I’ve written about my anger before. And likely scared a few of you in the process (but, more importantly, received messages from those of you who struggle with the same. And so I keep writing). Well, hold on to your effing hat, because shit is about to get real. I need to purge myself of the ragestorm that was last week, and here is about as good a place as any.
Here’s the thing about being a woman, and an introspective head-dwelling one at that: we never know, in any given moment, what percentage of the feelings we experience are reflective of truth, hormones, or Meg Ryan romcoms. We’re not supposed to say this, naturally, since we’ve fought our way to the workplace and battlefields and other arenas on the premise that we’re tough and can do all that men do, but you know what? We can’t. Not without feeling stuff. And they sure as hell can’t do what we do. And thank God for the difference, because when it comes time to have The Kid dressed appropriately for the weather or to eat a homemade chicken pot pie or to write a heartfelt card, I’m your girl. But if you’re looking to forecast your budget or install a ceiling fan or stay hinged to sanity, you might want to see The Husband. Sometimes we work because we’re the same, but other times–especially during this whole child-rearing enterprise, we work because we’re different.
And I’m the angry one.
So here’s the deal, the ugly truth: sometimes I get so angry it scares me. Cut to me last Thursday, rushing to get out the door to arrive somewhere on time (I wasn’t), but needing to post a link on Facebook (first world problems). My computer wouldn’t cooperate. Multiple times. So I hurled it to the ground and watched as it bounced across the rug like a skipping stone. Knowing full well that I might have just destroyed it, I picked it up, vainly expecting the link to work this time. No dice. This time I slammed the laptop shut so hard I heard something crack. There was a stream of profanity crossing my lips during the entire episode. I was blindly, irrationally angry–over an internet issue. Imagine if I had real problems.
That scene was reflective of several over the past few weeks, moments of all-consuming fury incited by rather minor occurrences that deserved no such wrath. I often feel on edge–on a very precarious, fiscal cliff-like edge, the other side of which I feel both tempted and terrified by. TK’s newborn status brought that boiling rage so close to the surface I felt bubbles in my skin every time he cried; now I have fewer excuses as he is much cuter and more tolerable, but alas, I am still myself, and any combination of Sleeplessness or Technical Difficulties or just The Universe Not Revolving According to My Specifications lands me back in that wasteland of self-righteous outrage. It’s ugly, I hate it, and as previously mentioned, it scares me. I would like to be completely cured. Right now.
I called a friend to find out just how crazy–or alone–I am regarding all this. “Are you kidding?” she replied. “My roommate left an empty body wash container sitting BESIDE THE TRASH CAN NOT IN IT, and I banged it against the wall three times and screamed.” Okay–I felt better. Then she recommended yoga, for the anger and my backaches (which cause further anger, natch), making me promise not to tell anyone she spouted such hippie nonsense. I felt less alone.
The next day, I took TK to the swings at our neighborhood park. Another mom was there with her toddler daughter, and we began talking. “You better get busy having more kids and buying a minivan if you want to fit in around here,” she teased, and then we began commiserating about our hatred of pregnancy and how we only really began to enjoy motherhood around six months deep and I thought, This is what I’m talking about. Here’s a stranger I could get on board with. Because I typically hate strangers. But maybe she was an angel. (J/K. Then again, I haven’t seen her since…)
Friday morning I pulled out my Bible and journal and laid it on the line. My prayer was some variation of, “Hey God? This anger thing? What the whaaaat? FIX IT!” As usual, he did not respond by playing the role of My Life Janitor. He is the God of what is, not what I think it should be. And he has a purpose in all my cracks and rough edges and boiling points, though he doesn’t always let me in on them when I ask. But he pointed me to Oswald Chambers, who told me that “the test of the life of a saint is not success, but faithfulness is human life as it actually is.” So stop looking for perfection and start looking at the one who is, I heard. “Acceptance brings peace,” Elisabeth Elliot–victim of much more suffering than I’ve known–chimed in. And I considered all the struggling we do against our circumstances, how we call such action heroic and brave when really we’re just playing an avoidance game, and how anger and avoidance are kinda like besties.
I felt my grip relax a bit. I’m always going to struggle with anger issues–I know this. And if it really scares you or keeps you from wanting to be my friend, that’s cool. I probably wouldn’t properly appreciate your perfect place settings or the superlatives you use on Facebook to describe your family and dinner. Life gets ugly, and I’m okay with being able to see that. But what I’m beyond okay with–what I’m thankful for–is the redemption of the ugly. Including me.
That, and yoga.