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Monday, February 23, 2009

Passion v. Anger

Following the recent, "spirited" conversation that graced this blog, I have been thinking a lot about the difference between passion and anger.  You see, despite my assurances to the contrary, at the close of our discussion I was declared an angry person.  This surprised me.  Truly and honestly.  I read and reread much of what I wrote, genuinely confused at the basis for the assertion.  My conclusion is that there is a disconnect in recognizing the difference between passion and anger.

I am generally a happy person.  I say generally, because I am human.  I have my regular moments of frustration with my disobedient children or my "relaxing-amid-a-dirty-house" husband.  But I would rarely, if ever, call myself an angry person.  Anger, in my opinion, denotes a lack of control. I don't like to lose control and avoid it like the plague, taking pains to walk away rather than escalate.

I am, however, a very passionate person.  I am passionate about a lot of things and my true friends can attest to that fact and love me either for it or despite it.  I am passionate about striving toward greater independence from modern medicine.  I am passionate about homeschooling my children (though my husband does not share this passion...yet). :0)  I am passionate about taking a stand against marriage and family redefinition.  I am passionate about cheesecake (seriously).  I am passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am passionate about become self-reliant and self-sustaining.  I am passionate about teaching my children what is right and what is wrong; what is good and what is bad.  I am passionate about a great many things and my passion doesn't stop at the keyboard; rather, it flows through it.

The fated conversation sitting dormant a few posts down, begun in response to an innocent post about an innocent two-year-old's imagination, still tickles at the back of my brain now and then, offering much food for thought.  I have been alternately baffled, humbled, penitent, stoic, adamant, and of course, forever passionate.  I am convinced that my initial response to my inquisitor was natural and fair.  However, once Lisa explained what she didn't mean, I let my need for validation get the better of me by continuing the conversation in the hopes that she (or Kari) would, at the very least, express an understanding for how their words could have reasonably been perceived, by me, the subject at which they were directed, as unkind and inappropriate. Instead, our discussion continued to escalate as I sought validation and Lisa offered up explanations.

For my part in the escalation, I apologize.  Profoundly.

Kari was partially right about one thing, though.  I have changed.  But I don't think it's for the worse.  It used to be that I wouldn't disagree with anyone about anything.  I was a people pleaser. I still am, to some extent, but if this marriage debate has taught me one glaring thing, it's that I have a strong opinion and it's okay to share that on my home turf.  I figure if people don't like what I write now, they are more than welcome to not read what they disagree with.  In fact, I have a lovely friend who does disagree with me on some issues I am very passionate about.  We have reached a very amicable truce.  She doesn't read those specific posts and I don't bring it up with her (though I have slipped up before, completely on accident...sorry L!).  We simply agree to disagree.  And I don't ever express a dissenting opinion on her blog, so I guess that's why Lisa's comment caught me by surprise on my blog.

So why write this?  Why dredge up the past?  Why not let it lie?  Well, I guess because for me, it has not really passed.  Not yet.  I still think about it and I have been wanting to express my thoughts here at "home."  Some of the things said were hurtful.  I've got thick skin, but hearing stuff like that from friends is never easy or appreciated.  I guess the purpose of writing this post is to convey my thoughts as they've been tumbling around in my head lately.  And perhaps a little bit to vindicate myself and offer up an alternative to the crazy, angry, hyper-sensitive lady image that Kari suggested then rescinded.

I know that Lisa and Kari are good people, children of God, great mothers, etc.  I know that I should have walked away rather than escalate.

In the end, I hope to convey that I was (am) passionate, not angry.  I was defensive, not angry.  I was upset, not angry.

I am me.  I love being me.  I love learning and growing...and even changing.  I don't like feeling as though my parenting is being called into question by a friend, but as Lisa assured that was not her intent, I should have trusted that and refrained from seeking validation of my erroneous interpretation.

I am sorry, Lisa.
I am sorry, Kari.
I am sorry, Blog World.
I am sorry, Lord.


Sara said...

Okay, now that you've got this out of your system, can we go over the circumcision thing again? HAHAHA....just teasing you- I'm allowed to do that to my sister. I think this was a very mature post to well, post. :) I doubt I would have been this adult about it. I still would be emailing angry death threats to all who dared to defy me. Jarem, you're going to get one soon. haha, just kidding again. Anyway, seriously, Elizabeth, you are the LAST person on earth I would think of as "angry", or a bad parent, or a "primadona", or a crazy $%#$#*^, or confrontational, etc, etc. I am actually proud of you that you defended yourself so well against some pretty stupid accusations. You have better friends than that- friends that can disagree without personally attacking you and your family. That includes me. :)

Liz said...

Aw Sara, I love you like a sister. Oh wait.... :0) Thanks for not thinking I'm a crazy $%#$#*^. And thanks for our great conversation today. Maybe someday we'll end up living by each other. That would be a miracle.

Scott and Megan said...

Liz, I like you being you too. Have you heard the saying about surrounding yourself with people you want to be like? Why do you think I keep calling and inviting myself over? :) Keep on keepin' on. I like the Liz that is.

Scott and Megan said...

ok, that is a wierd comment full of cheesey sayings. sorry...

Lindsey said...

Your blog is your home and your arena for sharing your personal and public thoughts. Your readers should elect to read or not read depending upon whether they wish to hear your thoughts on the subject at hand. Your blog is never a place where you should be attacked. Whether that is or is not what happened, only you and Kari and Lisa can say. However, I have always felt that a blog is as much a life journal as it is a means to stay in touch with friends and family. That should be respected.

I hope you have made peace with the previous discussions that took place. Life really is too short for lingering conflict and I hate the thought of anything eating away at you like that. And, believe me, I know the feeling!

May you have a happy, sunny, bright, cheerful day! Perhaps make a cheesecake with the boys? :)


ScottnLisa said...

We all loose our minds when we're angry. You're a saint compared to me when my temper flares. Is it right? No, but I work on it everyday, and someday I will be master of my domain :) You're a wonderful, amazing, talented child of God Liz. It wouldn't be fair to the rest of us if you were completely perfect. It's a relief to know that you, too, struggle with your own demons. Thank you for showing the rest of us how to be strong and humble ourselves to our own weaknesses. I'm a passionate person too...and yes, it also gets me into trouble sometimes. I'm a work in progress. :)

Liz said...

Thanks Megan! You know I love it that you invite yourself over. :0) Actually, I wish you'd do it more often, but that also requires that I keep my house clean on a more regular basis. :0) Oh well, clean house or not, I love having you here! So come!

Lindsey, thanks for understanding, and eloquently explaining, the very personal nature of blogs. It's fun to share a part of who I am with people I love. I am definitely feeling better having gotten these thoughts off my chest and apologizing for the part I played in escalating rather than deescalating. Alas, Dan is the cheesecake maker in our house. I would most likely botch the project! :0)

Lisa, thank you.

Tiffany J said...

Wow! Wow! In order to understand this post I had to spend the last 30 minutes or so reading the original post (again) and all the comments. I am literally sick to my stomach! I can't believe those were "friends" making comments on your family blog. I can't even imagine what the deleted comments say. It would take me a long time to get over this. I am glad you have so many other friends who do support you! There is no way you deserved that critiscm all based on a child's comment. Your kids are lucky to have you as their mom. Whew! I feel like I need to lay down and rest to slow my heart from racing. Love you Liz!

audlyn said...

Liz, you are so honest and amazing! i enjoy reading your blog. I love that you are recording special and silly little moments in your children's lives. I would never have "read" more into the cute little story than what is was, a cute childhood moment.
I believe there is a difference in our emotions that you described. You are a great writer. Thanks for sharing.
Love you!