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Creative storyteller with passion for art & connection. Portland, Oregon.

overcoming the war that sometimes lives in our bones

"there's no reason

nobody should have to die over land or resources,"

I confidently told my dad at 15. He condescendingly laughed me off,

saying, once again, that "you'll understand when you're older,"

that war is sometimes the answer,

and by the way his rage made him regularly act out, it was clearly easier for him to believe it was true,

that war sometimes lives in our bones.

for a long time i thought i was the same

that i was one bad day away from atrocious

one step from irrevocable violence

but i've lived with rage in my bones every day

and i would never

i've terrified my son once, and i never want to do it again.

i threw a pillow down on the ground, frustrated beyond everything at bedtime one night.

he was being a toddler and refusing to lay in his bed,

i was exhausted and also just wanted to sleep,

it didn't hit him, but it didn't need to.

i saw him cower

i saw him pull into himself, and i saw the horror on his face that i could be someone he had to fear.

all of him may not comprehend that,

but i know now that part of me knew that when i was his age too.

it stopped me in my tracks

i walked out of his room,

sobbed, ashamed of what i had done to him,

composed myself and went in to his room to apologize.

he was still crying, but when i went in, he fell into my arms saying he was sorry like he was begging me to still love him.

my heart broke more.

i reassured him that he didn't have anything to be sorry for,

that i should not have done that,

and that it was not okay for mommy to scare him like that.

he agreed

and he was right.

i could have walked away much earlier,

i didn't need to let it get that bad for bedtime.

and it never has since.

it's possible to change,

it's possible to do things a different, new way,

that doesn't hurt kids or ourselves

the war doesn't have to rage on, uninterrupted.

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