making choices that go against who we are

Where I fail in life is in that little breath of air just before a fight.  I use the term “fight” loosely.  I’m not necessarily referring to an altercation –physical or otherwise.  I’m referring to the instant just after someone messes up and right before they’re called on it.

I grew up fighting for a lot, I fought over food, fought for attention, fought with others over their opinions of me, fought my mind and eyes over my opinion of myself.   If you randomly passed me on the street and asked what I was thinking I’d probably tell you I was strategizing my way out of a scenario where I’m being mugged and have to disarm an attacker. Sad, but true.

I don’t always do a good job of recognizing when I don’t have to fight.  I’m so used to battling on my own that I also don’t recognize when someone is on my side.  To take that further, I don’t often recognize when someone on my side disagrees with what I’ve done, not who I am.  I was raised by and around people who disagreed with who I was at my utmost.

Recently, (within the last 30 minutes) a friend revealed to me a situation where I’d said something that hurt someone’s feelings. I’d completely forgotten about it until s/he said something.  I’m suspended in those clouds that fill the air before a fight.  I don’t like it. I want the bell to ring. I want to throw punches and bob and weave to avoid theirs.   I want to win. But I can tell you right now, this discussion is not one to win or lose, but my body is physically responding like it is.  I’m nervous.  My stomach is churning, my mouth is dry, my mind is racing, and I can barely concentrate.  I want to talk it over, admit I was wrong, and get it done.  This situation can’t work like that.  I need to wait and be patient until this person comes to me.  That’s hard.

I’m someone who is very aware of race.  This hovering dialogue is in reference to something I said that was racially offensive/hurtful. I’m not going to get specific without that person’s permission, but I do want to share that I’m aware of what I did wrong. Not wrong, this isn’t a game, it wasn’t a maneuver. I’m aware that what I said was f*cked up.  I want to move past the point of discussion and on to the place where we can smile.  For now, I’ll sit with my head on this cloud and wait for the opportunity where I can choose not to fight.

One thought on “making choices that go against who we are

  1. This is quite a heavy piece. I am not sure what the whole story is but I know the feeling of having your race antenors always on….analyzing every little thing people say or do especially when you find yourself as as brown bean in a pot filled with white maize. Sometimes you may become oversensitive without even realizing it….I almost lost a very good friend (jewish) coz of saying something I shoudnt have said (or maybe shud have said it differently)…SOmetimes you gotta imprison those strong thoughts and opinions coz friendships might crumble once them thoughts are let loose. Some things are better left in the confines of the mind…..

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