Many moons ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I had moxie. I took no shit. I had balls. I was not afraid. I don’t know where it came from, because I remember in junior high being the smallest in the class and scared of everyone. High school was different, I was not much taller but the dynamics were different and I don’t recall the bullying and cliquey crap being as prevalent. Which is unusual for high school I suppose, but my memory could be spotty.
I do recall my 20’s vividly. I was dating and head over stupid heels in LOVE with the absolute worst person I could have chosen for myself. He was adorable, and popular and funny, and so very loving when he wanted to be, but he was an alcoholic, an addict, a gambler and a cheater. From day one.
So my anger (mis)management skills started there, fighting with his ex to stay away from him, fighting with him to stay sober, fighting with drug dealers to stay away from him, fighting with his friends to stop enabling him, fighting with my parents to leavemealoneiknowwhatiamdoingandhelovesme!
It was ugly. There were bar brawls. Quite a few, I am ashamed to say. I threw a mean right hook back in the day, and I threw it often. Luckily for me, we did not carry guns and knives the way people do now. Surely, I would be dead if we had.
Fast forward to marriage (not to the above mentioned loser) where you fight over things like money and dishes and date night and jobs. I’ve never been one to back down from my husband, I have always had my opinions and beliefs and I don’t think he would have it any other way. When we got stuck on an issue, I would simmer and fester. I have been a seether, quiet and bitter for days, holding on to anger and resentment like it was the last thread I own. But those days are gone, thankfully. With age comes wisdom-and with therapy comes understanding, right? New ways of thinking and learning how to say ‘f@ck you, I am right’ without hurting someone’s feelings or diminishing their opinion. I’m kidding! But really, you learn after 16 years how to talk, say the hard shit, without it being the end of the world, or at least the end of the marriage. Right, honey?
But it is not so easy with everyone. The lessons you learn do not apply to everyone you come across and this was so beautifully written in the post by Janice Wilberg in her post http://redswrap.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/fighting-fair-in-a-sucker-punch-world/ . The last few years I have backed down, walked away with my tail tucked and words on the table and I regret it. I hung up my spine in some forgotten closet and forgot I had it. I put my voice in a box and let others speak for me. I have been ashamed of endings I could have prevented. In hindsight I was weak and vulnerable physically, and I let it make me weak and vulnerable emotionally and spiritually. I was losing my physical strength, and I let it hollow out the rest of me too. The only person I fought with the last few years, was me, and that’s a shame because I faced quite a few worthy opponents.
But today, today I have a spine. I will not throw punches, or shout and yell, and I may not even fight back, or say all the things I want to. But I am strong enough to know that I can, and what’s even better, I am strong enough to know that it in some cases-most cases-it is just not worth it.