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A working professional and part-time writer, full-time Mom and modern day Alice in Wonderland...

Monday, April 24, 2017

Shame to Rage and Viola's Composition

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
DAY 1137 –April 24, 2017
Prompt: Do you think that shame can be a trigger for anger? How?

Shame is a crippling emotion to live under. It can silence you, it can crush your spirit and marginalize your soul. I lived with shame like that for years during my first marriage, hiding the truth of my life from everyone that mattered. There were so many times in the aftermath of a violent episode, when I would be sitting among the shattered and broken things and I would think, "this is not the daughter my father raised." I would break open all over again thinking about how disappointed he would be that I allowed this to become my life. I was ashamed that I had fallen in love with a man who cursed and spat and hit. I was ashamed that even after that love had been crushed dead under the constant fear of sudden violence, I still could not leave.

I was ashamed at how cautious I had become, how complacent, how silent. I was ashamed of knowing those dark things, like the way passion can bloom into rage with a single word or all the ways a person can hurt you without leaving visible bruises that tell the world what you are. I knew shame intimately. I wore it like a heavy coat. In the end, however, it was the shame that saved me. That day, the last day he ever put his hands on me, the shame had rose up inside me like a tide and that tide carried me away. 

The argument had escalated, as it always did. My cell phone had been smashed to bits on the floor at my feet, my glasses knocked from my face and I could see one lens was shattered. He had my car keys clenched in one fist and he was shaking them at me, telling me once again, that I was stupid and useless. The side of my face was throbbing where he'd hit me open handed. I made a grab for my car keys and he had shoved me back hard, with the palms of both hands. The momentum sent me reeling back across the linoleum. I crashed into and then partially through the glass kitchen door. I had struggled to my feet, shaking glass from my hair and clothes, checking my exposed flesh for cuts, expecting I think, to have been shredded by the exploding glass. Miraculously I was unhurt. He had rushed to me, his dark eyes filled with concern, his mouth spewing nonsense. He hadn't meant to hurt me. He never meant to hurt me.

Standing there, in a pool of glass, listening to him vomiting his panicked excuses, I felt something shift in me. For the first time the shame gave way to something else, a white, hot anger. That anger rose up inside me, like some dark and raging sister in my soul. I literally saw red and I charged at him, tossing him to the ground and wrenching my car keys from his fist. The dynamics had instantly shifted between us. When he tried to get up, I shoved him back down with a strength I didn't know I possessed. "Stay down" I told him, my voice dripping with such venom that it frightened me. I feared if he had tried to move at that moment, I would have killed him with my bare hands. I told him I would kill him if he tried to touch me. I felt like I was on fire. I rushed to my car, wanting only to get away from him...not because I was afraid of him but because I was afraid of all that anger coursing through me. I was afraid of what I could do to him with all that rage.

That day was the last time he ever touched me. Shame had been my jailer for a long time, but it had also been my ally in freeing myself from that life. I think it must have just reached a point of critical mass when the need to speak out, to stand up and to live a different life became so much stronger than the need to keep it hidden, to hide behind the shame.

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
Prompt: Write a story or poem using the following words: piano, study, gaudy, ghost, bewitch, blushing, tongue, plan

I watched her for, concealed behind the partially opened door. She was sitting at the piano, her back ramrod straight and her shoulders rigid. Her thick black hair had been hastily pulled back into a heavy braid and it hung down her back, bisecting her thin frame. She bent forward to study the sheet of music in front of her, the tip of her tiny pink tongue pinched between her teeth as she concentrated. Then, Viola began to play. Her delicate, bird-like hands flew over the keys and the music began to fill the space between us.

The composition was one of her own design, crafted to challenge her but also to bewitch the listeners with its peaking crescendos and beautiful rolling valleys. She moved with the music, the heavy braid rocked back and forth like a thick rope. Her momentum caused the gaudy necklace of big glass beads to sway on her chest like a pendulum keeping time with the beat. I held my breath, felt the tears began to well. It was like watching a ghost. Voila played with the same impassioned abandon that her mother had. Watching the girl evoked a vivid memory and in its wake, a visceral pang of loss.

Viola's playing slowed, the notes softly fading as she reached the end of her composition. I had thoughtlessly began clapping before the final note had faded. Voila was startled by the sudden interruption. She turned to look at me, blushing crimson with wide, surprised eyes. It had not been the plan to eavesdrop on her practice. Viola was, as her mother had been, uncomfortable with act of performing. She recovered a bit when she saw it had only be me. She gave me shy smile and rose from the piano.

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