“Don’t raise your voice to me like I’m you’re fucking child!”
*Cringe* Ah, hell.
My mother would’ve slapped me on my mouth had she heard me speak to my elders in such a fashion – my grandmother would’ve thrown her shoe. I had a fleeting, mid-tirade, thought – “this isn’t who I am.”
In retrospect I’m able to understand this is exactly who I am: a violence addict. But what does that mean?
Most importantly, I think it mean that violence will always be with me. It will dog my steps because it’s the mother’s milk I was raised on. To think for a moment that Gandhi or King didn’t get angry…well that’s just folly. Their achievement wasn’t that they were serene Buddhas every moment of the day, but rather that they were able to master themselves in the heat of the moment and downshift from violence to compassion. Non-violence is not a constant state of being,rather it is a moment to moment decision based on ethics that are grounded in the recognition of the dignity of the human.
The first step, every addict knows, is to admit you have a problem. No…it needs to really be engaged, we need to dig deep and understand what it means to be a person of violence.
- We’ve lost control of ourselves/emotions and the only perceived outlet is some form of violence.
- Violence is used to prove strength, courage and enhance a reputation of fearlessness
- We use violence as a means of mediation, coercion and conflict resolution.
- Violence colloquialisms and physical interactions as a form of affection.
- Violence as entertainment; movies, games, TV, sports, music, etc…
Yet, with every ounce of our being we’ll deny being violence. We have to face our violence, not with shame, but with a determination to correct the behavior. We need to address it on three levels:
How am I violent to myself? (I share with you some deeply personal things that I don’t articulate easily or often, some not at all.)
- I don’t like my body, and I beat myself up for being heavier than I feel comfortable with.
- I don’t like the way I look/dress and feel that I should make more of an effort to look “nice.”
- I don’t think I’m worth or deserving of good things and kindnesses beyond common courtesy.
- I get angry/frustrated over other people’ shortcomings/failures.
- I get angry/frustrated over my own shortcomings/failures.
How do I remedy this? How can I be patient and kind to myself?
- Remind myself of the things I like about myself
- Buy clothes that make you love yourself, and look NOT like shit.
- Resume the meditation from years ago of me hugging myself, and telling myself that I love me no matter what I do.
- Remember that I’m not a machine, not everything will be perfect. All I can ever do is give it everything I have.
- Remember that I cannot control other people, but I CAN control my own emotional landscape. The only person I hurt from getting angry and stressed out is myself.
So… I have a starting point to work on.
You’ll see me bouncing back and forth between the three levels, and my own personal reflections/workings on them throughout the blog.It seems that the further I go along with this blog the more expansive it gets with regards to my subjects.
Homelessness, Non-Violence, Theology. Interesting trifecta thus far, no?