I want to talk about domestic violence. I used to think of it only in the most obvious way. I myself was a victim of said violence, both as a child, and then again as an adult. I have lived through and swallowed the blood of more than one punch in the face. I also know it can be fatal as I have had friends who have lost their lives trying to please the perpetrator.
But for this post I would like to speak to a different sort of domesticated violence. When I use the term domesticated I am speaking of the intent to tame. When I use the term violence I am not talking about hitting or kicking, at least not literally. I am speaking of actions taken on a much more subtle level. Swift and intense force of a different sort. I’m talking about dismissive behaviors and character assassination. What do I mean by that? The many ways in which others dismiss those who refuse to join the herd. Their intent I believe to murder ideas that threaten their comfortable denial.
In my original family I was the identified patient. The crazy one. Like my father. Like my father’s mother. My mother had righteous dominion over the family and her opinion of both my dad and my grandmother was not good. Basically they were the cause of all her grief. Therefore to be compared to either was to be exiled from the family. By the time I left my parents violent alcoholic home, [at around 13 years old], I was nearly mute. Other than periodic outbursts of rage, when as my mother once admitted, someone would try to pull the wool over my eyes, I was switched off. I believed I was dumb. That anything I had to say was completely useless, or worse, totally nuts. Interestingly, I was not afraid to confront the physical violence. On more than one occasion I charged into the center of a bloody scuffle, like Joan of Arc, I was determined to fight for the rights of the oppressed. That warrior reaction earned me the title of bo-hunk, which was meant to imply that I was a simple-minded tyrant. This confused me and hurt me deeply. I believed, like Joan, that my determination to defend was about protecting the very ones who then labeled, betrayed, and abandoned me.
Today I think it was more about defending my gift of intuition and imagination. If I could somehow show them that what I thought, heard, and felt was not crazy, that I was only trying to help them all, I would then be legitimate. Unlike Ms Arc I could not blame God for what I perceived. My family was a group of godless savages. Our clan attempted to silence the Muse by diagnosing her as insanity.
It has taken years for me to gain the courage to once again speak my mind, my heart, freely. And yet I’m wary as a wild mare. My skin picking up the subtle reactions to my words and ideas, as I muddle through the dark loneliness of learning to listen for and trust my voice. At times I’m as frightened as I was way back then, listening helplessly as my father beat my mothers violent opinions out of her. Terrified he would kill her I also understood his desire to silence her self-righteous accusations. For they were as threatening to him as the gun he had shoved down her throat.
Image via Wikipedia