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Creative Yammerings

Asaan's Crash

… I just crashed into someone.


The family is out and about, starting the day with a few errands. Asaan, my 7-year-old is doing what children sometimes do, being an annoying little shit. Too much talking, too many noises, not listening, being selfish, and being difficult.


Nikki and I have asked him several times to stop, and each ask is peppered with more frustration. He complies but after a few moments of silence he's back at it.


I've reached my quota of annoyance with him and as turning off of a main street into a strip mall’s lot I take the opportunity I turn to him from the driver’s seat to threaten him with angry daddy eyes, a reminder of how close he treads to a line in my,,,, quick-sand.


In a startled quick tone, Nikki blurts half of my name. It's the universal pitch to "watch the road". I only turned for a milla-moment but when snapping around I found the car in front of me had come to a full stop.


My body tenses to brace for impact, I grab and squeeze the steering wheel tightly, and stomp the brake into the car floor with my full weight. Everyone in the car violently lurches forward. It is a hard dramatic stop but by mere inches, we miss the collision and an uncomfortable interaction with some stranger who I have no interest in speaking to.


Anger

Becomes

Pissed


I could have been ok if I hadn’t looked back but I needed to look back. I wanted the commotion to have pushed Asaan into some level of grounded fear. Wanted him to understand what he almost caused. I turned hoping he felt guilty or took some responsibility for being a distraction. Both of his brothers sit silently on either side of him with wide eyes of complete understanding that something bad almost happened even in not understanding what that bad was.


Asaan in all his oblivious youth isn't concerned, in fact, he is smiling doing this exaggerated swaying lurch back and forth letting out a sound as if the experience is fun “whooooooooooo-ooooo!!!”. His arms are above his head flailing back and forth, in one hand he holds a paper plane.


Pissed

Becomes

Rage


There is a boiling resentment in me. It feels unfair to be solely responsible for bearing this burden of frustration. A part of me doesn't care that he is a 7-year-old doing what 7-year-olds do. I know he knows better. My lower self doesn’t understand that I am a father, the protector, and that I should be the epitome of maturity and balance. I don’t feel mature or balanced, I feel dangerous and heavy, hot in my face and chest. I feel as if a streak of violence could transport me away from this frustration and deliver me into a zen-like callllllllm.


As we pull the rest of the way through the lot I go silent. I secretly understand this level of anger. My silence is dark, my silence no longer formulates words but squats in a corner honing a ragged intention across a stone. This part always feels scary because I’m aware that my linchpin has been snatched out. There is an internal loss of control where my outer being acts as a mobile entrapment for something that is ugly that thrashes inside to get out.


This calm

aint calm


Asaan is my artsy son, currently, he has immersed himself in paper planes. He carries one with him now. He’s been softly admiring his creation pretending a flight pattern in the air space within his arm’s reach above the terrain of his lap.


We pull into a parking space and Nikki gets out to go into a store. I watch her vanish behind a tinted door. Whatever it is I aim to do I pre-know that it’s not something she would not approve of. With the car stopped I now have access to him, access free of a designated thinker to remind me of calm and idealistic parenting responses, responses, and do-right-idealism that I don't give a fuck about right now. I'm glad she's not here to see and judge, glad she’s not here to snatch back at my taut leash. I want to make a purposeful mistake to bring myself balance, I need retribution to make this shit right.


As soon as Nikki is deep into the store my attention turns back to Asaan. I'm not sure what I’m going to say or do but I feel certain that the balance I seek demands of me to peel any resemblance of happiness from this boy's being. This was my time to break him, to unload and force a needed silence from him.


He has no clue that he is now shoulder deep past my line. He still circles his plane in the air paying me no mind. Then he pauses and notices me looking.


In a hateful moment, I blurt “givemethat!!!!!'' at the same time I reach and snatch his plane from its air space and immediately crush it into a wad of trash and retract it into my lap. I stare into his eye to show him my commitment to regaining control. I need him to know that being in this lot that he was only circumstantially removed from being that crushed wad of plane.


His eyes stare back at me wide. He floats somewhere between fear, shock, sadness, and confusion. It was like I snatched the large plug out of his happiness and the hiss of him coming to terms with what just happened is pleasing to my spirit, it smells of honey blossom and give-no-fucks bringing some abstract junk food soothing civility to the rage that haunts me.


As a creative I know destroying a creation is the most hurtful of transgressions. It’s mean-spirited and crosses a line that cuts deeper than it should. It's not something that should ever be done especially from one creative to the next, especially from a parent to their child.


After a brief basking moment in warmth those wide shocked eyes I immediately begin to feel guilty. I turn back forward before my anger melts away. Part of me wants to stay angry but another part, most of me, my higher self is aware that I've crossed a line and in all my power to bully my baby into unhappiness I feel small and fucking petty. I am ashamed and sorry.


As I look forward to the still door that Nikki vanished behind my frowned brow quivers and feels heavy and put on. I can’t look back at him so I just stare forward and allow the brewing anger its time to cool. There is now pure silence as we wait. My other sons sit silent but I can feel Asaan still looking at me, wishing he could snatch me out of the car and take back what I took from him.


Although it had only been just moments I began to mentally word my apology. I guess that's how morality works, sometimes we feel bad after we get what you want. It's time for me to put on my adult hat and try to repair some of this damage.


As I focus forward I hear rummaging but don't look because looking back thus far has not served me well. I’m afraid to look because I hope I'm done being mean and we need a decent transition from anger to being ok. I'm also a little afraid that maybe there is the aftershock of petty I still want to lay his way, I don't trust myself.


There is more rummaging and a very light slow crumpling sound as if one of the kids are intentionally being silent because of the conflict. When I finally turn to look, it is Asaan. In his lap, there is a construction zone of folding paper. He is fashioning a new smaller plane from a random receipt found on the floor of the car.


The moment I turned his way his hands pause and his eyes meet mine as if he's been expecting my gaze. He stares directly into my eyes. His tiny brow now bunches in anger and NOTHING about his scowl quivers. Moreover, any emotion he felt before remains but is now wrapped and bow-tied with defiance. This smaller plane wasn't a creation of joy, this was an act/creation of passion and liberation. Even with being in the blast radius of my touch, he creates to regain his own balance.


While maintaining unblinking eye contact, Asaan slowly pulls the half-finished plane from his lap closer to his chest. He is keenly aware that I may snatch the second plane. He's not willing to fight me for it or even snatch it out of my reach, but I absolutely would have to work a little harder than before.


His defiance is enraging. “How dare he not even pause in trying to reclaim the happiness I snatched from him? How dare he not be hurt to tears as a child should? How dare he not even pause because of my anger and just float nonstop to reconstruction? How dare he look at me with defiance”.... I already know the answer, cuz he knows better.


My higher self understands what I see is far bigger than his tiny piece of folded paper, bigger than my smaller rudderless emotions. On a larger scale what I see is precisely what I aim to raise in him, exactly what I need him to be, hero-shit. My higher self stands and screams in my head cheerleading his actions. “You ga’damn right son!!!!! You don’t let ANYFUCKINBODY take your joy! You work at and protect your passions against all invaders." I understand crushing the first plane was about crushing his moment of happiness, crushing the second plane would be me trying to crush something in him that should remain pristine.


To guard against any traces of residual anger my higher self turns its attention to my lower self. With those same threatening eyes, the same heaviness and power, the same danger that I directed toward my baby my higher self drags a new line in the sand for myself. “YOU will not cross this line, you will leave him alone, you will sit your ass quietly with your bruised little ego and admire him” and I did just that.


After we lock eyes for a bit, I allow my face to soften, acknowledging his new plane with a half nod "yes" to silently concede and slowly turn back around in my seat. Asaan played chicken with Papa 16-wheeler and earned a win. He crashed through my expectations and presented a spine that I must honor and bow to.


Thank you Asaan


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