Monday, May 29, 2017

Walls and me.

When I was 17 I discovered that I could punch walls. I had emotions I didn’t know how to process. Angers and frustrations I didn’t know how to articulate, or who to assign to. So I gave them all to the walls. I punched the walls again, and again. Hard. With both hands. My knuckles swelled up and bruised for days. It was painful, but it was liberating. I was so swelled up on the inside, I needed physical proof that my emotions were real. And the bruises, they reminded me my hurt was real.

A friend noticed this and bought me boxing gloves. “Use these next time, please,” he said. I stopped punching walls the next year and replaced it with other forms of self-mutilation. Ones that weren’t visible on the outside. One that didn’t leave physical scars. They made me feel alive. They numbed me back down.

I started doing it again recently. I hadn’t planned it. I don’t ever just say to myself “let’s punch some walls tonight.” It’s always a surprise even to me.

It begins with a sadness that I try to contain. A sadness I don’t know how to address. So I put it away. But sadness brews. And as it does, it’s mixed with dangerous emotions like frustration, fear, shame. For now, no one else is aware but me. Once I’m completely swelled up on the inside, I finally realize I need to communicate with the recipient of these emotions. Six months ago that person was my mother. Yesterday it was my partner.

They dismiss my emotions. They question my logic. They tell me to re-think. They want me to feel something else.

I state my case again, nicely.

They state their recommendations again, annoyed. They say they rather be doing something else.

By now, I’m much more than sad. I’m beyond frustrated, or scared, or ashamed. I’m wronged. I’m shamed. I’m denied. And I’m angry. I’m angry they’ve dismissed me. I’m angry they’ve questioned me. I’m angry they want to dictate my feelings. And I’m hurt. I’m so sad and hurt that the people closest to me refuse to hear me.

I’m powerless.

I realize I’m already crying. I feel the swelled up emotions inside me wanting to burst. But I don’t know how. I feel so powerless.

I remember the last time I was here and wonder how I’m still here. Why haven’t I moved after all this time? How long will I stay? Will it be any different next time? My body is aching for the next time I’m here.

My body wants to fight. So I smash the couch seats. They’re too low. I stomp on the ground. It’s awkward. For a moment I almost smack my calms on the coffee table, but I don’t want to hurt the coffee table.

Things I can’t ruin. Things I won’t ruin.

The walls.

I turn to the walls.


I’m better about it this time. I stop myself before hurting myself too much. After all, I need my hands – to type, to do the dishes, to carry groceries, to text message. I burst open the bedroom door, and I say sternly. “This is bullshit. You created this. I don’t care it’s 3am. Get up and deal with it.” I’m still crying.

My heart’s still sunken in the morning, and I’m not functioning fully well. But at least I’ve stood up for myself.

I can feel my knuckles starting to swell, and they might bruise in a couple of day’s time. But I have my physical proof that my emotions are real. And the bruises remind me that my hurt has been real.