princess jasmine decides to not trust aladdin; a tale of risk tolerance

“Why don’t you just trust me?”

Ah, why not? What’s the worst that could happen, right? But you are asking a paranoid, hedonistic kitten. You don’t want to know where her mind immediately is drawn towards, but it likely involves her untimely and unnecessarily graphic death. “But I just wanted you to come over and meet me–” And, no. Sorry.

Okay, but life is risk, so why bother trying to avoid it? Most of us, at some point or other, are forced to interact with other humans. And that often brings us into the realm of pain, as well as pleasure and happiness. This, as they say, is life. And, while I don’t disagree with that…

“Do you trust me?”

Suppose, when Aladdin said, “Do you trust me,” Princess Jasmine gracefully responded, “Hell, no,” and turned round to spend the evening with her trusted pet tiger. Maybe she realized trusting him the first time had been dumb and thanked God that nothing bad had happened– but God knows she wasn’t making that mistake again!

Oh, but then she’ll be alone forever! Okay, yes…but just maybe there is a happy medium between jumping off a balcony and spending her days a spinster with her cats (or, tiger)?

I may not be the greatest risk taker, but I also have a good life.

Even the promise of a great deal of pleasure is sometimes not worth the chance of the slightest measure of discomfort. I am a hedonist, but I am no glutton. I only need so much pleasure to be happy– and I’ve already gotten that. So, yes, when you offer me something theoretically amazing, I am going to respond with caution. To mix up fairytales, I’d rather not eat the poisoned apple.

I’ve grown accustomed, you see, to a certain degree of comfort and security in my life. Some days, I feel a sense of missing out. I won’t pretend I never think, but what if I just take off to Amsterdam and wander the red light district. Oh, the stories I could tell! Or I could end up in a ditch, my little voice reminds me. And, so, I pause. It doesn’t mean I won’t take the risk, but I will think about it. Because I have people that count on me. And my wellbeing is no longer just about me.

I want to be that confident, flashy self, but I don’t want to get hurt. I know what can happen, and I’m not so naive that I think it can’t happen to me (and, no, I did not used to be this way. I used to wander city streets alone, late at night, and I’m lucky that I emerged unscathed. Not every woman is so lucky.)

But it’s not your fault if something bad happens to you, you might tell me.

I’m perfectly aware of this. But that doesn’t comfort the people I’ve left behind, does it? Some days I worry about how others percieve me. Am I too cold, distant? Do I put up too many walls and barriers to get to know me?

My friends assure me I’m just fine. They see me carry out plenty of adventures! Even the little, simple adventures. Like when I joined my brother to walk around a volcanic base in the pouring rain– when everyone else huddled in the cafe, drinking hot coffee. It was only the two of us. I felt like we might have been alone on the moon, no birds, no creatures. Just the wind and rock and rain. And that moment will never come again.

Yes, I want adventures. Yes, I want new connections. I am simply not a thrill seeker. I will say yes to adventures when they feel right, and I will cautiously ease into adventures that feel mostly right. I save my risk taking for when I have my friends, my partner, by my side. Especially with those that I have at home, counting on me to return at the end of the day.

Patience is, in fact, a virtue to some of us.

It’s not a virtue born to me, but I value it today. I’m…happy. Or more accurately content. I’ll stop to smell the flowers, not because someone told me you’re supposed do that, but because why not? It’s pleasing to me.

And it pleases me to protect myself, my life, and my tribe. So, sure, it might take more than a moment to trust you. I might make you wait until I meet you the second time to jump into bed with you– and it might be months later! But I’m in no hurry, because the space between that first moment and the next? It doesn’t feel like empty space to me. It’s just the rest of my life moving along.

I understand that for many, the wait is too long. I won’t ask you to do anything you don’t want to do, but I hope your life is full enough that you have plenty to do while we figure each other out. And it’s not like I will give nothing at first, just not nearly as much as I’ll give after we’ve built our connection.

For that, my soon to be friend, you will have to wait.

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