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*