21 June, 2014

thoughts on anger on a summer solstice morn

anger used to rule me. i still sometimes get tangled up in it, but i have learned to let go of it quicker, disentangle myself, as it were, move past. it is useless. it spurs me to very little action other than hollering at the sun, which, as we know, accomplishes nothing other than a sunburn. my dad and i have had many arguments over this: he believes that a righteous anger at things that are wrong in the world is somehow useful or superior; i believe that even a righteous anger only turns inward and destroys, does no good whatsoever for the world at large.

i'm not going to go all preachy and talk about how "love is the answer" because statements like that are the gateway drug to sparkly unicorns and crystals and FREE HUGS, and i'm not particularly interested in any of those things,* but i will say that refusing to get angry and stay angry and carry that anger like some sort of weapon or a cause is exhausting and i am feeling much lighter now that i've given it up.

similarly, i refuse to burden myself with other people's problems. my mom and aunt and i used to spend hours getting all fired up over things that other family members were doing, and, just like the "righteous" anger, it accomplished nothing good externally, and a whole lot of unpleasantness internally. i dedicated the latter half of my thirties to teaching myself to let go of things that were not my problem. still not easy, that, but getting easier, and, like letting go of anger, it makes life easier, smoother-cornered. don't get me wrong - i can still see things that are wrong and that i would do differently; i just choose not to make a project of them if they're not mine to change.

i will not lie, i must admit that my little pink pills have been instrumental in helping, and that is one reason why i am nowhere near ready to let them go. i still think we overmedicate, i still believe there are alternatives, but having been on them for almost 2 years now, i feel like someone whose quirky adrenal imbalance or clonky elbow has been fixed - i don't want to go back to broken. the difference is subtle, even to me, but it is noticeable, and i am unwilling to go back to the old me because it was exhausting being angry all the time.

*that's a lie: i love sparkly unicorns. who doesn't? sick bastards, that's who!


Zhoen said...

Yeah! Righteous anger in particular is like a hit of heroin, feels wonderful, ends up sucking the life out. Alienates friends, kills love, erodes respect, shuts ears, a terrible choice.

Better to deal with the frustration, fix the problem, while choosing to stay calm and kind and rational, which anger never is. No matter how good it feels in the moment.

Courage, living without anger takes a lot more energy at first.

polish chick said...

just spent 20 minutes driving home and became consumed with it. i think a huge part of me being able to reduce anger so much in my life is due to public transit during my school years, and walking to work now. road rage is SO difficult to get over. and thanks for the encouragement!

Lucy said...

Well done you.

I've found that a significant part of growing up (as yet an unfinished business) is detaching from other people's problems, in fact very largely they don't seem very interesting any more anyway. I do think a lot of what I passed off as righteous anger wasn't even really that anyway, just sticky-fingered trying to enlarge myself and make myself more important and self-satisfied by involving myself with other people's lives too much. Doing less of that maybe makes me less of a people person and possibly rather more indifferent, but I think it's the better way.

Funnily enough I rarely get angry driving, partly because there really isn't enough traffic round here to get angry at and partly because I'm acutely aware that I could be the one other drivers are getting impatient and pissed off with. Like I know there have surely been many occasions when I've been the fool who, if not suffered gladly, was at least suffered with a measure of patience and good grace.