Maybe it’s because I am the stereotypical hot-headed Italian, as are my parents, but when it comes to the choice of fight or flight I land in the fight category with both feet solid on the ground. I never miss an opportunity for confrontation. I don’t shy away from it and honestly, don’t completely understand my counterparts who run in the other direction when confrontation is on the horizon. Why run? Let your voice be heard. Loudly!
Maturity, (not much) my husband, and yoga have taught me it’s better to at least stop and take a breath before jumping in with both fists, or loud mouth, flailing. Sometimes it’s a day’s worth of breathing before I can choose the non-fighting approach.
The hardest place for me to take a breather in the face of the fight is where my children are concerned. Last year Daughter, in the 5th grade at the time, came out of school at the end of the day hysterical crying. Before she even got to me I wanted to know who I should hurt first. Through the tears I managed to find out what happened. I told her to stay in the car and I’d get to the bottom of it. With only one thought on my mind, I marched through the school and wasn’t going to stop until the teacher did some explaining. Thankfully, the Universe interfered. Someone else was already in the classroom talking to the teacher and when I saw this woman I realized, in the nick of time, I couldn’t go barreling in there the way I was. I stopped, took a breath, and at least sounded somewhat like an intelligent person when I spoke. Had I continued on my quest in total fight mode I’m sure I would’ve under minded my credibility.
Today I’m faced with a similar situation and I have to tell you, I’m chewing on the inside of my cheek trying not to speak up yet. My instincts are to fight, but that might not be the best choice for all who are concerned. So, I’m breathing in the mean time.
The best place for conflict? On the page. I try very hard to allow my characters to say and do the very things we shouldn’t so they will get into some trouble and make my stories more interesting to read.
What do you choose? Fight? Flight?