To (verbally) cave someone’s chest in

It is exceedingly rare and  hard to get me into moments in which I’m tempted to give my not-so-better-angels full rein. Moments when I’d like to (figuratively) cave someone’s chest in, through the use of well-aimed words.

Now, I know caving a chest in is something of a harsh visual. I learned the phrase in late December 1969, in reform school, the New Hampton Training School for Boys. It was located, not surprisingly, in New Hampton, part of New York State’s, Orange County.

Learned the phrase only days after my arrival. I heard one boy, my age, say to another boy, who’d angered him, “Say that again, I’ll cave your fucking chest in.”

Right away I realized that my big threat when angered, “Say that again and I’ll punch you in the nose,” sorely lacked the drama and breath-taking imagery his did. I’ve never ever threatened to punch a person in the nose since.

The impulse to verbally “cave a chest” in is infrequent for me these days. Has been for many years. 

However, blatant human cruelty can push my buttons.

I’ve verbally caved White Power Icon Stephen Miller’s chest in many times, Trump’s too.

It’s much harder, though,  when the blatant cruelty you are facing has been aimed at you by someone who would swear to the high heavens they love you (and you genuinely love and care about) who will, lose their shit, as the saying goes, at aim sentences at you that are rooted in heartlessness, absence of any empathy, and,  reeking of so much self-absorption you’re thinking, not without reason, narcissist.

The challenge, at least for those in my position, is what to do. One thing is for sure, not tolerate an iota of cruelty from anyone, much less one who claims to love you, is the place to start, and understanding, massively hard as that is, that another person’s unhealthy and destructive behavior does not deserve so much power in your life, it leads you to make choices you’d later regret having made.

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Writing Sanctuary

Last night, an unexpected and brutally painful event wounded my heart and soul. It reminded me how blessed I am to have the sanctuary of writing. As for specifics of the event itself, let me just say that you can love some in life with all your might and their demons will still lead them to cut your throat.

Writing is not easy, at least not for me. I find few things more intimidating than an empty page that expects me (of all people!) to fill it with something. Yet, once the story begins, the characters are there. You get to know them and they get to know you. In a very real way you become deeply close to each other. I even grow close to the characters I don’t like. Usually I don’t like them because they are laced with cruelty and greed and their siblings, none of whom have never impressed me. But I like my characters – all of them – because I grow to know the all of them.

When life wounds my heart and soul, it is comforting to know I have the sanctuary of writing to return to, my characters to hang out with. I hope you, my dear reader, have sanctuaries in your life too. We all deserve them.
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