Scream Trina Alexander via Compfight

If I told you I don’t throw temper tantrums anymore because now I’m a big girl, it would be a lie.

As long as I can remember I’ve thrown temper tantrums. And as long as I can remember, they’ve been silenced to no avail.

Shame hasn’t silenced them, though he’s tried damn hard. From throwing glasses of water on me to shock me into awareness of his upper hand to telling this grown woman the fetal position is her only option because she deserves a talking to, still the temper rises.

Obligation hasn’t silenced them, though she’s tried damn hard. Being the good girl, Christian, wife, and mother…oh, how hard I’ve worked to silence the temper with obligation. To stay on track, to serve, to cover the bases of responsible living.

But still the temper shows up like a gypsy at a socialite’s dinner party and completely screws with The Plan. She claps her hands and stomps on the table and lets the strap on her left shoulder drop while she yells, “Wake up!” to the shocked and more socially accepted.

One time this happened with house guests. I threw a glass at the window where a lawyer and his wife sat on the other side on my front porch. It was during a conversation about homosexuality and I was told to, “Hush and Settle Down.” It didn’t go over well.

One time I called a friend who worked in drywall because I needed him to come fix the hole my foot had punched through my bedroom wall in utter frustration from trying to be the perfect mother and not getting the results I expected. The stress would not stay quiet one more moment.

“Oh, don’t be so dramatic.”

“You’re such a drama queen.”

“You need to lead a boring life.”

And there’s nothing like seeing the wide-eyes of your own children, or their disdain as teens and wanting to squash the temper forever.

But when I listen, I hear the whispers.

Temper: Anger, Passion, Fury, Gall, Indignation, Outrage, Storm.

What would happen if we reached deep inside and whispered for the girl we once were to come back–to show herself–to know she’s loved and accepted and not forgotten.”

My anger would scream for the abused.

My passion would fight the misogynists.

My fury would warn you to not ever use shame to control us again.

You might share my gall when children are not nurtured, but told their heart is wicked.

You might share my outrage when others are cast-aside.

I would allow myself to feel my indignation towards denial, especially among my heritage and home of evangelicalism.

I would know that young girl and wise woman who sometimes storms with temper is on to something and will name the injustice, judgment, control, denial, and oppression for what it is.

“The girls we once were are coming back to us now. May we brave learning to rebel as a spiritual discipline”–Brandy Walker

I want my daughter and I to rebel against shame and obligation. Against judgment, injustice and oppression. I want my daughter to throw a temper tantrum when women, children, artists, the poor, or anyone who is not just like us is not invited to the table.

A table a gypsy is stomping on.

  • Faith McCloud

    Oooooo, me likey! (of course) I love the image of the gypsy stomping on the table.

  • Jenny Wells

    If anyone was going to comment on this post, I knew it would be you. Thanks for being a great example of rebellion for me. :)

  • Jamie

    Hell yeah! I LOVE your gypsy imagery! The girl I once was kicked a hole in the wall before. I have that kind of temper. Yes, let’s channel the anger toward injustice- I hear the call! And I love you. I love gypsy Jenny. And girl, I was told to settle down and let the men handle things one time, as an adult. Nobody ever forgets that. I sat there and took it like a good little duffer. It still makes my nostrils flare.

  • Juliet Birkbeck

    Buried anger is a terrible thing. The effort put into keeping frustration, pain and resentment under lock and key could have been spent on so many better things! Still, mine came out in the end, led to wondrous changes and now I’m trying to create rather than bury. Reading your piece here brought back memories of that time and it was hard but good to go there again. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • rachel lee

    this is yes, dripping and oozing this breathtaking power. I too have been told to hush up, to settle down, to calm myself when the righteous indignation flares through me. and YES, YES, let us channel it into paths of glory. but hush up? never. <3

    oh dear girl, do I love you.

  • Brittany Williamson

    CHILLS. That last paragraph. Gypsy stomping with you, Jenny.

  • Love Annais

    this is so beautiful! what a roar!

  • Grace Nathan

    Your passion and anger are tools for you to use to change the world! We will not be silenced.

  • Goannatree

    Righteous anger, friend! Speak, roar! ” I want my daughter to throw a temper tantrum when women, children,
    artists, the poor, or anyone who is not just like us is not invited to
    the table.” – that’s the prayer I have for my nieces.

  • Stacey

    Such a wonderful reminder that there are things to rail against in this life. Love the gypsy.

  • jamie bonilla

    YES! YES! YES!

  • Melinda Cadwallader

    Oh how I love you, even more than I already do!! “The Plan”…ha! Next time you stand on tables, I will be right there by your side.

  • jewellspring

    I LOVE that imagery, Melinda! You and me, barefoot with our skirts raised and gypsy beads bouncing one our chests, jigging away. I totally want a superhero headband, too, by the way.

  • jewellspring

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Stacey.

  • jewellspring

    And YES! P.S. I want to take your collective cuz I think it would really help me with this part of me…temper tantrums in color on the page. Someday! :)

  • jewellspring

    Mine is still 12 and doesn’t yet know too much about injustice, but when she tantrums I want to be right there with her. She knocks on doors to feed children already, though, which thrills this mother’s heart. So thankful you’re right there, too, Auntie. The next generation is going to have even more freedom than we have had. Rejoicing.

  • jewellspring

    “We will not be silenced.” It sure has been tried, though, hasn’t it?

  • jewellspring

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Love!

  • jewellspring

    Let’s do it in person in June! :)

  • jewellspring

    Knowing your background and mine, it’s sure been tried…the hushing, yes? And knowing you as I do now, I laugh at thinking it could of worked for me or you! :) xo

  • jewellspring

    Thank you, Juliet. It is so much effort and wrecks havoc in so many ways, including my body. Yes, turn it into creation. Love that!

  • jewellspring

    Kicking holes. Flared nostrils. A girl singing into a broom handle. That’s a side of Jamie I love meeting! “Good little duffer”. Oh, been there.

  • jewellspring

    I thought I replied to this, Love. I know I did somewhere. You are one of my teachers of holy temper. You are on your way to the tropics! Thinking of you!!

  • Lindsay

    You’ve redeemed temper tantrums, and I love you for it! Great post Jenny! xo

  • jewellspring

    Thanks, Lindsay!