Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday's Child - Don't Make A Scene

Hello everyone. Thanks so much for reading these and for your thoughtful comments. I know it's difficult, but you've all managed to find good words and I appreciate it.
If you find yourself stuck, just say that you read it and I'll be happy.
I've added a video of Crescent Falls at the end of the post. I am sure there's a metaphor just waiting to be found, but I'll leave it where it is. The video is strictly for entertainment purposes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Don’t Make A Scene

I’ve been trying to write a post on anger for several days now. It did not want to be written.
I feel it, but it seems to be an almost dispassionate type of anger. As if it really isn’t connected to me
I wondered about that and gave it a great deal of thought. I can express rage, especially if I’m being mistreated by a corporation or the like.
I contain my anger. I am calm. I use my vocabulary and their own policies to get the matter settled. Most people would say this is the correct thing to do and I’m hard-pressed to disagree.
It’s not like anger and I are strangers, but in a way we are. Anger equals insanity to me. And violence, too. It’s what I learned.
All those years of my sister flying off the handle over nothing has ingrained this relationship deeply within me. It’s made it difficult for me to express it any way but coldly and through tightly clenched teeth.
Being mad didn’t help me out one bit when I was young. It led to retaliation. If I got mad and kicked at my sister to keep her from hitting me, I simply got it worse from her. Seething isn’t healthy, but at least I didn’t get hit.
And I can always hear my mom’s voice, “Don’t make a scene.”
I’ve disconnected myself from the passionate side of anger. Coldness is easy. Hot anger is difficult. I can sense it inside me. It’s hidden deeply away after all those years of not standing up for myself. Of not making a scene.
I hear my sister screaming and I hear the slammed doors and stomped feet that punctuated my childhood. That’s what hot anger is to me and I want nothing to do with it
I don’t scream and I don’t make a fuss. I have trouble doing anything that in any way makes me seem like her. I was a tomboy growing up. Although that was natural to me, I may have emphasized it more than was necessary. If my sister was the role model for feminine, replete with screaming and stomping and slamming, then I wanted no part of it.
I got past that enough to get along in the world and I can get mad and keep my cool and get matters solved. But somehow I feel like I’ve been cheated.
I want to be able to have and show anger. I’m a writer. We’re supposed to show, not tell. How can I when it’s my learned response to step away from what I’m feeling?
I swallowed anger and hurt all those years so I wouldn’t draw any attention to what was happening. I decided back then that the best course of action was to ignore it. That meant not acknowledging anger or pain or anything else.
I clenched my teeth. I still do. My jaws are usually tight. I can be upset and work through it. But it doesn’t touch me very deeply.
I’m not sure if I could ever lose myself in a rage. I don’t know if I want to, but it would be nice, maybe even healthy, to know that I can.


the Bag Lady said...

Love the video of the falls, dfLeah! But holy catfish, that water looks cold....

Leah J. Utas said...

Methinks it was bloody freezing, dfBag Lady.

Missicat said...

Beautiful video...I so do need to get away somewhere peaceful!

I understand you on the anger issue - my family was all about not making a scene also. Sometimes I wonder if that is healthy.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks Missicat. Sometimes one really ought to make a scene.

Reb said...

Lovely video, made me cold though just to look at it. Or maybe it's the insomnia?

I too wonder if being told "don't make a scene" is a really good idea? Along with "we don't air our dirty laundry in public" and other gems, it seems to just make for a stifled bunch of people. I am not sure that the alternative is any better though. After all we have all seen at least a few minutes of Jerry Springer! *shudder*

Leah J. Utas said...

Oh, I want no part of the Jerry Springer School of making scenes. Ewwww.
It was cold, Reb. That stream comes right out of the mountains.

Thomma Lyn said...

Oh wow, Leah -- what a beautiful video of Crescent Falls!

And yup, the symbolism there, relative to your post -- I relate, too. I spent years learning not to make a scene because others did makes scenes, and even though I've learned, as I've grown up, how to get angry when I need to, I'm still prone to bottling myself up, swallowing anger and hurt (except for channeling it into the stories or music I write and transmuting it into something different).

Thomma Lyn said...

ACK, typo -- meant to write: "others did make scenes"

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Thomma Lyn. I remember how much you like waterfalls. I was thinking of you when I made it.
It's good to learn to be angry. Life is for learning.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

df Leah,

The symbolism of the Falls as relates to your experience is wonderful. Your mind is so creative.

It is impressive that you are able to recall the events of your childhood, which will surely lead to healing. I think blocking things out is what causes pain and physical illness down the road.


Leah J. Utas said...

df Terrie - Thank you for your kind words.
My long-term memory has always been pretty good. I've discovered the more I cast my mind back the more things come to me. I use meditation and self-hypnosis for relaxation and focus sometimes, too.

Crabby McSlacker said...

I think there can be a good balance between "never show your anger" and "let it all hang out," and there are problems with either extreme. I think people should be encouraged to learn to accept their emotions and experience them-- but not let emotional outbursts become destructive. Learning to function appropriately when angry or sad is healthy and part of growing up--learning never to allow yourself to experience the emotions, not so healthy.

Sorry again to hear how inappropriately you were treated growing up.

Leah J. Utas said...

Wise words, Crabby. Appropriate expression is difficult, but I intend to get there.

Penelope said...

Book Recommendation: "The Dance of Anger" (I don't remember who wrote it.)


Leah J. Utas said...

Penelope, thanks for the recommendation. You're a very wise pussycat. I read "The Dance of Anger" years ago. Maybe I should give it a second look.