The violence we do – we’re doing it to ourselves first and foremost. The anger. The rage. The clenched fist. The hissed word, spat out through our teeth, the cynical smile, the piercing sarcasm. The derisive laugh.
Aye, it feels good when we say it. When we’re standing there, blood coursing through our veins, high on adrenalin and spite. We won. I won. You lost – the argument, the fight, the competition – you bowed your head and just gave up. You loser. My anger reigned supreme.
It’s only after we cool down that our conscience kicks in. Regrets that come too late, after all that’s been said and all that’s been done. Some of us – the lucky ones – bow their head in shame, their lesson learned, and suffer through the consequences of their anger. Others are not that lucky.
It’s easy, giving in to a sense of righteousness. A post facto justification of all the things we did. “It wasn’t really that bad”, we say. “The other had it coming anyway”, we say. And pieces of our heart wash away – our good, kind heart, the one our mothers saw in us when we were little – and they’re replaced with cold, dead stone. A little bit more callous every day. A little bit more uncaring. So easy, walking down that road. Becoming just a hollow shell, loose pebbles rattling in from time to time.
I only wish my 16 year old self would not despise the man I have become.