I snap a photo of the sign WORDS MATTER in front of a home in downtown Ithaca, standing proudly in a blackish lower class yard.
I remember not allowing my two daughters to use the words “kill” or “shut up” in our house – who wants ” I could kill you” ringing in your ears? Or to be told to “shut up”? I wasn’t wise enough in the 1970s-80’s to suggest saying: “I’m so angry at you!” I did ask to hear “Be quiet,” unaware to be able to say “I don’t like feeling your anger.” Or, “I feel unheard.”
It’s now 2016 and I am riding in the back seat of my son-in-laws fancy truck, my 14 year old granddaughter, Riley sits next to me, and her 12 year old sister, Emily is sitting on the other side of Riley. Ben is driving and my daughter Megan is in the passenger seat. We are on our way to Ben’s family annual christmas party.
Both girls have recently received their semester grades – all in the 90s, except one 84 in geometry for Riley, who says, “I don’t care about geometry – I’ll never use it in my life. We should take classes that help us with life. Physics doesn’t matter to me either. Those subjects don’t interest me!”
Ben counters, “But maybe someday they will.”
Riley emphatically responds: “No, if they do, I can take them later.”
Megan pipes in: “Really, I don’t use much of what I learned in high school either.”
“You’ll be able to have an intelligent conversation,” Ben adds.
Finally, I must put my two cents in (is that all its worth?): “Yes, if we are taught healthy relationship skills, like how to identify what you feel, and then not spew anger at one another…
Riley interrupts, “Didi gets it!” as her hand shoots toward me, her grandmother. Megan keeps repeating to Ben, “You’re not listening to me,” as I observe them interrupting and talking over one another.
I feel proud of Riley, who chews her finger nails. She’s an elite soccer player, who is beginning to know best; maybe father no longer knows best?
I think to myself: ‘gets it.’ What does that mean? Then remember how often I hear my oldest daughter, Erin say: “You know what I mean?” So often that I think of it now. It’s common to hear many say that frequently as well.
Over and over people want, and need to be understood. Yet, don’t say it. Why is that? Do you get it? Why not say: Do you understand?
Another thought flutters by: That sucks, that we feel misunderstood.
My psychotherapy clients say they get upset when they fight with their loved ones. Some cry; most get triggered into anger.
They call each other asshole or fuckin’ asshole, or bitch, or worse. Motherfucker. Writing that word makes me squirm like a fly caught in a spider’s web.
Swearing was not allowed in my rigid christian upbringing; I could not even say dam, so we said darn! or shoot instead of you know what:)
One day, I was outside using a chainsaw to cut up some driftwood when the saw slipped and I explecate, “Oh shit!” My elementary school age daughters were within earshot: “Mom! you swore!” I responded with a laughing-smile, “There’s a first time for everything!”
By then, I was heartily on my way out of the religious box, three sides crushed, one side still remaining. Could I lose my only known community of friends? I was a hypocrite by then – dancing and experiencing pre-marital sex – after being divorced twice.
In 1984, Erin is 12 and Megan is 9…a cinematic scene is still brightly lit in my memory: Erin is lying on her top bunk as I tell her, “I no longer believe in christianity.” Immediately, her tears cry out, “But mom you’ll go to hell.”
(Hell no! I say to myself just now.)
I try to reassure Erin: that ‘being born again’ is not the love I feel is real. Even the bible reads in I John 4:18: “Perfect love casts out fear.” That means the fear of hell too! Get it?
Interestingly, while making love it is natural for many to say, “I love you baby.” Why do we say ‘Baby’? I have lost count as to how often I hear that tender endearing affectionate word. Baby. Addressed to the adult-one we love. Where there is no fear.
Maybe you’d rather hear, ‘fuck me baby?’ That swear word, fuck, rankles my heart into a firestorm of disgust, and contempt as the dictionary defines it: “to engage in coitus or copulation, usually considered obscene or vulgar, to express disgust, contempt and feelings of anger.” I have argued and or discussed this idea with Buddhist-identified friends who say that fucking is all in fun – our animal nature. I say: animals do it from the rear.
There is no eye contact.
No meeting of our true souls.
The polar opposite of fucking is making love. Like how I feel when babies stare into my eyes without fear.
WORDS stick even when we don’t want them to.
Like our twentieth century separation of white and black peoples in restaurants, rest rooms or even public schools. Called niggers. Or gender separations, to be called fagots. So humankind cannot openly love whomever one chooses to love?
I do see Americans moving toward the lovelier shades of gray: people of color. Less black and white thinking. EVOLutionarily, I choose to make love with my sexual body – yet it hasn’t always been this way. Like not crying readily until I am in my forties. I didn’t have the guts!
Still, we are assaulted by intense stage lighting: objectified like skinny runway models.
I want to feel the pure love of ‘oh god’ at orgasm with my lover in my arms, eyes to Is. Get it?
Is primal swearing of shit, sucks, or I’m pissed off, metaphorically trying to get close to our Feelings? The best “F” word going I tell others, who then spontaneously laugh. Recently, I read in a 2012 novel, “back when everything was simple and defined, back when I was blissfully unaware that he was sleeping with other girls.” Of course we know sleeping means sex in this sentence. In this twenty-first century I don’t get why the majority still can’t say or write the word sex instead of sleeping. No italics needed eh?
It’s very common to hear, “that’s weird” when we actually are feeling scared to do something different from the ‘norm,’ like: I can’t send you that guys email address…that’s weird. Or ”I’m stressed” that I won’t meet the deadline. Yes, you’re scared you won’t meet the deadline. I get it. You are ‘Freakin’ out.’ Or it sucks if we fail at some test when we are actually disappointed or sad.
I have made running a major career of my life. I began running in the 70s with the purpose of staying physically fit, to keep my girlish figure after bearing two babies. To stay motivated I’d increase my distances, not so much my pace. I would wear RUNNING FOR THE AVERAGE RUNNER T-shirt for years; even when I advanced to the monumental 26.2 miles marathon.
I was ‘sane’ enough to only train 35-40 miles per week and looked forward to one day off each week. Still, I forged out the goal to run the most consecutive monthly marathons by a woman. Did I get it? that I needed to feel special? I did run 36 marathons in 36 months during the years 1983-1985; then the USA woman’s record. All of those marathons brought me to the notorious “WALL” at mile 20. My body said: You must walk. I did. Sometimes I jogged. My mind said: “You’re crazy Diane. Why are you doing this?” Many times the answer came: “for the recognition.” Crossing the finish lines, my arms stretched to the sky, people clapping gave me that ecstatic feeling, like rising toward orgasm, but never climaxing.
It wasn’t until my fourth marriage that I was triggered into huge anger and tears. I knew then, we must drive to the Primal Center in Venice, California. During the year 1996-97, I yelled, screamed, and mostly sobbed as intense feelings became connected to my childhood-emotional pain. After I returned home, for a few years I cried often at orgasm as I learned to get with the program of my bodies natural way to heal emotional hurts: for cryin’ out loud!
It’s been a scary run to become the CRYBABE (my license plate for maybe 20 years), where even family members felt helpless to see me cry as often as the universe rains. (Presently, most are accepting if not comfortable with my tears for fears:). I’ve felt alone like the only oak tree on a street of pine. (because my heart wishes not to pine?:) Yet, I am learning to own (I accidentally typed won at first) The Greatest Love of All, as George Benson sings.
In October 2016, I received a surprise phone call the week before the SUN writing workshop weekend in Big Sur, California. I had been on a waiting list of 40 people. I jumped on a plane in NewYork, flying to California where on the last day I heard the editor-publisher, Sy Syfransky read his writing: “PAUSE – take a LOOK,” prompting a few tears to crawl down my face. Afterwards, I expressed my appreciation to him, to which he replied: “Thanks for advocating for tears; we all need to do more crying.”
At that moment, my tears turned into an EVOLving waterfall.
Crying is the only bodily function that we repress and suppress. Therefore ending up with anxiety and depression. We all know that if we don’t allow our bodies to pee, (piss) poop (shit) or sweat,…we die physically. So putting two and two together, not allowing our tears, we die emotionally and become very angry.
It’s pretty obvious, no shit, that we need to have a GOOD cry, so we can feel better.
“There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable…Love. ” – Washington Irving