I have always been good at wearing masks, at not letting people see the true me, or at least only revealing peeps of myself to others. I have this thing about controlling my emotions and not letting them out, which has had the effect of concealing how I really feel about many different things. Oddly enough, it is in writing that I am most able to express myself.
I have expressed true anger three times in my life. That doesn’t mean I haven’t felt, just that I have let myself off the leash only three times that I can remember. The first was when I was around 16 years old when Dad came home drunk one evening. The verbal row got physical that night and I remember hearing what was going on and coming up to the loungeroom from the reuge of my bedroom in time to see him raise his arm with a milk bottle in his hand as if he was going to strike my mother. I stepped between them and yelled at the top of my voice whereupon he backed down immediately and went to bed. I was so angry I was shaking and I left the house to wander around the block for an hour or so.
The second time was when son number two was playing up one night and refused to come to a basketball game with the rest of the family. I made him come and verbally ripped shreds off him all the way in the car about how he should remember that he was part of a family and therefore needed to do things with the family or consider leaving. I think he was about ten or so and I have regretted it ever since. I still would have made him come, I just would have toned down the language.
The third time was when my wife’s niece was staying with us and we had just purchased a couple of Brittany Spaniel puppies from friends. She asked if she could take them for a walk and we expressly forbade her taking the puppies around to the place we had brought them from because we knew the people wouldn’t be home. It was coming onto full dark and she and son number two still hadn’t returned from the walk so I got in the car to go searching for them. I found them coming back from the direction of the place we had told them not to go. When I asked if that was where they had been she lied to me and said no. I ripped right into her then as well not only for going where she had romised she wouldn’t but then for lying about it.
Now there is some irony in a couple of those instances. Firstly in telling my son he had to be part of the family when I have walked out on that. And secondly for telling my niece off for lying when I became an expert at it over the past few years.
I am still very good at masking emotion, at failing to display those true feelings and keeping everything under a tight rein. I wonder if I had not done so how things may have turned out.