News To No One

I’m scrappy. At 5’0″ 106 pounds dripping wet, I’m scrappy.

It’s in my blood.

I grew up hearing stories about my mom eating beans and cactus as her only meal. How she walked miles to get to school. How she had to sling rocks at the school children that threw rocks at her and her sisters on their way back home (my mom had better aim than any of them), how her own mother snuck away on Sundays with her 7 children to church because her husband didn’t like her going, how she defended her daughters right to an education because her husband didn’t agree.

Those stories along with the stories of everything else my family endured just to coexist on this earth burned deep in my passions.

Why didn’t they just leave you alone?

Why couldn’t she leave her husband if he made her so unhappy?

Why would someone belittle you like that?

That coupled with my own moments of complete lack of power early on, left me with a “I have to defend my territory less I get walked all over on” mentality. Ask anyone who knows me well. I’m stubborn and you do not want to get me angry.

Sometimes scrappy gets me places. Like the time a business that replaced a windshield, charged me twice and was adamant that they had only retrieved the funds once.

Or when I have to make my physical boundaries abundantly clear.

There are occasions that call for a strong, go all in,  trumpets blazing approach.

But for as many times as scrappiness has served me, it’s also hurt me.

And I haven’t learned to turn it off at will.

I decided a long time ago that I could not be a violent person. I saw first hand how violence altered the course of life for various family members. The grandparent that lost his memory after being assaulted, the uncle that lost his ability to walk, the family members imprisoned for everything from assault to capital crimes. And the children impacted each time. Violence is like a nuclear bomb, it explodes and leaves a radius of destruction around it.

But just because I decided to not be physically violent doesn’t mean I don’t get angry, or that I’ve learned to express that anger in a healthy way. Contrary, I get angry a lot, but instead of a physical attack, my attack is verbal. I’m short, ill tempered, and defensive when I feel I need to be. Sometimes I do it without even noticing that’s what I’m doing to the other person.

But lately I’ve been more aware of it, and also noticing that I’ve been losing my cool more often. I can’t remember being this angry, all the time, 9, 7, 5, 3 even 2 years ago. Is it the situation, is it the lack of socialization, is it the grind of trying to build yourself up and feel like you’ve gotten nowhere after 2 years? I’m tired of being angry, it’s exhausting, arguably more exhausting than crying.

Except for when it’s not.

Anger helped me survive 8 years living with a monster and then 10 years having to hear how that monster deserved a chance to be in my life. Anger got me out of that nightmare, anger got me to college and anger kept me there. Anger got me in the door to places to get the experience so I could get a job earning what a recruiter told me that even people in the workforce 10 years don’t make. Anger made me never beg any man to take care of me.

Anger got me places. It’s sure as hell gotten me a lot farther than if I just accepted my fate. So perhaps it’s hard for my brain to decipher what’s healthy, goal achieving anger and what’s just anger for losing my cool.

Some people think we (other people) are set in our ways and can’t really change. But damn isn’t that a boring and frightful life? I sure as hell hope I am not this same person 5, 10 years down the road. I imagined a more down to earth zen kick ass version of myself and less the bitter hag I feel like.

I want to be able to evolve, because if I’m being honest, I’ve been using all my angry energy on the losing my cool type that I don’t think I have any left for the goal achieving type of anger. When I think about what I want to accomplish in the future, I can see a year out maybe, but past that I don’t have the bandwidth to process what that would even look like.

So I recognize I have plenty of steps I have to take if I want to be able to evolve. The first one was saying this out loud. I started writing this and kept it in my drafts over 2 weeks ago. Who wants to admit they feel explosive inside?

I haven’t figured out step 2 yet. In the past I’ve figured out my next move after a looong run and a heavy heart. Eventually the runner’s high took over and I used the endorphins and the pain fresh in my memory to figure out what steps a-z needed to be. Maybe it’s about time I start that marathon training.

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