I hate that I have such a difficult time holding my tongue.
As a teenager, it was a constant struggle. I would end up in screaming matches with my father, my ex-boyfriend and I were a mess together, and I would even regularly aggravate my boss. I’ve always had very strong, very contrary-to-my-family opinions, and I like for people to know when I’m unhappy. Over the last several years, I have learned to be more guarded, but every once and a while, disdain or frustration will slip out.
Over the last week, I have had such a difficult time controlling my temper and my emotions. This varies from a constant barrage of snide comments to a full-blown panic attack on Tuesday night. These things are not entirely out of the norm for me, but is seems as though the dial has been turned up and everything is suddenly bigger and more malevolent. One of the peculiar side effects of constantly defending myself against my palely misogynistic father has been that I have developed a sound reasoning system. That is to say that even though my emotions are going haywire, I can also step outside myself and analyse why.
My conclusion is simply that I am scared. I live most comfortably when I have information and I know how things are going to progress. It was largely the same with the miscarriage – not having had one before and not knowing anyone who did, I was unsure about the medical process and the future. Getting that information was extremely comforting, more so than anything else. Now there is a barrage of “new stuff” I cannot predict and I have a growing paranoia for driving alone at three o’clock in the morning through towns that have billboard-sized signs lording the results of the political election over everyone else, despite the fact that my county and state voted blue. In short, I’m scared. I’m scared about my future and my safety and my rights and I’m so tired and stressed and I’m nearing the end of my rope.
When I read today’s prompt, “filthy,” my immediate thought went to these things: I am tired of struggling paycheck to paycheck and I am tired of the filthy rich doing whatever they want without suffering ramifications for their immorality, and I am tired of people being so stupid and misguided to think “different” means “better” and I am scared.
I am scared because I spent twenty-two years struggling to escape from a patriarchal household where it was made abundantly clear that my thoughts, feelings, and opinions were not only unwanted, but were to be thought of as the effects of emotional imbalance and menstruation. Any attempt to confront these “perceived injustices” was met with absolute denial of any such behavior and attacks on my sanity, with a warning finger pointed regretfully at my eccentric aunt with a melancholy sigh that perhaps I was turning into her.
I’ve only been out from that shadow for five years (excepting holidays, of course…), and now I feel as though these people with their big signs that I drive past every day have empowered this mindset. My escape means nothing because soon everybody will have that right to deny my opinions, challenge my sanity, and squash me like a bug under their boot heel.
I also get that I’m taking this all very personally.
It scares me and breaks my heart and makes me feel very small and disgusting and invisible in the worst ways. Even though none of these things have actually happened, they’ve awakened an anticipatory terror in me because I do not know that they will not happen.
So that’s where I am today. How are you?