Shakespeare To The Rescue
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" is a line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It is spoken by Queen Gertrude in response to the insincere overacting of a character in the play within a play created by Prince Hamlet to prove his uncle's guilt in the murder of his father, the King of Denmark. - Wikipedia
I lived with my father and stepmother in the bay area my freshman year of high school. Prior to that I was living nearby with my mother and brothers, and he and my stepmother were living in SoCal where they ran their business and my father pursued his love of Shakespeare and acting.
My freshman year of high school was a mixed bag of highs and lows. The highs were mainly centered around my home life and the content of the classes I was taking. We were reading Romeo & Juliet in English class and I was taking pottery. It was a nice balance to the chaos and yuckiness of the business of being a teenager.
My relationship with my father revolved around our love of discipline. Discipline of the mind and body. He never seemed to miss an opportunity to grow or be better in these ways, and living under his roof made that all the more accessible to me. It was during this time that he introduced me to some of the principles he learned from studying Shakespeare.
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" This was the focus of my freshman year. We would test the principle with each other that if someone seems to be acting in any way outside the perimeters of their “norm”, perhaps there’s more to the story than meets the eye. We would use this principle in arguments with each other, testing both our own strength of character and our ability to remain calm, aware, and curious.
It was easy with my dad because trust and love were already a given, but as I applied this principle in my own life I came to places in conversations and relationships that really tested me. I’ve come to understand that in a relationship, in context, there could be four potential truths -
1. I in fact am the one protesting too much, therefore the onus is on me
2. The other person is protesting too much, therefore the onus would be on them
3. We are both protesting too much, therefore we both carry an equal amount of onus to ourselves and the relationship.
4. Neither of us is protesting too much, and we are simply carried away by imagination or other.
Today in my relationships, I still recognize this principle and apply it, but the difference is I’ve learned to do it quietly, strategically, and at my pace. My peace of mind and freedom are mine to protect, and that makes all the difference to me when I’m faced with a situation that doesn’t feel right or make sense to me.
I’m proud to see myself through the historical lens of my life’s journey. And that is worth every moment of pain and hardship that I endured while I worked to accomplish my goals. I’m proud of who I am because I know I earned it.