When it comes to emotion, I’m usually all in: I laugh loud; love hard; and bring the phrase “seething with rage” to a comparison of the sun’s surface being a nice place to get a tan.
I come by the last trait honestly, and probably genetically.
My mother is a redhead, and like all stereotypical redheads has flash fire anger that comes out and is over, with the occasional spew of lava. The trick was to be out of arm’s reach, or to be able to try and redirect the bull with a flick of the cape to a convenient sibling.
Father on the other hand has a long fuse: it takes a LOT to get him angry; however, when that fuse hits, he becomes a cold fusion reactor. His eyes seem to change color, and by some Jedi mind trick, he could mentally lock you in place; then move simultaneously in slow motion, yet instantaneously traverse from his location to yours, and fill your personal space with the totality of his quietly, raging presence. It wasn’t that he would hit – though I remember each rare swat from him in detail – it was the PROMISE of SOMETHING vague but unpleasant that would happen, up to and including the elimination of your entire existence in the universe, down to the last teddy bear.
Lucky me has both types of temper.
Anger can be a good thing, giving you a quick burst to try and move past a situation; some survival skill, to give rage/strength to climb obstacles and kill sabertooth tigers and shit. The problem is, when you can’t release it properly, it ends up getting banked down: embers and coals hidden beneath ash.
There are those landmark moments, the epiphanies from God; from your spirit; your higher power – whatever you call it. Most people hear them during a halcyon moment of calm and peace, perhaps having a coffee alone on the dock while at the cottage, or holding a newborn, or after kissing The Right Person. There is sudden clarity of thought, and an inspiration of purpose, making life all together right again.
In addition to my parents’ anger, I’ve got a third setting that a lot of people in my life have sensed, but few have witnessed: righteous fury. It’s a major driving force that allows me to do my work day in and day out: the ability be so angry about an unjust situation, that I will try to simply melt through obstacles & traps that are causing others to gnaw their own limbs off, or lie down and die over.
It’s the cold polite rage I can use on an incompetent professional from another agency, because I know how the system works, and can use this ability to imply “if you don’t fucking cut my client some slack, I will not only bump this up to your supervisor, I will make it my personal vendetta to have your ass fired, and if you are a unionized entitled prick, I will ensure that the union steward knows that you are the type of entitled prick that the public absolutely hates, and gives the face of unions a bad rap and lack of sympathy, because FUCK YOU you won’t stop filing your goddamn nails long enough to type in the case number, and realize that a dying person is showing up on your screen, and I will make you suffer because of it” while still being recorded for quality assurances purposes as having been politely professional. It’s a gift.
A moment of that level anger has been applied only once within: a self-cleaning oven turned on for the first time, to clear away then 35 years of build-up.
Like a reversed rainbow through the prism, all the different excuses I had told myself and false hopes I had had were suddenly turned to the pure light of truth, and I could hear the voice of clarity for myself. The voice whispered, “This is wrong, and it will never change. It’s DONE.”
My mother crossed The Line when she told me after Jaymz died that he was in hell, by virtue of him in being gay. Well, she didn’t say it: GOD said it…it’s written down…she was just passing the message along.
My mother – the person who is supposed to love you unconditionally – cast her stone, in the name of her god against my dead mate – the only person I instinctively knew did love me unconditionally – and in doing so, let me know that there was absolutely no use in trying ever to reconcile who I am, with her world view.
I have wasted so much time in worry; I have wasted potential family relationships, by avoiding my own; and I have wasted energy on a false hope that one day that there would be this beautiful made for TV special reconciliation. Stupid me, what was I thinking?
I have forgiven, and forgiven, and forgiven…but I have not been able to forget in the past, and that last time I never will let go of. And crossing The Line – not a line, The Line – is a one-way trip: as straight down drop off the cliff, with me not hesitating to step on any desperately clinging fingers in order for it to be a smooth transition…
I am sure I still love my mother. In a way, I feel sad that she will never grow past the tiny piece of where she always was, but it is no longer my problem. I will be polite and cordial and even seemingly friendly with her, just as I would when trapped by a boring friend of a friend at a cocktail party.
After all, I still have hope of having a great relationship with my father.