N.B.: This week I will be guest blogging–though probably not every day–at Judgment Call, a delightful blog written by a delightful man.
The other night, E.S. asked me, “So, when are we going to have our first fight?”
“I thought we already did,” I said.
“Last night, when we were talking about my mood disorders and I snapped at you and said, ‘Don’t psychoanalyze me,’ and you snapped back, ‘I’m not psychoanalyzing you, I’m just trying to figure out what the fuck is going on.'”
He pointed out that, objectively speaking, it wasn’t much of a fight, especially as we were in bed and so tired that we fell asleep right after this exchange.
But the thing is this: I’ve gotten in exactly one fight in my entire life, a knock-down, drag-out affair with my next-door neighbor D.T. when we were both eleven years old. There was hair-pulling involved. I don’t think E.S. was referring to hair-pulling. He was referring to the kind of argument that people who care about each other have when they get mad and raise their voices and stomp instead of tiptoing and generally rebalance the emotional equilibrium of their relationship.
In other words, something I have never, ever done and secretly believe I’m constitutionally incapable of doing.
I mean, I’ve raised my voice three times in my life, and two of those times I managed to attenuate what came out before I let it go anyway. One of the attenuated times was when I was five and my mother, three minutes after telling me to pick up my things in one room, asked me why my things were still lying around in another room. I yelled, “I’m not an octopus! I don’t have eight arms!”
Except I didn’t yell it. I was about to, but right when I opened my mouth I thought she’d get mad if I yelled. So I just sort of said it loudly and then burst into tears.
So, clearly, one snarky exchange is a step in the right direction.
But it scares me how far I have left to go.