On Being Angry

I was off work today, which meant I had almost nothing to do except sit around and read election analysis (don’t worry, this is not an election post, I know you have a political hangover worthy of a Hunter S. Thompson-style bender) and be surprised by how many people on my facebook equated the election results to The End of the World (isn’t is always?) or How America Once Again Defied God and Is Repulsive. As a queer feminist person of an artistic persuasion, I’m sure  you don’t have to guess which side of the political coin is me, so let’s move on.

This looks pretty much how I feel.

In response to a particularly annoying rant  I tried to ignore but just…couldn’t, with egregious spelling and too many exclamation points to be made by a person with external awareness, I found myself typing the phrase “I’m not an angry person, but…”

And then I stopped. Because you guys, I think I might actually be an angry person.

As far as I can remember, I have been righteously indignant about something or another. I remember being eight, finding out what leather actually was, screaming at my mother for buying me dead shoes and then throwing said shoes heartily in the dumpster. Nothing could persuade me to put them back on and for years, until the substitutes became better than the real thing (which is essentially still a new development), I wore blistering, uncomfortable, sweaty plastic footwear because I couldn’t swallow the alternative.

I recall sobbing into my pillow at thirteen because of the war in Afghanistan, and hating war so MUCH I didn’t have words. I’m not sure how much of it I understood at that point, but you get the idea.

I remember being frustrated nearly to the point of tears at my white, homogenous, middle class, mostly Polish & Catholic high school when I heard so many casual racist comments daily, so casually, as if no one realized what they were saying. They may not have. “You’re poor because you’re lazy” or “this is America, speak English or get out” and too many other things I’m not comfortable with printing.

These are not examples intended to show how high-minded I was or am. The point is that I internalized everything to the point where instead of merely disagreeing, I had to be personally angry about it. I had no coping mechanism but to get angry and prove to the offending party why they were wrong. And that is SO annoying to be on the other end of.

I cannot tolerate injustice of any kind, which is why politics have been so hard for me lately. I have an enormously difficult time separating an opinion that, say, thinks homosexuality is a sin and should not be supported legally, from a personal attack on my own bisexuality and thus, myself. Same with Planned Parenthood. Same with separation of church and state. Same with people who hate the books I love or the films that move me or that asshole bus driver who yelled at me for standing near the door the other day.

I take everything personally. Especially recently, what with all my emotional growth and relationship-having, I thought I was beyond that. I can certainly identify when other people over-relate and I’m a good listener. Maybe even good with advice. But it took one silly narrow-minded facebook post from a girl I played travel soccer with ten years ago for me to have to confront my own anger.

It’s been a very real day. I’ve been thinking about it since this morning. There’s a great Michael Chekhov quote about actors needing to keep personal negative emotions at bay or they will poison the performance. There can be no truth in blind anger.

What do you think? Have any of you come to a similar realization about yourselves? How did you confront it? Or can you not imagine living with such negativity? I’m really interested to hear your thoughts.

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