“Coco McAtee, I thank the stars everyday that we had that conversation and I decided to have you come and talk with my Girl Scouts. That is one of the best things I think I ever did for those girls..."

Coco McAtee LSCSW
Family Life Educator | Speaker | Facilitator


Telling the Truth About Bodies



May 16, 2013

My Personal Violence
Not to get too “psychological” on you,  but the roots of external violence begin in our heads: thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, expectations. It may be the flash that rifles first from our brainstem, then picks up additional emotional momentum in the midbrain, only to grab the splash of justification provided by our neo-cortex, our inner executive. We exclaim. We hit. We lash out. This path can be a micro-milli-second, but we, or at least I know for me, I am off and running… reflex, reaction, knee-jerk response that can  hurt.  Likely we inflict ‘violence’ on ourselves in varying degrees.  I know I can do a number on me when I don’t meet my inner expectations… and they can be a tall order.

I am reading the novel, Les Miserables.  A huge book because Victor Hugo gives so many details about each character and the time period socially, politically and economically.  I had seen the amazing stage production years ago, bought the CD, and even have a special song my mom wove together from the soundtrack that she sang at my wedding and each of six siblings.  I love the music.  I thought I knew the story even after seeing it on the big screen recently.

The book of course can tell us more about the development of the people. I have been moved to tears by Monseigneur Bienvenu… Archbishop “Welcome”.  His story and his exchange with the ex-convict Jean Valjean when the con is caught red-handed with the Bishop’s finest and only silver is stirring on stage, more moving in cinema, and awe-inspiring in print. But it was a culmination of his practiced good deeds, his question to the self righteous… ”let us see how this sin came to be.”  This saint-like compassion melts Jean Valjean’s anger, his hate, his self-loathing, his disdain for God honed for 19 years in prison. Valjean ponders, “He called me brother.  He said I have a soul.”

Our own inner violence can be healed and thus the external violence can be tamed too. We can help one another see the Light within that can slow the knee-jerk reaction, as we practice daily acts of kindness toward ourselves and our soul-brothers and sisters.