Stream of consciousness. 40 minutes of it. Consider yourself warned.
I used to be a cheerful person. I’m not talking about way back in high school, but three years ago when I was just coming out, coming home from a religious environment… I was joyful. I used to be a fierce and passionate lover… I do love people, that’s why I have helped so many of them. I used to be a peacemaker.
Somehow right now, all I can manage to do in my household is start fights. Lots of people who don’t live with me keep telling me I have a right to be angry. That I have a right to make demands that inconvenience others. I have a right to speak my mind. I’m no sure I’m able to do all that, but I sure have been an irritable bitch lately.
When I was young, my father had an anger problem. On occasion, when trying to punish my brother for some misdeed, he would pin my brother to the wall with his wheelchair and scream in his face. And they would get into physical fights. How my mother made it through 17 years of this, I have no idea. Later, during their divorce, I developed an anger problem as well. Although, at the time I was dealing with a lot of things. They had sent me to what some would call an exorcism… it was politely called “deliverance” and ministers prayed over me in hopes that whatever “spirit” was causing me to have homosexual tendencies would leave. I also had just transferred schools. I had to share a bathroom with my brother, who had his own problems, two of them being sanitation and hygiene. I was working and going to high school at the same time.
During that time, I got into a lot of screaming matches with my mother and brother. Looking back, it’s no wonder. These episodes occurred intermittently over the next few years until I buried my father. A little while after his funeral, my brother and I had one final episode. I was visibly angry over something. What, I can’t even remember. I went into the garage to do laundry, probably slammed the door on my way out. When I tried to get back in, he had locked the door.
I lost it. I lost control. I was angry. Why? Because my brother was 100 pounds heavier than I was and could take me out in a heartbeat if I tried to oppose him. Because I had just buried my father, who was so tender to the children of his girlfriend (she moved down to care for him in his final year) – why couldn’t he have treated us that way? He called me dense. He said my brother would never amount to anything. I was failing classes in college, working two jobs, neither of them fulfilling in any way. I had a lot to be angry about. And I screamed bloody murder at him through the door for what seemed like an eternity. I threatened to knock the damn thing down, knowing I didn’t have the strength to do so. I have never screamed at someone like that before or since this episode. I screamed until my brother called my mom, who come home from work to separate us, her grown children, and keep us from harming each other.
I don’t talk a lot about my angry past. My whole life I’ve been learning to bottle things up. Anger, especially. As I understood it, anger was weakness. Anger turned people against one another. Anger accomplished nothing. So whenever I felt angry, I took a deep breath and carried on.
What I didn’t account for is that some anger is justified. Some anger can be productive, if directed at the appropriate target. Some anger can be cathartic. I never learned to deal with anger in a productive way. I learned to not deal with anger at all. When I am angry, I often completely ignore the voice that says, “Hey, that’s not fair! This is not the way things should be! Tell them to shove it!”
Right now, I am angry. I’m angry because nearly every person I have taken into my home has drained me in some way or another. Drained my resources and burned me. Should this be my lesson to stop rescuing people from dangerous situations? Or should I learn to help people, but not to bring them into my home? I am angry because my partner left me for something that wasn’t even my fault. I’m a good girlfriend. I just think she wanted to goof off and not be accountable to anyone for her behavior. I feel like I’m headed in a grown-up direction and maybe she wants to linger in youth a little longer. Neither path is better or worse. Just different.
I’m angry because I live with people who have different standards and values about a lot of things. I’m angry because there are fleas everywhere, and cat hair tumbleweeds. There are yappy, aggressive dogs and cats who track litter all over the house, who always want to be in my space and have to be chased out with a spray bottle, and even that doesn’t work sometimes. I’m allergic to these animals and I had hardly a choice in them coming to live with us. The most recent one, especially. I said no and it happened anyway. I’ve been complaining about the fleas on their animals (none of them are technically mine!) and I got cornered and attacked in the kitchen this morning while trying to get my breakfast, I was lectured about how all the animals are being treated for fleas, they don’t have worms, they’re not sick and there’s nothing more we can do about the fleas so stop fucking complaining about them to everyone. #1 I don’t appreciate the manner in which the message was delivered. #2 Just because the FIRST thing you try (topical flea meds) are not working 100% doesn’t mean you give up, throw up your hands and just live with the problem. There ARE other things we can do. I’m not willing to spend money trying to get rid of fleas when the animals aren’t mine. I’m also not willing to just “deal” with the fact that we’re just gonna have fleas. I feel like a filthy person because EVERYTHING I own has a layer of cat fur on it. It’s disgusting.
I’m angry because I can’t move out right now, and I know that I likely won’t be able to move on with my life, my pursuit healing and wellness will be in vain because I have to see the woman I love every day… a woman I love completely and unconditionally even though sometimes she goes a little nutjob on us. But she doesn’t want to be mine… because she wants to be single, and not have to think about anyone else’s feelings but her own. She doesn’t think we’re a good match. I thought we were and I was ready to keep fighting to stay together. Her indecision pushed her away from me.
The problem is that I only know how to fight or flee when I’m angry. I don’t know how to stand firm and deal rationally with my anger in a controlled way.
What’s so great about self control anyway? It’s just making me less free. It’s binding me to someone else’s ideas about proper behavior for a lady. Keeping cool and staying in control of my emotions means that I don’t deal with them. I’m not free as long as I have to have self control. I may be a peacemaker at heart but that doesn’t mean that I have to say “there, there, it’ll be alright even though what you did was wrong” and “oh no, it’s alright, I’m not offended.”
I’m a fucking liar. I am offended! I’m fucking angry. I have a right to be. I am incensed. I am enraged. I feel like a caged, captured animal. Because my financial situation makes it impossible for me to leave tomorrow. Because I used to be a kind, sensitive, polite, loving, peacemaking woman and right now I am a monster. And I’ll probably be like this for the next year as I try to repair the damage. I’m angry because of all the time I’ve wasted being angry.
I can hardly breathe, my throat chakra as is royally screwed up. I want out. I want out NOW. Out out out. Fucking out.