Anger And Teaching, Part 1

ViaMoi / Foter

Sometimes people teach you things about yourself. It’s never comfortable, because they show you things you don’t want to see. Frex, I pride myself on observing people. I am rather insufferable in my belief that I can observe and guess, or predict, especially those close to me. It’s one of the things that drives people crazy about me, I guess. Most of my friends just roll their eyes and gently deflate me, for which I am endlessly grateful.

Then there’s the times it comes out of left field, and I misjudge someone’s intentions, or misjudge someone, and that someone teaches me with all the finesse of a cosmic 2X4. Granted, sometimes that’s the only thing that gets through to my stubborn head. But still, ouch.

When it happens, there’s always a flash of anger. How dare you prove me wrong! How dare you do what I didn’t expect! It’s just as ridiculous as it sounds, but it’s anger nonetheless. That emotion is a sign for me–I need to stop, slow down, take a look at the lesson I’m being taught. There’s a clear crimson quality to the anger, with an undertone of yellow and a smell of burning paper, that means I’m being ridiculous. (This is different from the deep bruise-red-black of an anger that means my boundaries have been trespassed. That smells of copper and cigarette smoke, oddly enough. And that, my dears, is another blog post.)

Growing up around rageaholics, I am terrified of my own anger, because I’ve seen what uncontrolled fury can do. I get irritated, frustrated, and occasionally stomp and yell “WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO GODDAMN DIFFICULT?”…but then I push the bad feelings down, turn them a few degrees to the side, and usually figure out I’m being ridiculous. So the reflex of following the lightning flash of anger to its source and realizing I’ve been a halfwit is pretty well ingrained. Unfortunately, I resist seeing when I’m being unlivable.

Don’t we all.

The anger is a good teacher, and I usually end up being thankful to be taught, thankful to be reminded that I’m an idiot and I need to just stop…and listen. In every flash of anger there is a place of being taught, of allowing the difference between what we expect and what actually happens (as Jayne says, “Well, what you plan and what takes place ain’t ever exactly been similar”) to show us where there is room for grace, for laughing and shaking your head at your own folly and buckling down to be the best you can be, allowing the music to come in.

So. Thank you for teaching me this past weekend. It was uncomfortable as hell…

…but that’s the way it goes. Tomorrow I’ll talk about anger as a sign of boundary breach. I’ll bet you’re breathless with antici…pation.

*wanders off humming*

  • martianmooncrab

    Anger has some good sides to it, its how you channel the results that matter.

  • Mimi

    Lil, Lil, Lil, your words = my mirror. Growing up at the Crazy Circus; dad was Fred Flintstone with rage issues, mom was Bette Davis with J Edgar Hoover issues, I learned to shoot first and open the door for the girl scout cookie seller later. It’s a long lesson to keep the mouth gun holstered. Still learning it and past the half century mark by a bunch. Probably why Dante & Jill are faves to read as they plow thru their lives clearing real and imagined debris. What a gift that you can identify the stinking piles of oops while they’re still hot. A lot of us don’t even see them until they’re petrified geological artifacts of our past. Well done. (glass clink)

  • Mimi

    Sorry about the duplicate postings. I read your blog on my Windows Phone (otherwise known as “I work when I WANT to work…damnit”) and when I got on my PC later to read your other blog entries, my first comment had never registered. I retyped it and, of course, after submitting the comment, the first one magically appeared from the ethers to taunt me. Please delete one if you decide to approve it. I am punishing my phone by letting the battery dwindle down to the last death throes of energy and waving the power cord in front of it until it behaves…

  • Lili

    Mimi: Your phone punishment made me laugh SOOO HARD. Hee.