Thursday, September 20, 2012

Warriors and Peacemakers


                                          Warrior and Peacemakers

   I have always believed that there are two kinds of people. There are Warriors and Peacemakers. I always knew I was a warrior. Everything in my life for as far back as I could remember was a battle. But, I always wanted to be a Peacemaker. My younger brother was a peacemaker. He was friends with everyone. Never knowing a stranger or an enemy. I envied him that. Just as he could talk to anyone about anything, he could overlook any slight. I was not made that way. I was the first into battle. Even when there was no fight to be had, I would create it. There was something in me that would not lay down my armor. And because I had fashioned it from my youth, worn it so long, it was stuck to me. An outer shell keeping the world at bay. I always held back. Took the temperature of the room when I entered. I watched people, especially men. Very few got through my defenses. My children were the first. How could I resist them? They were tiny little miracles. Little people that ruled my world and brought down my guard.

  Through failed marriages and lost friendships, my armor grew. Keeping my inner self unknown. I could express anger. That I had down to a T.  I was always ready to swoop in when needed. A bully at school. I was there. A mean PE teacher, I would go to the mattresses. I once made a French teacher cry.  Right in the middle of a meeting. I pulverized he with my words. She had never stood a chance. I turned her own words against her and made her out for a fool. I once caused a girl at a fast food joint to quit on the spot. She had been wrong. They were always wrong, and I took that opening and poured out a rage that was not warranted. My children loved that I had their back in any situation, but the other side of that coin was that I went off on the deserving and the undeserving equally. I had no ability to judge the measurement of my reactions. Once I let out that rapid dog that my parent's had given me, I could not reel it back in. I embarrassed them at times. Someone would bump me with their shopping cart and I would shove it back at them. It was without thought. The monster that lived under my skin did not need much justification to rear back and take a violent swipe, all ragged claws and gnashing teethe.

  Again, it was my children who tamed it. It is not that I did not feel the rage when they misbehaved or were mouthy. No, I felt it and it breathed heavy in my chest. A real pressure. Physical and terrifying. I turned it inward. I clenched my jaw and walked away. I knew that I had to master the beast. I had to learn to calm myself. It was not so different from when I was a child. It was anger then,but fear. I would talk myself through it. Rocking forward and back talking to myself. Letting myself know that it was alright. It was going to get better. Things would change. They had to. I would not be my parents. My children would not fear me. I am not a violent person, I was never a hitter, but I could raise my voice to an alarming degree. It did not happen often. Usually just to get their attention. If you screamed all the time, no one would listen to you. I had learned that from my mother. The louder she was, the less we listened. I would talk through my anger. I would sit which ever child was behaving just like children do, pushing boundaries and testing barriers and talk to them. I would talk until there were no more words. Until I did not have that urge to smack them. I told them, I always told them. I said I was going to use all my words, explain things from every angle, because I really wanted to spank them. I was physically angry with their behavior. They were very patient with me. They would listen, or pretend to and we would get through it. Usually it would end with tears and hugs or laughter. My children had me pegged. I could not stay angry, if you made me laugh or smile it was over. Like magic whatever had caused the heavy cloak of my temper to weight down my spirit would lift.

  I am not proud of my temper or the damaged it caused. Words had power and I knew how to wield them. I have tried to take off the armor that shields me from the hurt of the world, but also from me love. It cannot let one in and keep the other out.

  And so I try. Somedays I fail. I strike back when I feel a threat, either real or perceived. And I feel a failure. A loss. It is a constant struggle. The warrior in me still hears the call of battle, but I am learning to be a peacemaker. With my children and my husband but mostly, with myself.

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