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Posts Tagged ‘aggression’

You’re hesitating, says John from behind his mask.

Each time I invite you to strike, you wait. And he’s right.

Each time before I extend and lunge, I drop my sword.

It’s crazy. I tell myself not to do it, but every time

he motions to strike, instinct says: drop the sword.

John, I say, I’ve trained myself not to be aggressive.

When people are vulnerable, I do everything I can

to make them feel safe. It helps that John

is gentle. It helps that he beams at me a genuine smile.

Don’t think of it as aggression, he says. If someone

you love gives you the signal to touch them,

aren’t you always ready to meet them then?

And I am. Think of it as an invitation to touch.

I wonder how many stories I’ve hardwired into me.

Thou shalt not hurt. Thou shalt not strike.

Thou shalt not stab another with a sword.

I wonder that I struggle so instinctively now

when this is so clearly a game.

John drops his sword. I extend, I lunge.

I touch his chest through his silver vest

with the tip of my sword, then retreat.

Good, he says. Good. Again. Again.

Is this the way we learn all the rules

we have written for ourselves?

By breaking them. Is this the way

we might choose to meet our opponents?

By loving them.

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