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Despite All My Rage I’m Still Just A Rat In A Cage

May 25, 2011

I have no idea if this is true, it might just be an old wives tale, but when I was a kid my Mom always warned me to never trap a rat in a corner, because that feeling of claustrophobia would send it straight for my jugular. For some reason, I associated this image with my grandma’s basement. It’s a creepy place, earth floor, big ass rock in the corner, webs, and slithery bugs. My grandma is dead, and I now live in that house. The same house where I spent my teens… afraid to go in the basement.

Since being back in town, I’ve noticed that the likelihood of running into someone from your past that you don’t want to see is much more frequent when you live in a small town. It’s much easier to avoid awkward run-ins in a big city like Montreal, depending on how insular your neighbourhood is.

Anyhow, over the holidays, I was standing in line at the local grocery store when I spotted the guy who took my virginity walk through the automatic doors. My first reaction was to look away and hope to god he hadn’t seen me. As soon as I sunk my face into my scarf, I got angry. I’m not sure if I was angry with him or with myself for not being able to let go of the past. Part of me, that fifteen year old girl who remains in my heart somewhere, felt like a cornered rat. I wanted to go for his jugular. I wanted to go up to him and tell him that he had been a real douche, and that the things he had done really hurt me.

Of course, I didn’t move from my spot in the check out line. I positioned myself behind the newspaper rack, and hoped he wouldn’t see me. I didn’t do anything, because for one, it would be pointless, second, you can’t dump your shit one another person, especially when the moment you should have spoken up was fifteen years ago, third, I don’t like confrontations. Which of these reasons weighed heaviest on my shoulders who knows. Maybe, I’m just a coward. Either way, it was a lesson in learning to let go, and a lesson in no longer letting people treat you in a way that you find unacceptable.

There’s no need to get angry, or feel ashamed, although those feelings are totally normal, but sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break. Recognize situations or people who awaken negative feelings in us and be compassionate with ourselves as well as curious. I say curious, because curiosity doesn’t indulge in judgement. It’s a light, inquisitive way to look into ourselves without the burden of shame or guilt. And that’s something we all need a little practice in. There’s no reason to be afraid to go in the basement.

If you want to understand why I would be pissed at this guy read I Lost My Virginity To The N.W.A.

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