I was never the tantrum-thrower. I was the oldest of six and felt like my job was the peacekeeper, breaking up fights and negotiating conflicts. I want to say it was my 13th birthday because I felt like it was a milestone, but memory is unreliable and kids feel like every birthday is a milestone. But, because I was so quiet and reserved, I won’t ever forget breaking down at the lack of birthday festivities on my behalf. So, I was a child throwing a tantrum. It began as a conversation but then I was sent to my room when the conversation made me dissolve into tears. I felt unloved. I felt deserving of a celebration and crushed that my parents did not seem to agree. I felt marginalized, like everyone else got to be the focus of attention on their special days but when it was my turn, the whole system collapsed. And I also felt catharsis as I screamed and cried in my bed, punching and kicking the wall, making myself as much of a disturbance as I could manage. At one point, my parents yelled at me and told me it was enough but I didn’t stop until I was too tired to continue. I dream about that level of unleashed expression, especially in times of intense despair.

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