Coping With Aggression
The shatter of spilt milk
and here she came,
tongue clothed in
an acid gown,
her whitened eyes like knives
of sharp ice.
Be gentle myself
a black steel egg
smooth and impenetrable,
crack but a little.
She paled and shrank
the bite of my resolution
allowing her no claim on calamity
nothing was ever resolved by anger.
“I…” whisked away and meaningless,
“I…” slipped into her space without wounding,
a small “I…” jammed between the
cogs of outburst as I
change the gears
listen to her fears.
Disarmoured she errs in her aggression,
she sits on a chair named calm.
Expression a trait she now sweeps to herself,
experiences heard above denial or suppression
asking modified acceptance
lest submissive compliance
should dictate the steps of her dance.
Empowered we cut off the loose
threads of our weaving,
why pull ourselves apart?
I keep hearing a phone ring, with that insistent tone that older phones have, brrrrrrrring brrrrrrrring. I don’t know why I keep hearing it. Maybe it’s a musical composition being explored by the air forced out through the fan dancing with the cross breeze from the window? Maybe it’s an internal wake up call? Maybe the lovely Marjorie next door still has one of those older phones and is Mrs Popularity today? Whatever it is, it’s generating an air of expectancy in the Writers Wrest this morning which is helping me get unstuck from the desire to catch up on more sleep and launching me into the day.
Speaking of lovely neighbours and getting unstuck, someone I know locked herself out of her apartment one night recently. Bit of a nuisance perhaps? Especially when your toddler is asleep in there. She found a helpful neighbour and called 000. The toddler had woken and was crying. Sirens and police…sirens and firemen…climbing through the laundry window on a ladder…the toddler still crying…sirens and off they go. The good news is that the helpful neighbour has been identified and now there is someone to take custody of the spare key and to build a relationship with.
What advice would you give for getting unstuck? This is the topic of today’s Your Turn Challenge blog. When I think of the times that I have been stuck and what I’ve done about it, the number one solution every time has been to communicate.
Back in teachers college we had to spend a semester studying effective communication. This makes sense right? We’re getting ready to go out into the world and hang out with a bunch of kids and be alongside them as they learn…we’re going to need to be able to communicate effectively. But this was my “cranky class”, the class that I got cranky about having to go to, that I sulked in because I didn’t want to do role-playing and the pace was too slow and I was bored. There ended up being some magic stirred up by that class though.
The assessment required either an essay or a creative response. Of course I was cranky about that too. I didn’t want to write an essay on a topic that had bored me and there were no creative juices flowing…until I saw the paintings one of my fellow students was producing for his assignment. I asked him to tell me about them and then I asked him if I could use some of his work for inspiration and I produced a raft of poetry. I was very unstuck by this and topped the entire year in my grade…ironic perhaps…but you never know where communication will take you and there was something beautiful about our communication giving rise to the making of art and poetry as their own conversations.
She turned away
one close’ed eye
he turned aside
a wasteful lie
“You’re too far away”
she often cried
“There’s distance too wide”
he often sighed
“Step near me”
“Why draw close and be refused?”
Shoulders turn round
faces set free their frown
open mouth and ear to hear
that deep desire to be near
Play upon your pipes
dance unto my fiddle
face to face
to solve the riddle.
This poem was a quick and light-hearted response to one of Julian’s paintings that was used in his workshop presentation to illustrate behaviours and interactions. The painting suggested human frailty and how easily we slip into stubborn mindsets and fail to meet a problem with effective communication. The poem was called Prodigious Crack, suggesting that the problem had been blown right out of proportion. It makes me cringe just a little as it was forced by the circumstances, but it was effective in communicating about communicating!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes my body is taken over by an alien called Pride who absolutely doesn’t need to reveal what could better be made into secrets, or ask for help, or risk feeling foolish because I’m stuck. I’m a pretty independent person and I should be able to get myself unstuck, after all, I’m smart, I’m resilient, I can overcome! Well, yes, that is true…until the times when it’s not true.
Fortunately Pride is a bit of a wimp who doesn’t stick around and I go to work harnessing supports and strategies for getting unstuck, realising that asking for help builds relationships and allows others to give and achieve. I’m even learning to embrace this togetherness more consciously when it’s not about being stuck, to remind myself how blessed I am for the support and people available in my life and to lean on them just because we can lean on one another and because this leaning is an expression of love. Similarly I’m more consciously appreciating support when it’s about community…the community that is my family and friends, my online community, my local and global communities.
And underpinning getting unstuck, togetherness and community is communication – a reaching out to one another, a preparedness to speak up, to listen well and to share. We all have a story to tell and we need communication to grow our stories and to write new ones.
Through both the Building Bridges blog and the community page, we have ready access to communicate about the issues of child survival. This citizen led initiative is gaining momentum and through people coming together and communicating, there is a story unfolding, an opportunity to get child mortality rates unstuck, to help them fall further. The sound of things to come is people together making a difference. The sound of things to come is the cry of a baby, the comforting of a mother, the joys of families and communities. You are invited to listen in, or to enter the conversation and be a part of this plot and how this story ends. Get on the shoe phone friends, there is nothing fantastical about the importance of this conversation!