You can feel me coming. You can hear my distinct footsteps drawing closer. My presence is usually sparked by an argument, a heated disagreement, an insistent hindrance, or a shocking wrongdoing. You may be trying to resist me, concentrating on concealing me, or attempting to swallow me. But more often than not that will be a futile mission. Because when I arrive there is only one thing you can focus on – me . I have the ability to dissolve the harmonies that sustain your internal symphony. When you allow me to take control I move swiftly and acutely; speeding your heartbeat, tightening your chest, clenching your fists, revealing myself, the depths of my burning
intensity, in your eyes. Eyes that terrify those around you. When I am cursing through your veins it hurts, a lot, a fiery pain that you cannot escape from. When I have taken over, you find yourself screaming irrationally, overwhelmed with the urge to throw something, hit something, to make someone pay for the injustice you are suffering. In this fight for justice I can lead you to hurt people , destroy relationships, damage your own health, commit crimes and, if unleashed with no restraints, start wars.
Who am I? I am your anger. I am your rage. Your outrage. Your fury. Your boiling frustration. I am the roar of your pride , the shield of your ego, the fiery moat surrounding your castle, your dragon awaiting its next conquest. I’m the split-second flash of truth, and the quiet, long simmering whispers of lies. I am red. I am black. I am loud. I cause pain. I am the epitome of destruction. Do not tempt me. If you break me I will turn against you. If you fail to let me breath, if you attempt to suffocate me, my poison will seep within you, draining all sources of nourishment, making you sick, very sick. I am alien, unnatural. I am, eternal, immortal, sealed to the particles of dust from long lost galaxies. I am dirty, raw and repugnant.
“I’m not part of you!” You cry. Oh, but I am. Part of your core being. An integral element of your truth. I serve only one master – you; your body, your mind, your soul, your ego. I fight for what’s right, I help keep you alive . I breed armies, for you. Yet I can be good for you, I can become an integral part of your growth. I can help you achieve clarity and authenticity, if only you’d let me . If only you’d stop fighting me , if only you’d learn to work with me and to actually listen to me.
You claim I control you but it is you who has all the power. You lament that I’m too strong, that I overwhelm you, yet you dive head first into my tidal wave of emotion. You feed from my excruciating energy, relishing the sweet, delectable taste of my toxic heat. I know you hate me . But you desperately need me.
You ladies are strangely afraid of me. You become paralyzed in my presence, futilely adhering to what the world expects of you. You become my victim, but it is never my intention to hurt you, I promise. However, you often give me no choice . I know you’ve been taught that I should never be expressed, that I am wrong, that I am unladylike. The problem is, whether or not you like me, I will always be alive inside you. How do you expect me to feel when you pretend I don’ t exist? What do you expect me to feed on when I’m all bottled up inside you?
Meanwhile the gentlemen amongst you throw me around carelessly, flinging me like rubbish, completely ignorant of where I land. Yet you already know how dangerous I can be. Why do you dare to unleash me? What would compel you to dismiss me, to attempt to undermine me? What are you thinking when you put a fragile woman, a painfully innocent child, a potent drink or, God forbid, a loaded gun in my hands? Will you ever learn to accept the true depth of my nature?
If you don’ t, if you choose not to, well, you only have yourself to blame. I am transparent in my undying love for you. I’ve always sung the chorus of one, and only one song – I would do anything, anything, to protect you. I love you. But only you. Can’ t you see that? I care about what you care about, but unlike all the other emotions that claim to care for you, I will actually stand up and fight for what you believe in. I would rather die fighting than be perceived as spineless. I spit in fear’s face. I trample over vulnerability. I will fight, fight, and fight until your body collapses. And still, I will keep on fighting internally.
I do have friends, brothers and sisters, other emotions that recognize my convictions. As much as I hate to admit it, shame knows me all too well. Fear, on the other hand, constantly runs after me, trying to attach it’ s miserable self to me. But denial helps me fight fear off. With denial by my side I can hurl bullets at fear’s back. With denial by my side I feel comforted, even when I am being bitterly rejected.
Though when accompanied by denial I can be misleading. She’s a tricky little girl that one. With her around I become so called ‘passiveaggressive anger’, half suppressed, half stubbornly expressed. It is not one of my best looks. Though at least it’ s better than when denial tricks me into calling myself a victim. Urgh, a ‘victim’, how shameful, pathetic, embarrassing. I, me, ‘Anger’, am never a victim. See, even I am fallible , even I can be deceived, manipulated to believe in escape routes, easy options that lead us nowhere.
You should know that my partner for all eternity is distrust. It is she who accompanies me, who knows my soul, who shares my story. Distrust and I walk together, fight for each other, protect each other. I need distrust, she shares my blood, forever reminding me that I am not alone in my crusade. Of course at the end of it all, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it over and over again; I serve YOU. I love YOU. I protect YOU. I belong to YOU.
So please, I ask you, I beg of you, please take care of me. Soothe me during my pain. Please don’ t turn your back on me. If you really care like you say you do you’ll search for the courage to face me. Pray if you have to, do what you got to do. Just please, find a way to recognize me, underneath all my ugliness, and, to accept me.
Please acknowledge and at least try to respect m y needs. I need air, I need oxygen, I need space to breath. Please be still, simply allow me to be and I will do my job in peace. That’s right, I do believe in peace, my ultimate goal is harmony, despite the fact that I often get lost on the way to achieving it. So how do we achieve harmony? How do you live in peace whilst accepting my true nature? Firstly, you need to fight all the other emotions competing for your attention, such as anxiety, fear, guilt, and learn how to recognize and acknowledge my presence.
Here’s a little secret f or you; I appear wearing one of two clocks of armor – my ‘blaming’ shield or my ‘justified’ shield. You will know when I am cloaked in justification because I won’t feel as painful, yet I will spur you to action. The anger you feel witnessing a child being abused, a group being discriminated or the innocent being slaughtered? That is my justified side. The righteous warrior who believes in the good of humanity. It is my shield of blame that can be very, very problematic. Denial strengthens this shield, and when we engulf you, you will attack anyone , projecting fury in any direction. You may believe that it is other people’s behavior that wakes me up, but my presence, when cloaked in blame, is a deflection.
A way to control others rather than take care of yourself, an attempt to get off the hook from the difficult process of taking personal responsibility. Common perception is that this side of me is not healthy for you, and indeed I can be very destructive with my blaming shield on. But, if you know how to recognize me, if you accept rather than fight me you will instantly diffuse my intensity. And with practice I can become a necessary warning signal, alerting you that your mind is deceiving you, that your ego is attempting to obscure some other emotions that are even more painful than I, such as fear, loneliness or helplessness.
Regardless of ho w I appear please always remember; take deep breaths in my presence. Pay attention to what I am expressing to your heart, not what I project to y our mind. Ignore my words, because communication has never been my strong suit. Don’ t judge me purely on my actions, as what I do often betrays who I am. Focus only on my intentions, which speak directly to your heart.
And if you do focus, if you take a moment to pause and listen deeply you will finally hear me and we can begin to work together. If you open your heart to me, you will see that I’m only trying to help you be the person, the friend, the parent, the child, the partner, the coworker, the citizen, the human being you most want to be.