When I love you was violent to hear
For some reason when I’m upset people respond to me by offering compliments.
As if I need to be reminded of my value.
As if what’s wrong is rooted in insecurity.
It’s only been recently that this has felt more aggravating than endearing.
There’s an unfortunate tendency to reference self esteem as the root of teenage girls decision making, and that reflex follows us as adults.
The environment is never relevant, or provocation, only your inner state.
Your reactions when they’re less than polite.
Your choices when they’re less than responsible.
The things your mind fixates on when you spend the week with teenagers, spending mornings on balconies thinking while they’re sleep.
The tv you watch.
The lack of alarm clocks.
The lack of arguments.
The encouragement to eat what you want, wear what you want, say what you mean.
There’s an ease that’s clearly temporary, because this environment isn’t every environment, not even most of them.
It takes a lot of emotional coaching to limit your thinking to only what is happening currently; to not allow your relationships to be burdened by experiences that didn’t fall one after another like a chain of dominoes.
It takes more than the impact of an event to generate momentum.
It takes complex actors, inner lives and outer lessons. It takes an ecosystem of dominoes.
And yet, there is information for them to hear, and a way to share it fairly and un-manipulatively.
Earlier in the car the song Say Love started to play on her Spotify, and the lyric “just don’t say love no, I’ve heard those words misused a thousand times before.”
Viscerally my body was evoked into a consciousness that is informed by the past and the present, an unbroken thread of reenactment.
The way our guts are sung toxic lullabies asking for our agency.
The genteel attempts to be dependent.
The whisper of affection amidst a canvas of violence, sometimes only seconds apart.
The scream of affection meant to cancel out the rest.
The thrill of affection meant to read as a compliment, most readily when I’m upset.
The careful confusion set into your inner life, telling you that you don’t want what you want.
The insidious adoption of those refiring messages, unless you can separate out the dominoes from a domino.
The sleeping in from the depression naps.
The dare devil from the reckless.
The trusting from the meek.
The trusted from the idolized.
The valued from the abused.
The threads are tangled and dark to comb through, but the information to offer is still enmeshed.
Hidden from ourselves, left as a collateral loss.
The one that internalized the message that teenagers aren’t wise, or empathetic, or available to hear what adults have to say.
The one that has to weed out control from support, and judgment from guidance.
The one who remembers that anything can become a weapon, even love.