Monday, May 10, 2010

It didn't feel like courage

This is part of Momalom's Five-for-Ten series, where a group of bloggers write about the same five topics in 10 days. This post responds to the first topic, Courage.

e were recently the target of someone's unreasonable behavior. A family member we cared about. On the one hand, it was not surprising, and on the other, it still hurt. However, without further provocation, this same person went on to plant insidious seeds about me in My Guy's head behind my back. He didn't take it well, nor did I. What started as "an issue" became an assault on our family. He was insulted. I was demeaned. It was ridiculous. Someone had crossed the line.

This someone got away with many things before because the family was used to this type of behavior. But when that venom was directed at us, it was clear that this was not going to work. It wasn't just this one episode, but the culmination of years of thoughtless comments and selfish behavior, that paved the war path. I could no longer turn away from it. My anger fueled my courage. My battle cry was fierce, angry and even scary. The words I used were mine, but I felt detached from the disembodied voices of bottled up feelings and emotions that sprang from the depths of my body.

I defended myself, but I was also on the offense. My words were my weapon. While it was liberating, I took no pleasure in it. I would like to say that I was possessed and that it wasn't me who said all those things. But it was. I was ashamed of it, yet I knew we all have that in us in varying degrees. It still didn't make it right. It didn't feel like courage; it felt cruel. 

As much as I hated how everything turned out, including my own actions, I loved that My Guy was behind me all the way, steadfast in his support of and loyalty to me. To us. This someone tried to drive a wedge between us but a funny thing happened - it only made us stronger. We became fiercely protective of this life we shared. We were a family. We were an us. We were one.

Yet, it didn't feel like courage when I couldn't walk away from this in the beginning, to let things "blow over". I convinced myself that in walking away, it would reinforce an unacceptable behavior. In walking away I would be encouraging a family bully. However, in walking away I would have also been the adult. Except just this once, I was tired of being one. And so I forged ahead. 

In the end, there was no victory in a battle like this. The courage that swelled within me was lost amid the casualties, broken hearts, disheveled lives. This person was family after all, and what happened polarized everyone. Even my little girl, who was of course innocent and well protected from the conflict itself, will be affected by the fall out. We walked away wounded, grateful to have survived the blitzkrieg and proud we stood our ground. Together. But at what price? 

That night, battle weary and scarred, we cried, we kissed, we held each other, we said good night. And then we turned off the lights. In the dark, we clasped our hands, our eyes wide open. 

There was nothing more we could say or do. Except to heal.

(Have you ever felt like you needed to do something you didn't want to do? Do you often react quickly in anger or do you mull over things first? Do you pick your battles? What helps you decide which ones to face and which ones to walk away from?)  

Find other perspectives on this topic through Momalom.

Image: Carpet War by Photomish Dan via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.