diagonal smile, green eyes.
welcome, neighbor. i hear your sighs
a story of offense
by a unicorn.
petty, selfish, bad
humor in offense.
a story of offense
by a negotiation.
inaccurate, unaccountable, irresponsible
safe in comprehension
Abuse comprised part of the life in which I participated for some of my existence. In years past, I felt an emptiness and couldn't understand why. I did the stuff I thought I was supposed to do. When things went awry, I looked for ways that I could alter my actions to help life go better for everyone. I thought that's what people did. This mindset eventually got me into some hurtful situations that feed my assertive present.
Rachel Simmons wrote an excellent book about psychological aggression, Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls. It talks about power dynamics in adolescent female social circles. According to her site, Simmons now speaks openly about how she was once a target for aggression and how she later acted aggressive toward others. While I don't agree with all of what I read of her stance on the college admission "industrial complex," I find great meaning in her honesty about her experience with aggression. It relates to what I mentioned in my last post -- that the abused among us likely abused at one point. Getting out of the aggression/victim pattern involves hard work. I've spent a lot of time educating myself about different methods of communication, and I regularly practice with my sets of tools.
We control ourselves in ways that are sometimes not visible to us. Sometimes the habits are good ones -- social niceties that oil creaky human interactions. Other times, the habits keep us from connection. Challenge presents because we value freedom and yet we are bound to particular types of regulation. The Wild West is fun to watch on television, and the truth of today's society is that we aren't allowed to shoot others when they harm us. Yes, some people get away with murder. Others learn how to address conflict. I find that confidence via a dominance or submission technique manifests in moral stances and entertainment.
B.B. King's recent death prompted many of my area's radio stations to play B.B. King songs. When I listened closely to his lyrics, I noticed how some of them display male chauvinism. Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline voiced lyrics that perpetuated the other side of this power dynamic, an idea of romantic love as a cure for misery. They sang about romance and love in the language of their eras. King, Holiday, and Cline came of age in generations with social mores that varied from today's guidelines. They sang before the 1994 Violence Against Women Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They sang when it was legally acceptable to beat up your wife or children when you felt angry. Their audiences lived in times when it was legal to deny someone entrance to a store based on personal whim. Some of modern music reflects imbalances similar to those illustrated by King, Holiday, and Cline. Vocalists sing about power through money and sex.
The idea of pity for another person is another power technique that leads to false confidence. When one declares pity for another person, one indicates moral superiority. Pity conveys "my ideas are better and you would be better off if you saw or did things my way." It says, "the person for whom I feel pity is wrong and I'm right, and I can go on my merry way and act exactly as I do because the person for whom I feel pity should be the one to change."
It reminds me of a conversation in which I recently participated. My conversation partner occasionally says words that I perceive as vicious. He says them in reference to one of his female relatives. I know some of the backstory, and the female relative took advantage of him early in their lives. When I ask him about his past with her, he insists that he's "over it." When he first said a vicious statement about her, I ignored it. I told myself that he had his reasons, and I should allow him to be who he needs to be. The second time he said a vicious statement, I felt conflicted. I knew that he had his reasons, and I also didn't like how I felt when he said those words: uncomfortable. I didn't say anything to him about it. Recently, he said a third vicious statement. I felt too offended and annoyed by his callous denial to ignore it. When I brought it up to him, he turned my words about him into words about me. In years past, I would have acquiesced at that point. It would have gone something like this.
Well hello there.