The home I grew up in was violent. Saying that sounds like my mother beat me which is not the case. Her violence was never directed at me, or my brother, or our pets, or any living things, it was mostly directed at the furniture, and walls, and doors of our house. In fact, most of the time I don’t think my brother or I were even the catalyst for the violence, although we were kids and sometimes kids do things that make their parents angry. I think my mom’s anger was usually brought on by the frustration of trying to drag us above the poverty line, working as a legal secretary, going to law school, dealing with the discrimination and harassment that women face in male dominated industries, all whilst trying to raise two kids.

Regardless of what caused my mother’s anger and subsequent violence, and regardless of the fact that the violence wasn’t directed at me or my brother, it was still pretty terrifying to witness and had a lasting effect on me. It’s probably the primary reason that I a non-violent person. I’ve never punched so much as a pillow much less a person. I’ve never even slapped anyone. I’ve never fired a gun, or touched a gun, or even actually seen a gun outside of muskets and the like in museums. One time, in my early twenties, I got super angry and I threw a hair brush and it totally freaked me out.

The thing that always struck me the most about my mom’s outbursts was that it never seemed to make her feel any better. It made me feel like violence is never right.

There are two responses to violence and by far the more common one is to respond in kind with more violence. I won’t say that nothing has ever been accomplished through violence, that would be incredibly naive. Normally wear my naivete like a badge of honor, but even I know that violence has brought about change, sometimes even positive change. However, when I see the cycle of violence repeating over and over in the world it only makes me sad.

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