Secretly some part of me wants the dreams in which I am the action hero. Every time I hit back is a time I am stealing back from the girl who just followed orders. Use your words.
Words did nothing.
I broke Neutral Good and that was lucky. I learned to obey rules because not obeying meant punishment, even though my parents tried to teach me not to fear the punishment. I wonder how many detentions would have gotten me suspended? How many suspensions would’ve gotten me expelled? And how awesome would that have been for me?
Why did I not hit them? Kick them? Bite, scream, curse more roundly? Because America was the land of the free as long as I toed the line? (But there are exceptions for people who are born into power, or are willing to commit enough evil to achieve it.)
Soft girl. Soft skills. And I watch the people around me try to work within the system. I wonder whether I can do it. Can I be a company (wo)man? Can I believe unflinchingly in what is right, so that when it all goes to hell, I’m the one left standing to rebuild? But Phil Coulson knew how to kick some serious ass in order to get where he got. What can I leverage to make people think twice before they screw me or mine again?
But I’m too weary to become a lawyer. I have the teeth for it. Just not the energy. Also, the brain fog would wash me out of law school in three seconds flat.
This is why, when I think about my career, I don’t think as much about the comfy suburban office and the sad post-millennials I will inevitably have to cure of their parents’ stupidity. I suppose I’ll do that when I’m even older and more decrepit, but in the meantime, I want to be the one with the police or the EMTs, taking the scary calls. I want to wear a vest with block letters on. Or I want to work in a prison with people society couldn’t be arsed to help in the first place. Or I want to be the witness who takes down the motherfuckers who use and abuse those who are smaller in any way.
I am one point five meters, eighty-five pounds of you-should-be-afraid.
In the end I’m still the daughter/niece/cousin of people who do hard things. I can’t erase that piece of my identity any more than I can scrap either of my nationalities. In my direct line of descent alone are two military men, three if you count the grandfather by adoption. I’m pretty sure what my grandmother did at the end of the war was looting from the nasties. Success was survival, and kid, it still is.
How am I supposed to live with myself if I never put my ass on the line for anyone else?
that I wasn’t brave enough to sock my bullies in the nose
that I listened when they told us it would go on our permanent records
that I stayed a minute longer in that school than I had to
that when they let him off easy, I couldn’t stand my ground
that when it turned into him using my body, I didn’t get some of my own back
(except for three lilac trees)
(which I love independent of their sender)
that when he went all Uncle Terry on my cast, I didn’t fucking film him doing it
that I didn’t have footage to leak to YouTube
that I didn’t lawyer up and sue the fuck out of Dilip and his sweatshop
that I can’t even get Nitwit to back the fuck off
that someone broke my dad and I can’t do a damn thing about it.
So I can’t go the rest of my life being passively resistant to the bullshit in the world. A force for change is a goddamn force.
And now I have to turn this into an essay for a bunch of bureaucrats so I can have a degree before next June. Then the real work begins.