I was having a lovely conversation this evening over dinner with several friends. One of my friends was talking about her son and how angry he is over some very reasonable things outside his control and how difficult a time she was having with her own anger about said things and his when I suddenly admitted something out loud.
I am really angry.
All the time.
I talked to her about the anger that has been ever present deep within me since my body became a traitor and a prison and a horrible place to live.
I explained I used to live with this ever burbling volcano of anger that threatened to spew itself all over whatever I was doing at the moment but that I had grown to exist with it instead of against it.
She was shocked. She said I seemed to be so calm all the time. I agreed. I explained that extreme emotions have a tendency to send my migraines up into the 11’s so I attempt to manage my feelings so that I can minimize the damage they cause me but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
They are there. The anger is there. The burning, burbling, white-hot, fury at my situation is always there. It has tea with me on cold days and toast with me when I can’t manage to make a real breakfast. Sometimes, it even helps me.
Sometimes my anger is why I go for the walk when my body is screaming at me to stay in bed.
Sometimes my anger fuels my art and helps me push myself.
Sometimes it stops the despair.
However, it used to threaten to consume me. It was this nearly out of control feeling just under the societally acceptable veneer of control. It was burning out of control beneath a calm surface of acceptance. It was there because it’s not cool to lose your shit in the grocery store and scream at the ice cream because you can’t work anymore. It was there because no one actually wants to see you throwing all your breakable dishes at the ground. It was there because at after age 6 I was no longer indulged when I beat my fists against the ground and screamed about my really unfair situation.
The anger lived a much stronger existence because there was societal pressure urging me to hide it.
I believe, to this day, that if I had been able to throw an anger party, an event where I had my closest friends come destroy shit with me while I talked about how fucked I was, I would have gotten to a point of acceptance far sooner.
Instead I had this monster eating away at me and threatening my calm when the coffee ran out, or the internet got a little slow, or the dog peed on the floor. It was barely leashed, straining against my control, for years.
It didn’t become an ally until I accepted it. Until I was able to let myself give up the Pollyanna shit and really live in the anger, really acknowledge I deserved to be mad. Once that happened a lightness entered me. I was free of this tethering feeling because I had incorporated it, instead of trying to fight it.
We suck, as a society, at dealing with negative emotions. We hate being angry, sad, you name it. We are happy or we are doing it wrong. Period.
I’m here to tell you to let your inconvenient volcano explode. Revel in your anger. Let it wash over you. Cry, scream, stomp your feet. Be mad. You’ve earned it.
Once you do that, you can aim it’s energy at other endeavors.