Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole

Vengeance {Prompted}


The following post is part of what I hope will be an ongoing writing exercise that my friend Kathy and I have decided to undertake together. We are currently choosing topics from a list of prompts that can be found here. I intend to use a varying array of writing styles and techniques, and to limit my editing. Therefore many of these posts may not look anything like the rest of the stuff I write on this blog. I’m okay with that, if you are. I invite those of you with blogs of your own to participate with us! But if you’re not into it that’s okay too. I’ll title these posts differently so they are easy to skip past if you wish to do so. And as always, thanks for reading!

*   *   *


Part of my journey through adulthood has been about trying to make myself into a better person. I try every day to look into myself and improve and grow and do good whenever I can, despite what I was taught as a child.

I’m rather glad my parents were able to put me into good Catholic schools (read: private, rather than the awful public ones that were around). Sure, a bunch of nuns who taught me all the basic principles of being a good, humble and forgiving person. I went to Church on Sundays back then, too. I understood all of that stuff on a scholastic level. But once I left the doors of the church or the elementary school, I was taught well by my parents and caretakers not how to be a good, humble and forgiving person, but how to hold a grudge, how to make enemies, and how to exact revenge on them one cold shoulder at a time.

Despite the fact that my favorite movie of all time is Kill Bill, which is about a female assassin who wakes up from a coma four years after her attempted murder and systematically avenges her enemies one by one with the help of one Hattori Hanzo sword, my taste for vengeance pretty much stops there. There are certainly times when I look back at the unfortunate events that molded my childhood and the enormous wrongs I have been dealt by those in my immediate family, and I sometimes still feel sad or angry about it. But the feelings are fleeting in comparison to the joyful song that I have managed to mold my own adult life into.

As a child I listened to my grandfather’s stories of letting his brothers go to the grave while he remained stoically unforgiving of them because of an unfair payout in their father’s will. I’ve watched my own father and his sister brew a pot of jealous hatred so seething and glorious that it trickled down and rendered their children enemies to each other for many years. I’ve watched parents disown their children, brothers disown their sisters, and I’ve even been disowned by my own grandfather…for insisting on paying for lunch. I think. But I’m not really sure.

For many people in my now heavily-fragmented family, the best revenge is a lifetime of anger, regret and uncomfortable silence. They take pride in their vengeful, unforgiving nature, wear it as a badge of honor. The Berube Blacklist, we would call it. Once you’re on it, you’re there for eternity.

Sometimes I feel that plague of the Berube Blacklist gene, running through my veins. It beckons me to dwell on the past, to spend more time feeling angry and to oust all those who have slighted me in even the smallest way, without ever telling them why. It keeps reminding me that this is what I know, this is what I’ve learned, and this is what’s comfortable to me. But I have a choice, and I choose instead to be happy, to live in the now, and to be grateful for everything that I have. I choose to forgive those who have wronged me, and instead take away valuable lessons from their actions. I choose to be a better listener, a more rational arguer, a kinder friend. I choose to get out all my revenge not by silence or by Hattori Hanzo sword, but by enjoying a life well-lived.

she taught me how to wage cold war with quiet charm
but i just want to walk through my life unarmed.
to accept, and just get by like my father learned to do,
but without all the acceptance of getting by that got my father through

i just want you to understand that i know what all the fighting was for
and i just want you to understand that i’m not angry anymore.
no, i’m not angry anymore. ~Ani Difranco

3 thoughts on “Vengeance {Prompted}

  1. Pingback: Vengeance {prompted} | River Ramblings

  2. I think I will give this a try on

  3. This is a good read.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s