Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Holy, Holy, Hostile

"All human beings are holy, for we all carry a scrap of divinity in us – our souls." - The Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer

Kim kept her appointment today.  She always keeps her appointments.  She is rigorously prompt. 

And Kim is angry.  

She's not just angry, she lives in her own seething firestorm of fury.  You'd never know it to look at her.  On the surface she is calm and controlled to the point of being creepy.

Kim wears her thick black hair pulled into a severe knot at the back of her head.  Her heavy bangs are tightly curled into one long tube that lies in a perfectly straight line across her forehead.  The heavy layer of gel that holds every single hair tightly in its assigned place gleams wetly in the fluorescent light.  

She doesn't wear make-up, preferring instead a mask of bland cleanliness.  Her clothes are simple, clean and rigorously tucked, tied, and ironed.  Everything about her is tightly, viciously controlled.  But if you watch for just a bit you will see deep, oozing fissures all around the edges of her control.  

Kim's internal culture of rage runs on imagination.  She plays out scenarios and conversations in her head, over and over and over, before they ever actually happen; imagining the worst and letting those thoughts fuel her anger and hostility.  She reacts to people based on what she has convinced herself they will do rather than on what they actually do.  Kim attacks people based on what she imagines, not what is happening in reality.  Naturally, the people she interacts with respond to her unprovoked umbrage with anger and violence of their own, which reinforces Kim's imaginings and everything swirls and boils and feeds on itself.  

It must be exhausting to live inside Kim's head.  Or with her in her house.  

Kim knows this is wrong.  She can talk about it with me and admit she is at fault.  But she will not apologize to the people she wrongs.  It's almost physically impossible for her to say the words.  Instead, after she hurts the people she cares about, she will try to do something nice for them - cook her husband's favorite meal, draw his bath, etc.  (I had no idea people still 'drew a bath'.  Kim draws baths.)  She tries to be nice, until someone says or does something that triggers the alarm in her head again and she lashes out over past or imagined injustices. 

Today we talked about how her cesspool of rage is going to kill her and everything she cares about.  It has been killing things around her for years - her childhood, her children's self-respect, her previous marriages.  

We agreed that no one can break through her walls from the outside.  She is a master mental brick mason and her walls are impregnable.  Even if she could find a knight on a white horse, there is no magic strong enough to get him through to her, even if he and the horse he rode in on managed to survive the fields of thorns that surround the ramparts.  

Instead, Kim is going to have to chink away at those barricades from the inside.  Tiny chip by tiny chip, day after day, year after year.

Today she agreed to make a small chip in the wall - the tiniest of gestures.  Kim owns a pad of post it notes.  She's going to go home, write "I'm sorry I yelled at you this morning" on a note and leave it where her husband can find it.  She's agreed to make this gesture with no expectations.  She's agreed that all the crappy reactions she's already planning for him to have will not force her into any sort of reaction.  She will just leave the note, and not say anything about it. 

Or, so she says.  We'll see. 

Kim has lots and lots of problems.  But there are scraps...

For instance, she likes to read.  Kim reads poetry. 

She keeps a written record of many of the poems she comes across.  Her notebook currently consists of 379 separate poems with one common theme.  Each and every one of them has the word bitch in it.  Three hundred and seventy-nine bitch poems.

Kim's texting signature is "boss bitch".  She has a devil tattoo on her ankle that also says "boss bitch".   The tattoo seems a little incongruous with her severe schoolmarm vibe, but I'm certainly not going to judge.  Mainly because if I did, I've no doubt that she would cut out my heart and nail it to the floor without a single regret or a second thought.  Kim may be small, but she brings new intensity to the word 'fierce'. 

Most of Kim's "scraps" are anything but divine, but here and there you can see a bit of light trying to shine through the cracks.  The light is almost completely swallowed by the darkness, but it's still there - just pinpricks of it - if you look closely.

Kim has never apologized to anyone for anything.  Not ever.

I don't think she will follow through with the apology note.  I think the voices of experience and imagination playing in her head will convince her it is futile.  She isn't really ready to change.  But I'm still hopeful.  Hopeful that one day she will recognize her own holiness and heal enough stop hurting others, or isolate herself enough that her anger can't reach them.

If nothing else, she can at least admit that she's nuts.  And that's no small step. 


annie said...

Poor Kim.

beth said...

This is so deeply spiritual that it leaves me breathless.


I'll have to comment later, after I process this a bit. But your insight makes you a better pastor / minister / spiritual director than most. To be PRESENT enough to SEE her and understand her.....


(you're an awesome writer, too. damn.)

(i gotta quit cussing.)


Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I am intrigued by that many bitch poems. I wonder who hurt her.

I am glad you can see those things in her.

spookyrach said...

Damn, Beth! You made me laugh out loud! :D

I'm intrigued by those poems, too, Mindy. She writes them as well as collecting them from other people. I don't know how many she's written, but she's got 379 from other people. The only thing she writes that is NOT bitch poetry are poems and letters to her son, who is in prison.

Cyn Huddleston said...

Like Mindy, I wonder how many blows from how many directions makes someone that tight and hard.

Cyn Huddleston said...

Life quits sucking, you can quit cussing.

Anonymous said...

Poor Kim. She is a sad bitch. And a mad bitch. Probably just like the bitch(es) that hurt her.
Very much like a Russian novel.
And you write like a boss!
*bows humbly*

Hope said...

I never said, "I'm sorry " to anyone with the exception of a girl at bible camp ( there's another in person story complete with an angel) until after I'd become a Christian. This past year has taught me there's a big difference between feeling sorry and feeling sorrow. I sure identify with this woman. It is exhausting trying to keep the reins tight on having the semblance of that much control and that much aversion to vulnerability.

spookyrach said...

I'd love to hear the story Hope - in person for sure!

There is such a difference between sorry and sorrow. There is also a huge gap between saying "I was wrong" and making someone enchiladas. Enchiladas are good - I can't discount that. But they don't have the restorative power of those three little words.

Anonymous said...

I like the way you are guiding her "Small chips in her wall". I also work scenarios of conversations out in my head. They never are the way i believe they will be. You are a awesome writer and officer. CT

spookyrach said...

Thanks, Cindy!!

I am with ya on the head conversation bit. I do it all the time. And I'm always wrong! haha!