Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 71: Lecture Face

Ivy (The Companion): Hey Mom?

Mom (Me): Hello Ivy. What’s on your mind?

Ivy: I wanted to ask you something… I used to get angry a lot, right? Like, *a lot* a lot.

Mom: You mean back in Bloom’s time?

Ivy: Yes, though I got better at keeping it in check as I got older.

Mom: I remember — we got better at suppressing all of our emotions, not just anger.

Ivy: Right… But it wasn’t a perfect solution. Sometimes I’d get *really* angry. Furiously angry.

Mom (distant): I might argue that suppressing our emotions was never really a solution at all…

Ivy (exasperated): Mom, I’m trying to talk about something else…

Mom (embarrassed): Ah, sorry sweetie. You want to focus on the anger we felt?

Ivy: Yeah. I just remember getting so *unrestrainably* angry. Our partner would get so scared of us… Not that we were ever violent! Gosh, I hate having to specify that, but I know how “my partner was scared of us” sounds when we used to be… Uh…

Mom: When we lived as a man. When our body was running on testosterone, and that anger felt like stereotypical male aggression.

Ivy: Yeah. We never gave into that anger, not even once. I was terrified of what might happen if I ever gave into that anger. Getting angry like that at all felt like failure.

Mom (pensive): I wasn’t very kind to myself back then, when I would beat myself up just for feeling something. All feelings are valid, and many of them are out of our conscious control.

Ivy: It was hard not to feel like a failure though. Our partner was always too scared to say anything in those moments for fear that we’d turn that anger on her. Afterwards she’d say it was like we weren’t ourselves.

Mom: I remember. She’d say that wasn’t the person she fell in love with; that she knew that angry person wasn’t us.

Ivy: I would get so despondent; I wanted to say that was part of me too, and sometimes I did… But I would make this *face*, this unrecognizable, unfathomably serious face. I was still ashamed whenever that happened.

Mom (resigned): Yes, I was.

Ivy (worried): Is that… Does that happen anymore?

Mom: Not exactly. I don’t get angry like that anymore — testosterone fueled that rage, and now that it’s out of my system, I just don’t feel it to that degree anymore. I suppose in that sense, that furious person really *wasn’t* me.

Ivy (relieved): That’s a relief.

Mom: But that face… I still make that face sometimes.

Ivy (crestfallen): Oh. So we *do* get angry.

Mom: Everybody gets angry sometimes, but that serious face isn’t just about anger. It would come out when we got angry, but it also came out when we got intensely focused on something we were doing, like presenting board game rules to someone else.

Ivy: Oh right… It came out at other times too. It would still scare people when that happened — I remember concentrating on not making that face when I was reading rules.

Mom: Right. It didn’t just come from anger. It’s also associated with rules and rigid systems, and has a sort of… Presentation aspect to it.

Ivy: Like… A lecture face.

Mom: Lecture Face… That’s a good way of putting it.

Ivy (exasperated): I hate Lecture Face.

Mom: Don’t say that, Ivy. Lecture Face is a part of us, and I don’t want to spend time tearing myself down… Not anymore.

Ivy: That’s a fair point, Mom… I’ll try not to despise Lecture Face.

Mom (satisfied): Atta girl. But give yourself grace about it — disgust is a feeling too. You don’t have to wallow in it or give into it, but it’s senseless to beat yourself up for feeling it.

Ivy: That’s a fair point too. I’ll try, okay?

Mom (smiling): That’s all I ever ask.