Even when I was a kid – you know the stage where people are supposed to be at their cutest – I had the ability to annoy the life out of people who would get on my nerves. Basically that meant someone older than me, someone I couldn’t yell back at.
I would keep quiet most of the times (on other occasions, water works would get the best of me). I would not say anything and this was usually accompanied with a face devoid of any emotion. “Your words don’t affect me” facade would make the “yellers” more annoyed = mission accomplished.
It’s not that I would not get angry, I would; more so when I would know it wasn’t my fault and the punishment was unfair. I would be tempted to answer back but that would mean getting beaten up and I value my life, so remaining quiet was the best bet.
But then there were also times when the “yellers” would still become “beaters”. Like on one occasion, I laughed at my mum who had just got done yelling at me; that made her even more angry and, yea, I got beaten up. Kinda stupid on my part to mess an angry lioness!
I grew out of the “cute” phase into the phase where I am supposed to act like a lady. Sadly (for others), I never really outgrew the habits that got hold of me when I was a child. Now it’s called giving people the “silent treatment”. Many think it’s unfair, but I think it’s better to zip up than say something that you’ll regret for the rest of your existence. I can never forget what my teacher once told me: “Anger is nothing but temporary madness. When you are angry, you are never in control, you don’t know what you are saying and what you do end up saying, you will curse yourself later for saying it.”
Some days back, I was in a situation where a person older than me just lost. It wasn’t my fault neither did my friend do anything wrong; but we were both getting yelled at and we couldn’t say anything. It’s just so suffocating when you can’t defend yourself. My friend broke down… “How can you be so calm?”
Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
or like vinegar poured on a wound,
is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
I was calm, unusually calm. Not because I am immune to getting hurt, but because at that time I didn’t care. “I didn’t do anything wrong, so I am not going to let it affect me”.
The calm doesn’t come to the rescue all the time. On other occasion, though I don’t turn into Hulk, I do struggle to keep the venomous thoughts away. But “one who sings songs to a heavy heart…” It’s maddening to not lose your temper, to not make the person feel sorry for their mistake(s)… but there is something beautiful in being a martyr too; in not letting the bitterness get the best of you.
So when the person was yelling at us, I didn’t let the venom seep in. I was letting go, so I could be free.