I never learned how to fight.
Not just in the “throw a punch” sort of way either.
But the story I want to tell does involve punches.
I am the sixth of seven children, and my one sibling that was younger than me was Marc. By now you know that my relationship with Marc and his death had a profound impact on the person I am today.
So the following may or may not surprise you.
Marc used to beat me up.
Yep, my little brother used to kick my ass.
Which is not a fun thing to admit, I mean it’s funny, in a weird sort of way, but it isn’t the usual story.
But then again I don’t live by the usual story, at least I try not to.
When your little brother beats on you it can cause some weird turmoil, because somehow society made me think there was something wrong with my passivity, like somehow I was less of a man because I didn’t really do the violence thing.
I still don’t.
But, at some point you have to learn to take a stand, at some point you have to draw that line in the sand and say to someone, “I will not let you treat me this way any longer!”
And much as I tried doing that with words, it seemed Marc did not speak the language of words, so I had to learn his language.
His language was “getting punched in the side of the head.”
I have been actively involved in two actual fist fights in my life, both of them were with Marc, and both of them were the last fist fights I participated in.
And it all boiled down to fighting back in his language.
Once I did that, I got what I wanted. Which was not to get punched in the side of the head. You see Marc’s move of choice was a haymaker, and they are not pleasant if they connect with the side of your head.
So in the last fight we had I was able to deflect his second haymaker and hit him back.
I hit him one time.
And he walked away.
He said, “I got my one punch in.”
And that was the last fist fight we ever had.
Which makes me think it wasn’t even about the punching for him, It was about an imbalance of power, that he saw and utilized. And when the balance of power shifted in the relationship he left the tool of the haymaker behind.
And after that we really started to become friends in addition to being brothers.
All of this still reminds me that I never really learned to fight, I can argue with the best of them, I can cajole and talk in circles and make everything so convoluted and confusing that people give up.
But I don’t fight.
And I’m starting to think that maybe from time to time fighting isn’t the worst thing, I’m not saying give yourself over to anger all the time.
But I think it’s okay to assert yourself strongly.
Even if it means a fight.
You can’t imagine how uncomfortable it makes me to endorse fighting, but that discomfort is also called growth in some circles.
And I feel like I am growing.
And sometimes, it feels like a fight with myself.