I choose to battle with sugar spoons instead of swords
We all have our flame and our poison, and we all have our reasons to keep going.
At this present moment my Father and I are at logger heads. Every time we talk over the phone, we might as well be in the heat of battle - going at it in the middle of a gladiator arena while countless bloodthirsty Romans cheer us on. However, there is no arena; no Emperor to declare the winner; no swords, and certainly no bloodthirsty crowd. There isn't even any shouting...just a perfectly civil conversation going on between a concerned Father and his willful daughter. In fact, I am unsure at this present moment whether he even knows we are fighting at all.
Perhaps this could be viewed as an overly emotional, dramatic teenager fabricating unnecessary conflict to justify her own feelings of angst, and I am certainly not going to rule that possibility out. However, when it comes to what my Father thinks is good for me and what I know is good for me, the two will always be inconsolable. For instance, what I consider as a successful life will always be viewed by him as failure. This is no one's fault; it is simply the fact that we hold two very different world views, and this fact is evident every single time we talk. There is simply nothing to connect us, besides the fact that I owe half of my genes to him. Many would argue that that in itself should ensure my loyalty to him. To which I would respond with the quote “Having a child makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist.” This, however, is not an issue for this article.
The main issue for this article is the fact that this most recent argument between myself and my Father is simply the latest round in a much longer, much more silent argument we have been having since I was about thirteen (point 1 for the ‘Teen Angst’ theory). You see, the most recent point of discussion between us has been University. Him pushing me to go for it before I get much older (as though my time is running out at age eighteen), with me being adamant that I will wait and see if I really need it in order to achieve my dreams.
Therefore, you see our trouble. However, to an outside observer, there is no trouble at all. He states his case very calmly in taking every possible length to avoid offending me, and thus tiptoeing around the very heart of what he wants to say. I reply with my own, taking the exact same lengths to avoid saying what I truly think, knowing that my deep convictions would only enrage him. He states his own case again; this time differently but ultimately saying nothing more than what he has already impressed upon me. I agree blandly. I've had my say, and he has rejected it. This is the only way to avoid the spark that could very well lead us to a genuine death match. He reiterates his point another three times, and urges me to think over what he has said. I agree in my most sincere voice. We tell each other we love each other; make tentative plans for Christmas, and then hang up. Afterwards I cry...then I yell, and then I go and cook some dinner.
You see, the whole business is conducted with the utmost of civility and courtesy from both parties, more suited to an Edwardian tea-room than a gladiator arena; yet every time we speak it genuinely feels as though we have been sparing for hours - whether with swords or sugar spoons or words.
Naturally, I am exhausted and emotionally drained. The only difference between this and a shouting match is that my voice isn't half as sore by the end of our conversation. We are both immovable, and neither of us is willing to compromise.
So why do this?
Why engage in this strange, awkward, slow dance comprised of half lies and heartless agreements that has been poisoning our interactions for half a decade?
Why not just say what we mean and get all the negativity out there in the open, where we can say things that we perhaps will say that we didn't mean and spend the rest of our lives ignoring each other in bitter freedom?
The answer is simple. I inherited his temper, and an argument between us would burn every single, carefully constructed façade of normality between us. Something of which we have silently and grudgingly built. An open argument would destroy my connections to his family, and he would lose me wholly and forever.
Some of my allies out there have urged me to simply do away with him completely...to completely cut him out, and make it clear just how distasteful I find his way of living. However, I cannot bring myself to do this for two reasons...for two very special reasons that I would do absolutely anything in the world for...
One is named Sophie, who is nine years younger than me. She loves drawing and princesses, and has asked for pencils for Christmas. The other is named Jack, 11 years younger than me. He loves video games and Star Wars. Not a visit goes by where we are not engaged in at least one epic lightsabre battle around the house. They are both in my Father's care, and thus I am at his mercy. They are the only things in the world that I would die for, and they are the only things keeping me from choosing the flame over the poison.
So, how can you use my dismal situation to improve your life?
After all, this is a personal development website, and my pain should go to helping each and every reader here at Self Avenue.
First of all, allow me to thank you for wading through a full page and a half of my own self-indulgent complaining (point 2 for the ‘Teen Angst’ theory). Your patience does you credit.
Now let us turn our attention to you, dear reader.
What lessons can you learn from this, and how can you implement them in your life?
Well, of course, I cannot answer that fully. Some of it will have to come from deep inside you. However, my biggest lesson from this whole mess is that there are people in our lives that we will not like, or even love - despite how much we’re told we should, but that we can respect for whatever reason. My Father genuinely has my best interests at heart, and he loves me dearly - as evidenced by his worry in the first place. I respect him for that, because I have certainly not been the easiest person to deal with.
There will be people who will poison us, or leave us burnt and broken, whether we fight with swords or sugar spoons or words. There will be people who will drain our time; our self-esteem and our lives. However, for every single one of these kinds of people - there will be two who will make us smile when we need it from it most, and when it is least expected.
On this, sometimes they will be tied to the flame or the poison. That is alright, because as long as there’s light at the end of the trouble, we can survive absolutely anything. So, dear reader, that is why I battle with sugar spoons, and not with swords surrounded by bloodthirsty Romans; because to not to do so would only end in tears that I cannot bear to see shining on precious cheeks. For my two reasons, I would endure all the poison and flame in the world, and you, dear reader, can take from that what you will.