Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fight or Flight

I would like to think of myself as a generally level-headed, easygoing guy. I try to mind my business as much as possible and not get involved in the affairs of others if I can. While this is certainly laudable (or I think it should be), my decision to not always speak up at every little thing is sometimes taken as me having a huge flight reaction.

On the other hand, when someone says something about my friends, or someone I'm just with or if I'm somewhat tipsy, my instant response is "I'm gonna break your face." This reaction has grown recently in my past few years and has been the side that my roommates have been exposed to so much to the point that I heard one of them commenting that he should invite a guy over and have me hurt him. Mind you I was in my room at 3 AM at this point and probably asleep in his head.

My problem is this- how do I balance my nice side which I like and I think the people who like me like a lot with the tune up the world side I try to keep under wraps?

I think a lot of time people seem to mistake my being quiet or kind or glossing over things for weakness. It's not. It stems from a fear of SNAPPING! I come from a family of SNAPPERS! From the oldest to the youngest. Just a question of degree. Someone shove you? SNAP! Someone was talking about you? SNAP! Who owes me money? SNAP! Any and everything was a pathway to an altercation, whether verbal or physical. A great deal of my childhood was just tests of toughness and not backing down. I failed a lot of these test because I was more concerned with getting through the day and not getting hurt. I didn't feel the need to prove myself in this regard as much as the others around me. My realm was books and being smart. (my younger self is the polar opposite of my later self) I was also scared since I kept a lot of emotions bottled up most of the time that my SNAPPING! would be so much worse and I wouldn't be able to stop myself.

This is not to say that I didn't have my SNAP! moments or points. Two that stick with me to this day is someone threatening my siblings and saying something about my mother. There are no solutions but SNAPPING! for me in those moments.

But as I have grown older I have noticed that although we are supposed to be a civilized society, a great many people only seem to respect or acknowledge physicality and violence. Just look at the rise in popularity of mixed martial arts (and yes there is discipline, training and honor in that but NO ONE would watch unless someone was getting punched in the face). And for all that shite about wanting a nice guy and someone caring, most people are going to go for that guy who can or appears that they can protect them in some way.

I get highly irritated when people doubt me or what I'm capable of in this regards. True, I'm not going to be the next UFC champ and I can't press 400 lbs. but I can guarantee I will walk through the worst neighborhoods and make it out with little trouble. Do not let the glasses fool you. When it comes down to it and its me or you losing, its going to be YOU. Every. Time.

So, where do I find this balance? How do I prove that I will fight without having to hit everyone from here to my house that accidentally jostles me? Or better yet, why do I have to prove myself to the world? The sad thing is I know I do and so do you.

Some of us are fighters and some of us aren't. Some of us talk shit and some of us don't. How can I live in balance?