Sticks and stones are hard on bones
Aimed with angry art,
Words can sting like anything
But silence breaks the heart.
~Phyllis McGinley, “Ballade of Lost Objects,” 1954
Soon after we got engaged, my mother made a comment that stayed with me long after. She said that finally in k, I had someone, who wasn’t going to try to out-fire me in my temperament. I think she sense in k a resilience, a kind of a grounded staying force that wasn’t going to get blown away with one of my hurricanes.
The biggest difference in the way k and I fight has been our modus operandi. I will flail my arms, shout and scream and be verbally murderous to the point of going literally blue in the face, whereas he will retreat and be silent. I will say that silence claims an indifference that cuts through your heart- that makes you feel that even if you dropped off the face of the earth, the person concerned wouldn’t notice. He resolutely maintains that the uncontrolled mean words are hurtful and cannot be forgotten all that easily. I counter by saying that silence is way louder than any words I can come up with- and he says its a matter of perspective, really.
For me the words have no consequence in this regard. I find them to be utmost fickle, coming out of my mouth at random and dissipating into the atmosphere like inconsequential particles of dust- I mean who wants to catch dust anyways? I don’t believe that words spurted out in the heat of anger mean anything more than a dispelling of the negative energy and they should not stay stuck in your head, or come back to haunt you at other unrelated times.
Silence rankles. It makes me want to make the person say something- anything- even if I regret it later. K maintains that silence works best because you don’t want to say anything you may not mean. What is the point of fighting I ask if we have to be careful about what we say or be in complete possession of our mental faculties. Isn’t a good fight when we finally let go and let it out?
A friend of mine used to use the phrase “agree to disagree” fairly often when describing her relationship with another friend of ours. She claimed that they had very different views so they made peace with knowing that they would never agree. I always thought that this sounded rather convenient and easy way out-y. It either meant, that neither of them felt passionately enough about their stance to try to convince each other, or that they simply were not bothered enough. But looking back, I admit she might have had a point. Perhaps for the world to exist in the order that best suits us in our relationships, there is that agreement to disagree that kicks into place- a point where you simply take both the sides as part of the constantly yo-yoing energy of existance and then you make it work for you in the ways you need it to for your best.
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