i don't like getting angry. i really don't.
i don't like the way i feel the anger travel through my veins. i don't like that i understand why people say "it made my blood boil". i don't like how my body becomes rigid and how my heart starts to race. i don't like how my thoughts become narrow and clear. i don't like that my thoughts become filled with snide remarks and hurtful jabs.
few friends have ever seen me truly angry. i've tried to hide it. now, as i've mentioned before, that is getting harder to do. so now friends may know i'm mad but they haven't seen the eruption that can occur as a result. only a select few have seen that.
when i get really angry and when i get so angry that i can't hold the emotions in, it all spills out of me. i yell how i am feeling. i tell people not to touch me. or sometimes i'm really quiet and things come out of me like knives. i say things that can be mean. i say things that may hurt.
when i am angry i feel so far away from the person i am. i hate knowing i may have hurt someone. i hate knowing i may have damaged someone. i remember most of the shitty things i've said to people. i remember my angry moments so clearly and i feel crappy about them. i feel so crappy that i want to write everyone emails and apologize for that crappy thing i said and for being angry in the first place.
my therapist loves to point out that maybe the crappy thing that i said wasn't that crappy and was the truth on some level because it was how i was feeling. she always loves to point out that maybe i was responding to something crappy said to/about me. she loves to point out that i don't need to apologize. don't worry, she also loves to point out that sometimes the anger is misdirected or complicated. yeah, she says, maybe you shouldn't have said that thing. yeah, maybe you should apologize. but that doesn't mean the anger was bad to feel.
it is a feeling. we can't really control our feelings.
don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
i've begun to notice how i try to avoid anger. i will be describing how i am angry about something and two seconds later will be trying to skirt my way out of it. i'll be doing the thing i said i was mad about doing. i'll be telling myself i am being unreasonable and overly emotional. i'll say to someone: "i'm really mad about such and such thing, but like i understand where the other person is coming from." and, of course, having some balance in the situation is good. it is good to be able to see things from another's perspective. it is good to question the foundation of your feelings...but it isn't as okay to then negate your feelings. the problem is that when i say "i understand where the other person is coming from" or when i do the thing i was angry about doing, i usually mean "i shouldn't/can't be mad".
i try to control the emotion. i try to lock it down. i try to bury it.
and that's the problem. because i negate the emotion. i do things i don't want to do even though it makes me angry because i "shouldn't" be angry. i don't express how i feel because i "shouldn't" be angry. i've let people hurt me and take advantage of me and then felt bad about being angry. i've not been honest with people because i didn't want them to hate me because i was angry.
that is no bueno.
and yet being angry is a part of me. and anger, as of late, has been a bedfellow.
there are people in my life that, at times, have been angry. like really angry. like scary angry. and i think i learned growing up that being angry was bad. because angry people were scary people. they were hurtful people. and i learned that i didn't want to hurt people that way. i learned that i didn't want to scare people. i learned that i wanted to be easy and calm and nice and easy going.
and you can get pretty far being that person in life. being the one who doesn't get angry. you can make friends and have relationships and succeed in work...
and that is all well and good, but i didn't learn that anger is a useful emotion. anger can make things clear. it can make you honest. it can get you past crying to getting off your ass and doing something. it can fuel your growth. it can help you get all the pain out of your system.
anger makes us protest. anger makes us demand change.
anger can make you stand up for yourself and put yourself first.
anger is okay. just as being sad is okay. just as being unhappy is okay. and that is a real hard thing for me to get comfortable with.
i am not comfortable with being angry, making others angry, or having others be angry with me.
even if you try to push that anger away, it is still there. it just seeps into different parts of you. it comes out in different ways. and sometimes it explodes. and the people who know you are shocked because they've never seen you that way. they've never known you be to that way.
and the truth is you've never been honest and open with them truly. you never showed your truth--that you can get angry just like everyone else.
i'm learning to accept myself in a multitude of ways these days. i'm learning to get comfortable with myself. i'm learning that sometimes i am the angry black woman and sometimes i am the angry girlfriend and sometimes i am the angry ex-girlfriend and sometimes i am the angry best friend, daughter, playwright in writing group, girl in class, woman on street, dog owner, potential date...and sometimes i am the angry stranger in line at starbucks.
and this is just one of the many lessons i'm taking on.