A big part of the reason I haven’t been blogging lately has been that I’ve been feeling a lot of anger. While of course there are probably plenty of issues onto which I could vent my righteous indignation and make good productive use of said anger, I’ve come to realize that I’ve become extremely uncomfortable being really angry. At one point in my life (or maybe several, or maybe a very long section of line as opposed to a ‘point’) I would describe myself as having been a very angry person. Whether I had good reason or not is kind of irrelevant, because all I can associate with that feeling is the sense that it was an incredibly destructive force in my life. Now that I’ve had at least a couple of years feeling generally not angry, I am not very good at dealing with it when it does come back. Being not very good at dealing with it, I tend to avoid anything that requires sitting still and settling even a little into my own head – like writing. So I get a cycle going of constant motion fueled by anger and anger at my anger, and I don’t sit still long enough to try to break it.
Fortunately, a recent 4.5 hour train ride forced me to do otherwise. A spiritual podcast I was listening to en route contained sort of a revelation on the subject of anger, for me – at its most basic level, one of the conditions that ‘anger’ describes is the feeling that something is not okay, that the situation is unacceptable. Since from a social justice perspective, there are obviously tons things that are fundamentally the opposite of okay, I’ve occasionally felt almost guilty for not feeling more angry of late. Like I’ve somehow lost my ability to be passionate/compassionate/empathetic. But there’s another component to what I think fully constitutes anger, at least when I’m describing the feeling that makes me so uncomfortable, which is the sense of ego-damage and wounded pride. Sometimes, that ego-damage and pride emerges from situations and actions on the part of others that really do initiate that ‘really not okay’ state. But other times – and this was the case lately – my anger has had a lot more to do with how my own actions/reactions/emotions don’t match up with my idealized ego-image/expectations. It’s that latter kind that kills me, but I think sometimes I’ve also used the former kind to mask that one.
I don’t have much point other than that basic one, but I’ve been feeling like I needed to think through this anger before I could get to anything else, and so. Turns out, as often happens with spiritual/emotional things and me, that the avoidance of thinking it through and the fighting not to think it through took a hell of a lot more time and effort than the actual thinking and releasing.