My Anger, My Shame

“He’s English, but we won’t hold that against him.”

That’s probably one of the nicer remarks he invariably makes whenever anything touching the subject of England comes up. He’s a joker so often his comments are said in jest. Sometimes they aren’t. You know that even though he’s joking this time, his real feelings are staring you plain in the face. As obvious as I find them, they will never cease to create a cloud of angry confusion in my mind.

Music is your life and you adore David Bowie and Ozzy Osbourne, both brilliant English artists. You practically raised me on Monty Python, and you have an impressive collection of Terry Pratchett books lining your shelves, undeniably British humour. For fuck’s sake, your ex wife and the mother of your children is English! Don’t you care if you hurt her? Don’t you see how much you hurt her? Don’t you see how much you hurt us?

If I didn’t feel so ashamed of what that might mean about how he thought of me, or if I wasn’t so terrified of wounding him as he’s wounded me, I might have been brave enough to voice my thoughts.

Whenever he makes a joke or a comment that reminds me how difficult he made being a part of our family, I involuntarily narrow my eyes and furrow my brow as I think, How dare you. Then I hurriedly avert my gaze and clench my jaw until the subject changes. I know I’m angry and I don’t want to say anything rash. Confrontation is not my strong point, and I buckle when it comes to standing up for myself. My strength lies in taking the blows in silence rather than retaliating with my bitterness, which is not unlike his. I avoid bringing up the past.

In the end, I’m exhausted by his negativity and keen to get away, but I wordlessly thank him for the reminder that being ruled by anger helps no one in the long run and can cause some serious emotional damage, not just to yourself. Whenever I find myself ticked off, I try to be aware of the real reason I’m angry, otherwise I might accidentally take it out on the wrong person. I allow myself to take some time to reflect on whatever it is, big or small, and let it go so that the bitterness won’t permeate my everyday existence, and walk far, far away. In this way, I might be able to overcome the special brand of anger that he’s passed onto me and that we’ve long shared, the one that both bonds us together and drives us apart.