I wasn’t going to ask her again, but my desire to know the next moves in the form outweighed all the conflicting emotions evoked when interacting with her. It’s not one hundred percent wine and roses in my kung fu world, just ninety. As is the case with family, there are members that challenge me in ways I don’t appreciate.
On the surface, she’s easy to like: smiley, bubbly, outgoing, talkative. But my issues with her aren’t on the surface. They’re rooted in the instigative, sometimes condescending comments that I’ve been hearing from her for years. I can’t say with certainty what she’s been intending to say. I just know that what I hear has consistently raised my cackles.
The problem couldn’t possibly be that we’re both competitive only children, theater-rats-turned-martial-artists. It couldn’t be that we each have our moments of being hypersensitive, especially on a bad kung fu day (which is any day that an instruction is tougher to master than we want it to be.) It’s almost like an Abbott and Costello routine that isn’t funny, the way we’re prone to misunderstanding each other, as if we’re speaking two completely different languages that aren’t even based on the same alphabet.
“Own your diamond,” she once said sternly, when I was out of position without realizing it during a synchronized form section. From head to toe she was clearly annoyed, as if her child had just willfully disobeyed her.
Who the hell do you think you’re talking to? I thought. “Excuse me?” is what I said. When given the invitation to repeat it, her tone softened, but not by much – and her frown didn’t move an inch. These types of resentment-creating moments are infrequent, but they can suck all the oxygen out of the room.
I don’t want discord in this family. I’ve had enough of it to last a lifetime in my family of origin and families of choice. It’s why I want to give her the benefit of the doubt when her words and actions strike a nerve. It’s why I very much want to hear what she means to say or, perhaps, hear nothing at all.