Thursday, August 16, 2012
Standing with a fist
In the movie Dances with Wolves, one of the main characters is a woman who was given the Indian name Stands with a Fist. That could have been my name. Should have been my name. I feel like I've been angry my whole life. Angry and standing with my fist raised, ready to do battle with whoever came my way. I was teased unmercifully by my siblings (in my memories, not theirs). I was a tattle tale, buck-toothed, cry baby who couldn't pronounce her R's. I remember being told to say Richard Rabbit Ran on a Raft over and over again by my older siblings. It came out Wichard Wabbit Wan ona Waft and then they would tease me for the mispronunciation of my R's. My little sisters favorite name for me was Bucky Beaver on account of my teeth. As I got older she started calling me "Miss 2x4 Head" because of what my mother referred to as my high and wide forehead (Lolly, you'll always have to wear bangs). I remember my feelings being hurt a lot and my mom telling me toughen up, that I was too thin skinned. I remember feeling lonely and alone in a house of 7 people. I can remember crying a lot as a child. I can also remember my mother singing a certain song to me whenever I did start to cry (which was all the time because of the teasing). The song was by Charlie Pride and the words I remember her singing to me go something like this: Tell me why baby, why baby,why do you cry baby, cry baby, cry baby, cry baby, why? It never made me feel better, it was more of a taunting song. I remember crying harder whenever she would sing it to me. So I don't imagine you will be surprised when I tell you that I married a man who likes to tease me. He always says: "I'm just teasing you. God! Can't you ever take a joke??" I do like to laugh and I do like a good joke. I just don't like it when the jokes on me or about me, or thinly veiled and designed to humiliate me. Brings back too many bad childhood memories of times that I should have defended myself but couldn't or rather didn't because I didn't know how. I have to wonder.... when did it became ok for me to let people treat me like that? Having my family members making fun of me and no one ever sticking up for me, not even my mom, must have done some damage to my psyche, yes? Or am I just too sensitive? Have I learned to always look for the negative, the hurtful, the painful? Have I always been so full of anger? Have I always felt the need to pummel someone? Have I always had my fists raised and clenched, ready to do battle? When did I become fueled by such large amounts of pure anger? As I've moved along in recovery this past year, I can feel the anger lifting. I can feel myself unclenching my fists, unclenching my jaw, relaxing my tense stance. I can feel myself wanting to trust but still holding back, still feeling afraid of the pain of being made fun of. Now when he teases me, I try to see if I see something sinister behind it or if he truly is trying to be light hearted and joking with me. Now when he gets angry, I try and let it wash over me instead of letting it destroy me. If I don't react then there seems to be no volcanic reaction between us. It's as if by me unclenching my raised fist, and letting go of my anger, it somehow has had an effect on his anger too. Learning to let go of my anger has been a lesson and a blessing for both of us. The miracles of the Alanon program never cease to amaze me.