March 25, 2011 by Crystal Tennille Irby
I haven’t posted a blog in awhile because I’ve been working on a play I’m writing. But there have been alot of stories (some of them in the news/some of them personal)hitting me this month in the same tone. When that happens I begin to fill up and I have to purge whatever is weighing on me. This was suppose to be a blog about Chris Brown. Then I realized I don’t want to talk about Chris Brown. There are enough opinions, blogs, talk shows, facebook notes about him. All that needs to be said regarding him and his actions (past and present) has been said.
I think it’s more important to talk about the bigger issue swirling around him and a ton of other disturbing news stories which is violence. My mother was a battered wife and that’s hard to write because my father was her abuser which is even harder to write because it cuts so deeply. As I write it I feel the jagged edged knife through my heart splitting it open, my soul piercing, my eyes welling up. It hurts that my mother was a victim. It hurts that my father was her perpetrator and it hurts that we were witnesses. Watching your parents in that dynamic is excruciatingly painful and excruciatingly confusing. Although the violence in my house felt unnatural, it seemed normal. It was my normal. So I’ve always been comfortable with anger and to a certain degree rage. I never feared it/ran away from it/ hid it. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as an angry person I would say I’m hard, not street cred hard, but hard in terms of demeanor. I have never been easy, easy going/easy to get to know/easy to understand/easy to love. I am hard partly because my father was neglectful towards me but mostly because he was an abusive husband. I built a wall within myself that freezes things which enables me to give cold shoulders effortlessly. That coldness is often masked as fearlessness or being unbreakable. And for awhile that worked well in my life. It helped me accomplish a lot and it took me to places beyond my wildest dreams. But when a child becomes comfortable with anger to the point of coldness they tend to run away from love because it is the unknown, the unreal, almost seems supernatural. You see violence doesn’t just hurt the victims it’s directly perpetrated upon. It hurts all those who are witnesses. It eats away our sensitivity.
Where there is anger, violence can grow. Where there is violence innocence is in jeopardy and love, love is some farfetched dream only imagined in movies, intangible.
We must feel anger. It is a natural and valid emotion. But it must be the easiest thing we allow to leave our bodies and if we do nothing else, it is the one thing we must allow to leave in a healthy way. We must not hold anger or get so comfortable with it, we excuse violence of any kind from anyone. We cannot become so desensitized to violence that recording a gang rape of an 11-year-old-girl on a cell phone is unrecognizable as brutal act to the perpetrators that they see nothing wrong with forwarding the recording to their friends (yes this is a true story!). We cannot become so desensitized that when violence is perpetrated upon people we immediately wonder what the victim did or did not do. When we question a victim’s behavior we are not searching for answers. We are looking for excuses. Two years ago this month I was in my 4th/5th month of pregnancy. I remember that time so vividly because in my city a young man under the age of 18 was shot and killed every weekend. Every time it hit me like bombs over Baghdad/Libya or planes crashing into the World Trade Centers. I have never forgotten and I want to always remember the uncomfortable chord these events strike in me. We watch fights on cell phones/the internet/ and reality TV under the guise of entertainment like home videos of our children taking their first steps. We are too at ease with violence. We must be so traumatized by violence that war is an absolute last option in a long line of diplomatic attempts and even then it’s a reluctant choice. After we have decided to engage in war we must pray our troops to battle not cheer them because blood and witnessing violence is an unfair and too heavy a price to pay for freedom.
We must sensitize ourselves to violence. It must hit us harder than a freight train and heavier than a ton of bricks . And we must always remember how it feels so we can do all we can to avoid it because where there is violence love cannot thrive/it cannot grow/it cannot build.