Thursday, July 10, 2008

Becoming Myself

I went to an early am yoga class today. The instructor, an earnest young woman, told us to be sure to name an intention for our practice as we started. What popped into my mind was the phrase, "truth telling." That was good to have in mind so I wasn't tempted to go beyond what my body could do in my nascent practice, but I think for me it was much, much more.

That kinda hammered home something that popped out at me yesterday when I opened up my new paperback copy of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The first page I saw said, "Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth."


In another blog, I mentioned that when people around me say things that I cannot or will not agree with, I get really quiet. Those who know me best know that when I am silent, that is a danger sign. In fact, someone once accused me of picking a fight with him due to the fact I had said nothing. I think I get quiet because if I do speak, I get red faced, shaking, screaming furious so I end up saying nothing of import anyway.

Of course, there are people with whom I can disagree. I can have a civil conversation if the other person is willing to have a conversation with me. People who know all and ensure everyone else knows that they know all cannot have conversations. Those are the folks I am usually silent around. I will not engage a know it all.

Lately, though, I have realized that I live with someone who knows everything. Even though he prefaces his remarks with, "I am not very smart," he really is smart and has decided that the lens through which he views the world is the only valid one. I view many things differently and so we find ourselves fighting over things like his habit of running the water for five minutes so it'll be hot when he rinses out the cat food can or something dumb. Our political views cannot be more different, and he can be quite forceful when making his point. Because he is so smart, trying to argue with him is like attempting to argue with Christopher Hitchens on the existence of God. I'm not that erudite.

So, in my own home, I'm silent. I endure statements like, "Well, if you want to be a Democrat, that's all right, I guess." I listen to him disparage things I hold dear, if not sacred. And I am silent.

I'm also silent about what I want, but that is another post.

It is fear, I think. Fear of lots of things. And I know his role models for how to treat a wife--his father ran around on his mother. And then the step father, the Angry White Man, I've written about before. And it is fear of having to deal with the idea that I may be wrong, I suppose, that I have no right to take a position on anything in life that is in conflict with his. After all, he pays the bills and the health insurance.

That brings me to the latest effort for me to tell the truth. I wrote a letter to the editor about the new proposed South Dakota law to ban abortion except when there are exceptions--except the exceptions (including rape and incest) have to be proven in a court of law before an abortion can take place. These folks don't want government anywhere in their lives except in the bedroom, and I won't stand for it. Anyway, the paper is making me do it over and over again and I have to call every day to find out where it stands (too short, too long). T used to be pro choice, but after his lengthy Fox News brainwashing during his deployments, he is now anti abortion in any case. (He also used to be pro gay rights, and is part of the reason I changed my mind on that issue, but now he totally denies he ever was.) So ANYWAY...I'm bracing myself for when the letter finally comes out in the paper (if it ever does). This is someone who won't put a bumper sticker on a car for fear someone will spray paint it, so it'll be interesting. But I gotta do it!

At least we aren't in the phone book.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

You are being courageous and honoarable, and I respect you for it. I will also pray for you.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Oy vey. I'd hug you if you were closer!