Changing my relationship with Anger

I was originally going to call this post, Leaving Anger Behind, except that isn’t what I’m going. I am not going to pretend or lie to myself that I would ever be completely free from anger. That would be a little naive of me. As someone born with the ability to feel things so incredibly and, intensely1, I need to accept the fact that this ‘gift’ includes the entire spectrum of emotions from elation to devastation2.

This is an endeavour that I’ve attempted before, and I thought I had succeeded… but of course, I didn’t anticipate going through a trauma like I did in the last two years. I didn’t prepare to deal with healing from a trauma3 before it happened; I was ill-equipped to come out of it with as much poise and grace as I would have liked.

Oh but the lessons I’ve learned! So. Many. Lessons.

Take my relationship with anger; for example. Anger is this… temptress… it uses it’s hardness seductively to make you think that it will serve as a good shield to protect you from things that might hurt you. Oh and how it works; it works really well. What it doesn’t tell you? What it doesn’t tell you is that it also shields you from the most beautiful moments, when you are vulnerable enough to feel the kind of joy that comes from being completely real with someone. When both of your shields are down, and you’re able to look at each other with all of your battle wounds and just be4. It doesn’t tell you about missing out on that, and you don’t realize it until that moment is long gone.

Now I may have missed moments already, but I’m in a much better place now to see any future moments that may come my way. I didn’t get to this place on my own. This place where I can finally say I am no longer angry5. I am incredibly blessed to have the most amazing friends who spent many hours listening to me when I needed someone to listen, and holding me when I needed to be held, and working out with me when I needed to let off some steam. There is no way I would have made it to this point if it weren’t for any of you6.

I digress.

It may seem obvious, but it wasn’t always obvious to me; the most important thing I’m practising is how to avoid getting angry with myself for things that really aren’t my fault, nor are/were in my control. Also important, is not getting angry at myself even if something is/was within my control. I know I won’t always succeed7, and because that falls under the category of ‘things I can’t control’; if it happens, I just have to recognize what’s happening, accept it and forgive myself rather than getting upset that it happened ‘yet again’. It’s a practice that’s easier said than done. Until you’ve practiced it enough times that it just becomes easy, and oh-so rewarding.

It’s been nice being able to come across a situation that – just last month – would have had me spiraling into all of the negative thoughts that have kept me down, but to instead be able to take a breath and let it go. Sometimes, I have to vent to a friend first and talk things out before I can let go, and that’s okay too8.

I’m not saying anger doesn’t have it’s place in a person’s life. I’m just saying it has no place in mine.

Photo unrelated, though somehow related. Taken while out on a hike with my brother and his/the family dog, Drogo. Follow me on instagram: @fragileheart
Footnotes:
  1. double adjectives because that’s now intense it is[]
  2. or whatever extreme you’d prefer[]
  3. how could I know I would be traumatised by such things?[]
  4. Oh right, I’m not writing a poem right now. Heh. I got carried away with my analogy[]
  5. or depressed for that matter[]
  6. there is also therapy but um, I actually pay him so…[]
  7. because surprise, I’m human![]
  8. thankfully, it’s okay to my friends too – THANK YOU!![]

Not quite anti-Valentine’s but close

For the last two years, I strongly disliked Valentine’s day because I couldn’t be with the one I wanted to be with. This year is no different. The reasons may be different, but the end result is the same – I will be spending it alone. I’m ok with this on my own, but every time I walk by a store or even open my email I get reminded of the fact that this silly, commercial holiday is approaching. One saving grace this year is that Chinese New Year is also being celebrated on February 14th. I’m not religious, or traditional (despite what the quizzes on OkCupid say) so I’ve never been one to focus celebrations on Chinese New Year… and I’m not about to start just to escape the pain that is Valentine’s Day but I sure am glad that it’s on that day.

I was supposed to go to the John Mayer concert on Valentine’s Day (the perfect distraction) but due to a misunderstanding, I am no longer going. Despite my disappointment, I have to accept that this is for the best. I also have to admit that I’m a little tired of that right now. It seems that everything that I do these days ‘is for the best’. But none of it seems to be the best for my spirit, at least in the now. I’m sure it has it’s long term benefits, and that maybe it’s about time that I start doing things that will only benefit me in the long run… but I sure do wish it would go easy on me for even just one day.

Oh, that sounds so melodramatic. I am not living an extraordinarily hard life. I still have a roof over my head, I have plenty of food, I am warm, and healthy. But the roof of my head doesn’t keep the rain clouds away, food has not excited me for over two months now, and the warmth only makes me feel lonelier because despite feeling warm, I also feel empty. Being healthy just means that I am free of disease and serious illness, but I still am unable to sleep or even eat normally – I have a weird, tingling numbness in almost all of my muscles that I can’t quite explain but ignore because nothing I do (yoga, stretching or dance) seems to make it go away.

And so here you have it. I have tried to stay positive. I have tried to stay the same girl that has always written with pure, heart-felt optimism and hopeless hope. But I am not that same girl these days… and I’m tired of hiding. I know I’m still lucky. I know this enough not to take any of my sadness out on any body. I am still kind. I am still the same caring girl, but I am not going to pretend that life is easy right now. I also know that perhaps my life is difficult because I am making it so, but that brings me back to the fact that I need to do things that are ‘for the best’, in the long run.

I don’t take what I have for granted. I am still thankful for all that I have; a great family, great friends, and that I have felt great love – even if only briefly, a heart so willing to love that it doesn’t care how much it’ll hurt, a talent for art in various forms and the promise of a great new career. I am still thankful, but it doesn’t ease my pain any.

The silver lining is that this pain has motivated me to do things like write my list of 30 things I want to accomplish before I turn 30. It has motivated me to find things to fill the hole. They have all worked to distract from the pain, but at the end of the day I still feel it. And my logical brain tells me that I need that, because if I only ignored the pain I wouldn’t be dealing with it and it would only ever come back worse than before. So I’m trying. I’ve been trying not to whine on here, but I think it’s time I let it out…

How do you deal with pain?

When people surprise you

I’ve been meeting a lot of new people lately, and it’s so… refreshing. I feel like I’m in University all over again, but with more freedom than I did when I was actually in University. It’s pretty freeing to be able to talk about anything and everything with people who have no reason to judge you based on your past, because they simply don’t know it. There’s something about making new friends that’s so great, sort of like starting a new relationship; when you still have the chance to shape it into whatever you want.

When I was younger, I never really paid attention to how my actions in-the-right-now would affect my relationship with people in the long-run. For the most part, I had the tendency to choose1 romance over friendship. There, I said it. Remember all those posts where I wondered why I didn’t have any girl friends. After the last year and a half I’ve certainly realised how stupid I actually was2 for never trying hard enough.

You learn a lot about yourself when you meet new people who are genuinely interested in learning about you. The stories you tell and how you tell them, can show you a lot about yourself that you wouldn’t really learn otherwise. The things I’m learning about myself are definitely things I never imagined I’d be described as, yet I haven’t been disappointed yet3. Of course, there are some things that I know I need to work on but, at least I know.

Speaking of people surprising me; it’s wonderful when you find people who are in the same ‘place’ in their life as you and you can share things that you wouldn’t be able to share with anyone else. I’m excited about enjoying people’s company without thinking I’m in love with them. Not that this has been a problem in the past with girlfriends but rather that I tended to only have male friends and boyfriends so it was hard to see that line between just genuinely enjoying someone’s company, and being in love with them.

Someone once told me that they loved this age4, and I’m honestly beginning to believe them.

How do you feel about meeting/learning new people?

p.s. Happy Friday the 13th5!

Footnotes:
  1. what I thought to be[]
  2. instead of being ‘smart’ like I thought I was[]
  3. Thank goodness![]
  4. I’m 28[]
  5. my favourite day of any year[]