I’m thinking about hitting a lot lately. It factors in that I’m taking a martial arts class so I’m hitting a few times a week. It factors in that I’m in a class this weekend to help me hit people without hurting myself. It factors in that I have a long and colorful history around hitting and being hit.
I don’t think hitting is morally right or morally wrong in and of itself. I think it is situational and context dependent. I think sometimes hitting is downright fun and sometimes it is severely traumatizing. Just like sex can be fantastic or a real problem.
Noah and I hit each other. Mostly this isn’t a big deal because we ask permission first and we do it in specific, negotiated ways. But sometimes someone (mostly me) fucks up and hits in a way that isn’t appropriate.
Does that make it abuse? Abuse is treating someone cruelly or violently. Was I cruel to Noah? I was demeaning. I was rude. Is that the same thing as cruel?
I hit him harder than I hit Eldest Child, but not hard in the world of me hitting people. I’m trying to learn better self control. I still fail.
When I was younger I used to hit people all the time. When I say all the time I mean that not many days went by without me hitting people. Now, outside of specific skills classes you can count on the fingers of a hand how many times I have fucked up and hit someone in the past few years.
It is a lot of progress, but is it good enough? Probably not. I am still trying to work on more self control. The problem is, I have about eleventybillion things that all need lots of self control. Self control is finite.
I’m not mad at Noah for hitting me back. I started it and I deserved it. I’m angry about how hard the hit was.
In my head I liken this to a Chihuahua and a Great Dane. (Not that I advocate hitting animals in any way shape or form–that’s never ok. They really can’t consent.) If you kinda whack a Great Dane on the back the animal might think you are just being a bit rough. If you do the exact same whack on a Chihuahua… you might be able to kill the dog.
I’m not mad at Noah for hitting me. I’m mad that he hit me that hard where he did. Because god damnit aren’t we paying enough fucking money on my god damn medical bills. I am a breakable toy.
I’m not saying I don’t deserve to be hit back when I start it. I’m saying, “How much pain can I actually absorb this lifetime.”
I’m scared. I’m scared because I feel like I’m walking a tightrope where I’m supposed to be appropriate enough for everyone else and still manage to get my pain levels down low enough to where I don’t want to die all the time. I don’t know how to balance this.
Noah and I were talking last night about the fact that it is very hard for me that I don’t have places in my life where I’m supposed to dump the big kinetic, frustrated energy I have in my life. There isn’t anyone I’m supposed to really hit. Noah and I schedule dates every so often where he beats the crap out of me. Because we both think it is hot. It’s consensual, highly negotiated, and a lot of fun. I’m not complaining in the slightest about him hitting me hard when it is on my ass instead of my head.
I think of these as boundary problems. Not necessarily abuse because we do not define some level of hitting as abuse. Some level of hitting is specifically negotiated and ok. Outside of that we have boundary problems. Are they the same as abuse? We both fuck up.
I think that abuse makes people feel small and trapped. I don’t feel like that. I don’t live in fear of Noah beating me. I think that if I’m an asshole he will reciprocate… is that abuse?
We don’t get into angry fist fights. Usually what happens is I don’t think about an impulse, I smack him, he smacks back, we both apologize and it’s over. I can live with that. I have impulse control problems (documented. It’s a thing) and yeah I fuck up. He feels he can live with the level I fuck up because I don’t attack him in anger. I smack him idly while having a conversation in a way that was completely normal for me for decades. I have mostly stopped doing it and sometimes I slip.
I grew up in a hitting culture. America is a gun culture. I grew up around people who hit casually, frequently, as a matter of course. I think my children would be shocked at how much hitting used to be common in my life. Now there’s a slip up every great while. I don’t think I hit Noah like that every year. But once in a while I fuck up.
How many fuck ups are permissible in a lifetime before it isn’t a fuck up it is a lifestyle choice?
If out of 365 days in a year I fuck up once or twice… and I don’t even do it every year so not really even once ever 365 days.
Where does it become abuse?
You know what? I didn’t hit the kid who kicked me in the throat. I don’t hit my kids when they hit me. Last night a kid I like was kicking me in the face (not real hard) and I got up and moved away from the kid after multiple verbal warnings because I sure as shit wasn’t going to hit this kid.
But I fuck up sometimes.
I’m not trying to justify or excuse it. I’m trying to describe it. I don’t think I should be doing this. I think my continual “I’m trying and failing” is pathetic and kind of… yeah. Grow the fuck up. I’m almost 35 god damn years old.
But I know a lot of 70-something year olds with impulse control problems that make mine look like a cake walk.
Am I really so evil and disgusting? I have a hitting problem. I know. I feel like a piece of shit because I know that if I go play with my friend and stomp him into the ground I will probably stop wanting this so bad for a long time. I will want it again eventually (Yes, I am a documented sadist) but not for a while. It’s like relieving pressure instead of having an explosion.
Oooooooh. I just got an email back from my friend. Noah told me I could set up some dinner dates with my friend (for extensive negotiation) then we are going to need to find an appropriate venue. Then alllllllllllllllll the hitting and kicking and slapping and pinching and scratching will be appropriate! I CAN’T FUCKING WAIT. Only I’ll wait. Because I’m patient. Like a spider. This will be all the more glorious for the anticipation. I’m really really excited that this friend suggested playing. There are things I like doing to people that not many people in this world want to experience. If you find someone who is not only tolerant but enthusiastic? That’s god damn magic.
Well I’m at an interesting point for reading this article this morning. It’s discussing victimization by gender in the UK.
I’m one of the percentage of woman who is problematic. I don’t deny that at all. I don’t deny that there are problematic women. I’m here so obviously they exist.
I have a kid clutching one hand. I guess that’s it for today.