Getting hit in the face

I saw this poster on fb and it really bugged me. It’s such a “jock” attitude, and yes, it can be freeing to stop being afraid. But as in the movie V for Vendetta, when Evey lost her fear when she had nothing left, I don’t think that’s necessarily worth it.
A lot of us have been “punched in the face” whether by a school bully, or an abusive parent or partner, or even,occasionally, a stranger.
What most of us learned from being beaten up, whether as kids or adults, is that there are situations in which we are powerless to protect ourselves, and that’s not freeing, it’s debilitating! Whether you are left alone, crying, with your possessions destroyed, or whether it’s in a group where those around you are mocking your pain and loss, this is NOT freeing, it’s destructive. It’s liable to lead to PTSD.
Whoever came up with this is probably thinking of when two guys agree to punch each other in a culturally supported situation, whether sports or kids on a school ground who walk away bloody but still friends.
When it’s positive, when you got “punched”, you probably had supportive people, friends or mentors, there to tell you that you were OK, and that they were there to support you through the pain. Something like taking a peyote trip without a shaman to help you negotiate the craziness, without that support, it’s a dangerous situation that can leave you damaged.
This is part of the reason I never liked school sports. In a non-sport bullying incident your pain and fear is too often downplayed by those who should protect you, and in gym class there’s a huge amount of mocking and denigrating the kids who admit the pain they feel, adding emotional pain to the physical.
OK, in a sport you chose to play, the physical risks were accepted (if not really understood) when you went in; but in school everyone is forced into the ‘jock’ mentality venue, which doesn’t work for those who didn’t choose it. It rather creates a venue where bullies can get away with hurting their victims while adults look on and join in the mocking. (sorry, I never met a gym teacher who didn’t try to “kid” -read shame- the victim into pretending that “it didn’t hurt”. I suppose it’s because they had the positive support needed because they were the strong, fast, coordinated ones. But few seem to understand that for it to be positive, the others need to be supportive, not mocking.) I’m not denying the positive aspects of sport for those who choose them, but it’s not for everyone.
What would be good is that when you were at risk for being hit (whether by a ball or a fist), that there would be someone there to make sure that you were supported through the experience. Then MAYBE you’d come out of it feeling better able to deal with your next blow.

1 thought on “Getting hit in the face

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