All Bottled Up

The Moxie Project does things to you. It opens your eyes and your mind, it pushes you to critique things you’ve always accepted as true, it forces you to learn concepts that you honestly probably never would’ve touched on your own. It can be a liberating experience, putting words to feelings you’ve always had, confronting injustice head on; it can make you feel like Super Woman. Or it can make you feel like you’re hopelessly drowning in a sea of people who will never know what you know, never acknowledge the truths that are so plain to you. It can make you feel like there’s little hope of changing “the system.”

Accurate representation of the Moxie experience.

Accurate representation of the Moxie experience.

In the past six weeks, so much has happened both within Moxie and across the nation. Most recently, with the police shootings of two black men, I’ve been filled with sadness and rage. Black Lives Matter protests have moved past our apartment building on an almost daily basis since. Having so many emotions in such a short amount of time is difficult, especially for someone who prides themselves on being the one person who doesn’t cry during a sappy movie. When the summer feels like it’s set to fast-forward, there is little time for processing or decompressing.

WJXDkRLately, I’ve been feeling like a bottle under pressure. Every new issues we discuss, every reading that reveals another inequality, every enrichment event that is deconstructed and criticized, and even most of my interactions with individuals outside of Moxie add just a little bit more tension to the growing capsule of emotion inside me. Those who know me will tell you that I very rarely let my anger show, but just that happened to me this past weekend. When my parents visited, it should have been a happy time of reunion and catching up with loved ones I have barely seen in the last seven months. Instead, it quickly turned into a cold standoff between two disagreeing parties. Almost every comment from my parents was followed by a quick snap on my part.

The language of accommodators.

The language of accommodators.

Side note: During a recent reflection session, we took a quiz to determine our negotiation styles and I was deemed an accommodator which basically means I say “okay” to everything and let people walk all over me, even when I disagree. So let’s just say that Ada would be very proud of how I exercised my competitive negotiation skills while engaging my parents in conversation.

But that’s ultimately not how I want to act toward the ones I care about. I want to respect those who disagree with me and maintain functional relationships, not devolve into the War of the Roses every time I enter a room with my parents. As my beliefs about myself, women and the world become more solidified, who and how I keep friends becomes more and more complicated. Some relationships, those that are only unfulfilling or drain your spirit, will have to be forfeited. However, it’s okay to keep those relationship that are trying at times, but ultimately grow you as a person and contribute positively to your life. That’s how I view my relationship with my parents. The next step will be learning tolerance and peaceful ways of expressing dissent that open the door for further conversation. I will strive to not accommodate to the point that everything is so bottled up I explode. Growing as an individual and having strong emotions accompany that process are normal, but learning to adapt and integrate new experiences into an old or constant background is the hard part, and something I continue to work on.

1 thought on “All Bottled Up

  1. As a fellow accommodator, this really resonated with me Kelly. I am constantly fighting my dad in particular over every little issue, and when I leave home, I often feel like we didn’t spend time together because we fought the whole time. Going home is going to be rough, but you’re absolutely right about the importance of tolerance. If constant disagreement can’t be avoided, at least it can be mediated right?

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