From a very early age, I was taught that we shouldn’t succumb to anger. Not only was it a negative way to behave, but it had serious consequences. As my life progresses, I keep hearing that voice in the back of my head telling me not to get angry – to keep my temper under control – don’t over react. Yesterday I got angry.
I had no particular reason for being angry. It was a culmination of negatives that had been building up for some time. It was the state of our world – the fake and real news (who knows what is and isn’t anymore?) – getting rid of this stupid cough that keeps me up at night – my feelings of inadequacy for not being able to contribute to the daily stuff that continues to require attention. I was lonely for my children and grandchildren. I was angry that I couldn’t get in my garden. I was crabby because my first time driving my stick shift car put extra strain on my sprained knee. The voice returned. “Chill – don’t over react – count to ten!” The more I heard this voice in my head, the angrier I became.
Why shouldn’t I get angry? Why have I spent the past 77 years being the calm one? Don’t my feelings matter? Guilt again crept deep into my brain. I seem to have these conscience battles from time to time – like when Sylvester the cat had the little devil and little angel sitting on each shoulder trying to run his life for him. “Don’t blow up,” says the angel while the devil roars, “Do it! Go for the gusto. Blow up!”
Finally my brain was becoming a little teapot ready to explode, so I went to the one person I knew would understand – my one and only sibling. My sister and I didn’t like each other very much when we were children. Our teen years were spent in constant competition. Once we both left the nest that changed and we’ve been very close ever since.
She lives in Nashville, TN and I live in Minneapolis, MN. Many miles separate us, but there is a connection that transcends time and space. I bore my soul in the form of a text message. She responded with an email. She’s much more tech savvy than I am. We rarely talk on the phone because of my hearing loss. Since the phone doesn’t have subtitles or closed captioning we communicate electronically.
She gave me some very good advice. She said sometimes we just have to let off steam, especially when we feel overwhelmed. We can’t be expected to hold all that garbage in our head and not have a negative reaction. Anger can relieve some of the tension that’s trying to escape.
I then remembered how my grandmother would go out to the woods when things got tough. I don’t know what she did out there, but whatever it was, it seemed to soothe the savage beast. I imagined she would go there to scream at something or to blame someone or to simply cry. We need to release the steam that’s causing our anger from time to time.
This world is in a state of craziness. Anger and hatred seem to be working at a fever pitch and people aren’t very happy anymore. Maybe we all need to go to the woods and have a good holler.