovered the joy of setting boundaries. I define the parameters for what is and is not acceptable behavior toward me. There is nothing forcing me to accept the unacceptable with a smile. I am allowed to be hurt, insulted, angry, etc. and walk away from it with a clear and resounding NOPE! Not even a No, thank you. I don’t owe politeness or anything else to those who refuse to accept my boundary.
There is a secondary issue I have with this whole matching business. In letting those you’re interacting with dictate your behavior you lose all consistency of self. When the answer to the question “who are you?”becomes “well, that depends on who I’m with,” that’s a big red flag. Do you even know you?
While it’s not the same thing, I am linking another over-shared thing I see via social media these days as equally problematic: most zodiac related posts. I definitely read my horoscope on occasion and even sported my sign as a tattoo for a while. It’s all in good fun, it has never and will never control my life- hence the cover up. What I’m referring to is the posts declaring the star signs are the reasons for awful behavior. Ugh, how very Capricorn of me. Seriously though, like the matching energies, defaulting to zodiac traits to explain or justify behavior is just another way to refuse responsibility for your actions. Because, again, I rarely observe this in connection to positive traits, its mostly the negative or hurtful ones. Reflecting someone’s behavior back at them or shrugging off something you said or did as an unconscious fault of your star sign that others should excuse only shows a lack of accountability. How can anything ever be your your responsibility if the cause is external – other people, the stars, universe, whatever. Totally not your fault, right? Wrong. Regardless of what anyone else says or does, the position of celestial bodies at the time of your birth, or today, you are still responsible for your words, actions, and reactions and should be held just as accountable for them as you expect others to be.
No offense to those who follow the zodiac and/or do any type of energy work. You do you.
Oh, and yes, if you caught the reference, I am a Capricorn. My birthday is this month. This year, I will find the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything….
Kidding. But, if you get THAT reference (without Google!) you not only know my age, but you’re pretty damn cool.
How about we use this New Year to do better, to be better, or the best, versions of ourselves that we can be? This includes doing the bits that might be hard to do, like admit fault and apologize; set boundaries or cut ties that are overdue for severing, and walk away without getting the last word. Also, let’s not call this a resolution. I hate that. Let’s call it what it is: self-improvement. This is an ongoing process not limited to start and end on certain dates. Every day we have choices, to act or be reactive, to grow or remain stagnant. To let others determine who we are or to be genuinely ourselves. Which is kind of beautiful isn’t it? Don’t wait for a new year, start when you’re ready and keep it going.
About The Author:
Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits for over the last 20 years, currently with a food-related Philadelphia nonprofit. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then she’s worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in -and on the covers of- multiple print and digital publications. Over the years she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for local Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.
In addition to her food insecurity-related work, she has also volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even on the events team of a local brewery, pre-pandemic.
You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once.
To access additional articles by Kitchie Ohh, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/memories/