Letter to my Teenager
I know you do not understand why I yell sometimes
To you, it comes out of nowhere when all you did was...
Please understand that rage is but a manifestation of fear
When I yell, I am experiencing this fear and sharing it with you
Not in the best way, but how I experience it in that unloosed moment
when I do not know what or how or when and why is an unthinkable reality I do not want to manifest.
When I yell, I am saying to you in a new way because calmly didn't work – you must know when to be respectful. I have threatened to kill you but we both know I will not. When you disrespect me, I still love you. If you carry that behavior with you outside of home, you may be killed.
When I yell, I am pleading with you to not be killed when it can be avoided.
When I yell, I am frustrated that your hormonal response to moving into adulthood may too easily be misconstrued. You must have more control over these biological changes than other teenagers whose skin burns in the sun while yours blossoms. You must not stomp away or demand to know why the officer has asked you so many questions when all you are doing is walking home from school laughing loudly with your friends while all of you wear hoodies and carry skateboards or basketballs or --god forbid--baseball bats and gloves.
When I yell, I am pleading with you not to be killed because even a wallet in your hand is a weapon.
When I yell, I am entreating you to understand that no matter what transpired before, this time may be different. Be they friend or foe, so few people can be trusted; you have to magically balance this reality with openness so that you do not close the door to opportunity. Be open and watchful and kind and aware that your kindness may be taken for weakness. Live peacefully and sleep with one eye open and, when someone shows you who they really are, when their deeds reveal their true selves, believe.
When I yell, I am pleading with you to be careful who you trust or they may set you up to be killed.
When I yell, I am shouting that I love you too much to sit back and let you fail without trying to catch you, help you, stop you and you won't listen to reason. I have every reason to want to see you succeed and sometimes, when I can see you on that opposite path and rational discussion has yielded no results, I choose to yell. Every action and inaction is a choice. We all choose the path with obstacles and pain sometimes but, because we have the freedom of choice, we can choose to turn to a different path.
When I yell, I am pleading with you to learn from your mistakes; you can still be successful if you learn and grow from them but if you choose stubbornness instead, you may help yourself be killed.
When I yell, I am screaming I love you, please do not be killed! Please do not let yourself be killed! Please do not help others kill you! Please live! PLEASE LIVE! PLEASE LIVE!