Today, it was 5am. Aru wanted a bottle feed and then he’s meant to go back to sleep till around 6:30am. We have a daily tiff about who has to get up. The reality being that we’ll both be awake at his first cry and won’t fall back to sleep till around 1pm after a heavy lunch. It’s been going on for a month. I blame it on daylight savings.
Combined with this, the dishes not done from the night before and other day-to-day stresses, we should have seen it coming.
V did the 5am feed.
I did the 6:30am wake up.
Except. Usually V takes Aru for a walk. I don’t.
So in my anger, I started clanging the dishes and clearing out the sink to make room for breakfast orders.
Naturally, V couldn’t sleep.
Chucking a hissy and me chucking one back, I knew it was one of his darker days when he cursed me. V just about never curses.
But what he does say is, “Shut Up!”.
And it is terrifying.
His eyes bulge from their sockets and he expends all that energy into two swift words.
I know this is that moment.
Fight or flight.
I also know now, that flight is always the better option.
I request him to leave Aru with me.
But in this moment, he sees no sense.
I know Aru is safe purely because I know V.
But I also know, my temper is rising.
I imagine a glorious slap, firm, unrelenting and ruthless.
My palm to his unshaven cheek.
That is when I know I’m in trouble if I stay.
I don’t usually think violent thoughts.
So I wait. Silent. Unobserved.
He takes Aru out for a walk.
I shower and leave.
All the same.
I have no plans.
No car keys.
No food in my belly.
No water from the night.
But I know, I need to leave.
Domestic violence is a beast.
But as I was walking today, I had some clarity about V and his nature of it.
He is suppression.
Tense. Tight. Bound energy wanting release.
Where did he learn this from?
To keep it all inside?
Me? I’m the opposite.
Complaining, expressing, vocalising.
It’s in my bones.
It’s the only way I know how to be.
To get it out.
And as always.
I go back to a childhood.
Where a boy has learnt to suppress.
Because being “good” is suppressing.
Not saying how you feel or talking about money, family, relationships is a manly, godly way to be.
Where boys are hit. Smacked.
Crying wasn’t encouraged.
Tantrums were “dealt” with.
I think every campaign against domestic violence is a joke if we don’t teach children how to be themselves. How to feel the feels. If we don’t give them a safe place to express.
How can we fix the adult by saying, “No. Violence is wrong.”
WTF does that even mean?
It’s a paltry effort.
It’s like saying, “Don’t eat the chocolate. It’s wrong.”
We all eat the chocolate.
It simply has little effect.
And so it goes on.
But I wonder.
What if we said.
Mother’s, take a break in your day, we’ll help you out with some additional cleaning / daycare / sanity.
What if we said.
Father’s, it’s okay if you’re feeling financial pressure. It’s okay if you’re overwhelmed and we’ve got ideas to help you work through it.
What if we said, “Hey Aru, have a cry, get into child’s pose with your tantrum and let the sad all out.”
What if we said, “It’s okay to be angry Aru. You must be feeling really pissed off right now. I can hear it in your voice.”
What if I said, “Aru, because I’m bigger and stronger than you, doesn’t mean it’s okay for me or anyone to hit you.”
What if I said, “When someone hurts you, you take a step away from that, because sweetheart, that shit is nothing on you. It’s got nothing to do with you. So you decide if you want to stay or take flight. Whatever feels safest for you.”
Violence is a sickness of the mind.
And the only way we can treat it, is by treating the mind.
And as always.
It has to start with love.
Nothing but love.