The line I wrote yesterday about how “if the bark is big enough, I never have to use the bite” and “words bite” have stayed with me and run like a freight train all night long. It has started the tape rolling of my entire life, my relationships with everyone, and just how deep the rabbit hole goes in terms of the times I haven’t been able to walk away from a fight because I’d get so angry I couldn’t exhale. Years ago, I was filling out one of those ridiculous blog memes that are all the rage, and one of the questions was “how do you release anger?” Tongue in cheek, I answered, “you’re supposed to release it?” Now I’m not sure that was very funny.
I am one of those people that when I’m angry, you really don’t want to fight with me, but at the same time, I believe I also have the world’s longest fuse… apparently the exception to that being when I’m typing. I am much harder to rattle in person, using humor as a reflex because I don’t like confrontation and I’d rather joke my way out of it than just have a fight. I thought the way I popped off at Dana’s parents was in the moment, and last night realized that fight had been building for over a decade. It took me ten years to finally tell Dana’s parents what I thought of their treatment of her, and how that affected me as the best friend/daughter-in-law that they wouldn’t recognize as such. White-hot anger that had built from a single match overflowed, and I would have been dead before I let them “win.” However, I didn’t win a thing. Just cemented in my wife and her parents that my anger was dangerous in their world of using the buttons on their clothes to hold in their feelings.
In a way, though, I’m really glad it happened, because sometimes anger is exactly what needs to happen to get bullies to back down. They may never want to speak to me again, but they for damn sure started treating Dana better, and since that was the whole point of my anger, anyway, I suppose its purpose was served even as I was pushed out of family pictures. What it doesn’t serve is being able to reconcile, because I doubt that I would ever truly be accepted again by any of them. I spent our entire relationship worried (not without cause) that they thought I was a deadbeat, that I’d never make anything of myself, and when Dana said that, too, I didn’t know if that was her reality or theirs that she was parroting and I didn’t want to stay around to find out.
Dana minimized my writing, and if getting retweeted by Margaret Cho wasn’t impressive enough, I don’t know what would have been… I guess I need to start working on a novel that will win the Pullitzer Prize or something. But I hate writing fiction. I will get out a first chapter and realize there are plot holes all over and give up, because I’m not sure I’m wired for it. Lindsay is begging to know what will happen to Sarah Silverman, and honestly, I was thinking about her in the car yesterday, wondering what she was up to and if there was a storyline waiting to emerge. The only thing I know for sure is that Sarah is straight, because I don’t want her story to be about coming out, a reflection of me at that age. I want Sarah to be her own girl.
I love young adult fiction, and have never stopped reading it. For instance, I think I’ve read Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet at least 25 times, and that is not an exaggeration. I also read The Giver and Number the Stars by Lois Lowry frequently. Perhaps I don’t need to work on a Pullitzer, but a Caldecott or Newberry. I’ve never been unimpressed by reading a novel with that stamp.
But the entire point of this entry is that words bite, and the ones that say I’ll never amount to anything took a chunk out of my soul, and I am doing everything I can to refute that statement. Getting away from Dana & her parents’ shitty observations were the first step. The second is trying to meet people who’ve already accomplished great things as inspiration to keep going. The third is finding people who are interested in what I’m doing and who I am… relationships that aren’t tinted by the “you’ll never amount to anything” lens.
I would like to thank my glasses for that, because once I started to see differently, I began to see differently. I remember Dana saying that they made me look so hot that I was going to leave her, and that was the least of my worries… although now that I am beginning to start thinking about dating someone else in a dreamy, faraway sort of sense, it doesn’t hurt.
I am more than the sum of my parts, and am unwilling to let those words bite anymore. Those words that reinforced my belief that I was worthless, or at least, unworthwhile. I move into the future knowing that at heart, I am a good person with lots of potential, and the things done to me in the past to make me capable of such fight will melt over the years as I get further from the enormity of realizing that I was emotionally abused and now I’m an adult that needs to grow the fuck up and stop acting like an arrested teenager in an adult’s body. It was the key that unlocked every door to me, because I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I knew something was, but I couldn’t put my finger on it, and when I did, the dam broke. Anger spilled forth at people who never deserved it, or at least, even if the words were true didn’t need to come out that way.
Because my words bite just as much as everyone else’s.