Men + Myself + God

Tag: Anger

Anger is for…Lovers: vol 1.(#31writenow, #nablopomo)

by P. Braithwaite

Get it? Angry Bird?

Get it? Angry Bird?

Once upon a time, I was in a support group (not for anger), and a woman got so angry that she started to convulse. Then she started to scream and had to be physically restrained.

The following week she was gone.

The remaining members of the group were told that she wasn’t ready for the work we were doing. Not everyone can handle what we’re doing. We all nodded and agreed. Our group leader told us the woman needed further assistance, and maybe that was true, but I was secretly unsettled. See, underneath my smile and ridiculous jokes, there was (is??) a woman who was (is??) screaming; there is a woman who is convulsing; there is a woman who wants to grab sticks and matches and burn villages to the ground.

And so I was angry with our group leader. Angry for reasons I couldn’t explain, but only now understand: when she dismissed the woman who was expressing her anger, she dismissed a very real and honest part of me. She unwittingly created a boundary of acceptable behavior. I understood then what I’d understood all my life – if I’m going to be angry, I’ve got to do it quietly and alone.

Sometimes, I am feel so angry it scares me. It seems to be an irrevocable part of who I am. I’m attached to it. And terrified by it. And, overall intrigued. Anger is the reason for my radiance. It’s the reason there is a glimmer in my eyes. It is the reason I can run for miles without getting tired.  There is anger in the food I eat ( crunchy salty potato chips or medium-rare steak). Anger is the reason some folks call me witty — intertwined with every word I utter and every word I write. Anger, and my unwillingness to dance with it, is the reason I was so depressed at 19 years old (and 20, and 24). It is the reason I was so exhausted I couldn’t get out of bed. Depression, Freud said, is anger turned inward.

A tug-of-war with repressed emotions takes a lot out of a person.

There is only one person in the history of my entire life who has ever accused me of having an anger problem. I still don’t know how he knew. Maybe it was because he was angry too; I’m not sure. Sometimes he’d look at me with squinted eyes as if he could see it on my skin (like a blemish behind the wrong shade of concealer).

“You’re so angry,” he’d say.

“No I’m not.”

“No really,” he’d counter. “You are.”

With the absence of a story to lean on or someone else to blame, I’m coming face-to-face with my ever-present anger. And I’m working on trying to let it go (or at the very least, using it to my advantage). I am re-learning that it is impossible to release what you never truly face. I’m going to repeat that: You cannot release what you never face. Whether, anger, sadness, repression or loss…you must acknowledge and face what you want to transcend.

Otherwise you’re just painting over whatever it is you don’t want to feel.

And so, I’m learning to make peace with the anger and understand its energy. It’s that shadow place in The Lion King, beyond the pride, where Simba isn’t ever supposed to go.

I have to make friends with my hyenas.

And so do you.

What are you trying to understand and make peace with?

What to Expect When You Paint ONLY Your Middle Finger (#31writenow, #nablopomo)

by P. Braithwaite

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Last Sunday, while bills sat on the table waiting to be paid, I sat on my couch lamenting over a horrible manicure. I’d gotten a cute pink manicure, but one nail looked dingy and cracked. There were air bubbles and they were driving me crazy, so I decided to paint that fingernail with glittery pink polish. Yep, just so happened to be my middle finger on my right hand.

As I added several coats of polish, I started to feel a sense of power. Every brush stroke made my middle finger more seductive. I had the desire to start flipping people off. As I waited for my lone nail to dry, I had the strongest feeling that I’d be giving the finger to someone over the course of the next few weeks. Typically, I’d refrain from these thoughts, but my own bravado mixed with nail polish fumes made for an intoxicating cocktail of madness. I fell in love with this idea of giving people the finger so I Instagramed it.

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And tweeted about it.

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And I also practiced flipping people off in the mirror (no picture. Sorry).

And then I went off to meet friends for dinner and forgot about the whole thing. Monday came, I sat down at my computer, and ran smack dab into an aggressive confrontation that left me shaking for hours. I paced back and forth, I wrote replies and deleted them, I held back tears…But in that moment I had to decide: do you want to use your middle finger or not?

I’m not really a middle finger kind of gal.

The truth is, when we entertain and invite anger and aggression into our lives, we get what we’re looking for. Whether we paint our middle finger glittery pink, or put on invisible armor and defense mechanisms we’re preparing for a fight we may not want or need. You know what the say, luck (both good and bad) favors the prepared…Hostility begets hostility; aggression begets aggression.

Whatever we’re searching for we find.

And so today, I recenter and re-polish my nails so my middle finger is no longer running the show. I don’t want anymore fighting. It’s not good for my heart, and I don’t want to even think about extending my middle finger anymore.

And so it is.

Do you Love your Anger?

by P. Braithwaite

I have a Buddha statue in my home. It is a tall slender statue with a golden face and feminine features. My mother calls him Buddhette and threatens to steal him when she visits. To most people, the Buddha indicates that I’m on a spiritual path.

The truth is people on the path are still people…

When The Besticle and I broke upthat one time, I was angry. My writer friend RP, who was also suffering from a breakup texted me and said: I feel bad for you because you have a Buddha and stuff. You’re not allowed to be angry.

“Oh don’t worry,” I assured her. “I’m angry.”

There is a distinct difference between non-violence and anger, and, the truth is, I get angry all the time. I’m okay with it. My blood boils, my fists ball and I have to express myself. Mastin Kipp, of the Daily Love, has talked about the need for people to vent.

I’d add that there’s a need for folks to get comfortable with anger.

There is nothing unholy about anger. Often we think that if we allow ourselves to feel outrage we’re somehow unhealthy or imperfect. When people get angry around us we try to mitigate their emotions. We get uncomfortable and tell them to breathe, but anger is healthy and necessary for healing.

Here’s the thing: grief and heartache can make us feel like a puddle of emotion. Our eyes leak, our hearts ache and we think the feelings will never end. We often feel physically torn and scattered. As a result, we point to the person who made us make us feel this way and turn them into monsters. Their shadows loom over us, terrorizing us day and night. We powerless and victimized.

Until…we get angry.

Anger helps us. Our hearts beat faster, our breath quickens, and we suddenly feel grounded in our bodies. We want to punch someone, we want to yell, but mostly we begin to feel our own power. Through anger, we begin pull the various pieces of ourself together. We become cohesive again. We locate our inner power and feel compelled to act.

Now, I’m not saying we should act on our anger, but it’s okay to feel like we CAN. It is a good thing to feel like we can…

There is a reason that anger is one of the later stops on the five stages of grief — it is a natural emotion. It is a necessary component to feeling our pain. Through anger, we get strong enough to delve beyond the rage and prepare to face the truth…that pain is horrible and uncomfortable, but we can (and will) always rebuild.

How do you channel your anger?

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