I didn’t write yesterday. I was absorbed in other matters, namely hosting dinner and drinking champagne while I made gluten-free chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. Yep, that’s my excuse. It was a good day. I didn’t write, but I thought about the prompt, intensely.

I was listing my fears in my head: spiders, centipedes (the foot-long ones of the tropics), ghosts, grizzly bears, tsunamis, and death. These are still my fears, so I haven’t overcome them. I haven’t been afraid of much else, and truthfully I am not so afraid of these things, that I am paralyzed by any of them. Ok, so I wouldn’t confront a grizzly bear, but I’ve been pretty close to them at zoos and been able to appreciate their beauty.  So I went to bed before 10pm with no post brewing in my head.

As I was waking up this morning, I was feeling incredibly guilty for my first missed blogging day, and talked to Tom about it.  He reminded me of a story about one of my fears, that I have been thinking all day as to whether or not I want to share it on the internet. I’ve made my decision.

I was in high school sitting in my Senior English class. It was a small group of very smart kids and an even smarter teacher. Mr. Anderson, six-foot-six, bespectacled-but-handsome, had his feet up on his desk. We were all discussing a book that I don’t remember the title of. We were talking about men and women and intimidation. For some reason, I said, “I’m afraid of men.” He must have thought I was joking because he jumped out of his chair to his full height and said, “WHAT? YOU”RE AFRAID OF MEN?” in his legendary booming Shakespear-in-the-round voice. I was so startled that I burst into tears.

He quickly realized I was not joking. I was sobbing in front of my classmates, partially because I was embarrassed by my own reaction. He said, “class dismissed.” One we were alone he apologized profusely and I  apologized for crying – trying to laugh it off through my tears.

I have thought about this moment many times in my life, and told the story many times to friends. What I learned about myself that day, was that I was vulnerable to male aggression – powerless even. I could be reduced to tears by any dude who raised his voice. I also learned that the quickest way to disarm my opponent was to cry.

Having been raised by a meek single mother and having very little exposure to a loud dad, I had to build up my tolerance other ways. This was particularly obvious when I was in my first real relationship. My arguments with Tom, always ended with me crying. I felt like I lost every fight. He apologized once the waterworks began and it would bring us back to calm discussion. I don’t know when my crying stopped, but Tom can raise his voice now and I can counter with a joke instead of tears. I am glad that Melody has a loud father that she sees her mother disarm with laughter.

This was my ninth post for #NaBloPoMo and was inspired by the prompt given to me on Friday by Laura. Here is what’s next:

Prompt #9 (Nov 10): A friend of mine reinvents herself about every few years. Recently, she realized that all of her former selves probably wouldn’t be friends with each other, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What about you, do you think you’d be friends with whoever you used to be?

5 thoughts on “Big, Loud and Hairy

  1. Harmony,
    I have been wandering your blog for the last 30 minutes, and want to express how touching and provocative every post has been. Excited to meet you and have your help at AIGA!

    Beautiful stuff!

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