Anger is a very natural emotion. The dictionary defines anger as such: a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong. In general, I don’t get angry that often. Sure, some things piss me off, but for the most part, I take a moment or twenty and think about the situation and after a few minutes, I’m not so upset anymore.
Don’t deny my anger. Let me be livid if I am. And there are some situations in life that call for you to be downright red-hot furious. I have encountered five such situations in my thirty years of life.
1. I was a sophomore in high school. I went through a huge body change from the time I was thirteen to about age fifteen. I gained close to eighty pounds over those two years. I’ve tried to pinpoint what caused this huge flux, but namely, I’d say just puberty and all the stress being a teenager can bring. Plus, I had a really awful short haircut which I decided to perm, so I that really didn’t help matters much. I remember this day clearly and probably will even when I’m eighty and riddled with dementia. I was at my locker getting books for my next class and to my right was the locker of a kid that I’ve never really gotten along with well. He was the stereotypical high school jock and to be honest, a bit of a prick. I was getting my books out and accidentally dropped one. As I bent over to pick it up, one of his equally prick-y friends came by. He started laughing and called me a cow. Oh, ho ho! Looking back now, having the slightly thicker skin and a much greater arsenal of sarcasm and snarky retorts, I can think of at least nine different things I’d say to that asshat now, but back then, it crushed me. I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment, shame and anger. It was the first time anyone had ever ridiculed me for my weight and I can honestly say, that one remark has left me scarred for life. That one word set the scene for a lifetime of low self esteem and poor self image issues. I stood there and took it. I let him call me a cow.
2. I was nineteen. I had been living with my aunt and uncle in a different city while I was attending a private college there, and due to a series of wacky events, the college announced before Christmas break that due to lack of enrollment, they were closing and we would not return to finish. Having no school to go to and no job, I reluctantly moved back home. Apparently while I was gone, things between my parents quickly started to diminish and I returned to resentment and a dissolving marriage. It was late July, I think. I was awoken one morning to the sound of my parents screaming in the living room, namely my dad yelling at me to “wake up, Erin! Your mother has ruined our marriage!” I remember lying in bed trying to convince myself this was all a really fucked up dream. I hesitantly got out of bed and opened my bedroom door. I saw my father pacing the living room like a crazy man and my mom sitting on the couch, slumped over on her knees. She looked up at me and she had mascara smeared down her face from crying. My dad stormed out of the house and went to work, my mom retreated to their bedroom. I’ll spare you the more unsavory details, but this is the day I watched my mother attempt suicide by taking an entire bottle of her blood pressure medication. She was standing outside by her car, crying hysterically and she threw back the pills and I just stood there, frozen in terror as I saw the pills go down her throat. She got into her car and drove away. My dad returned from work a few minutes later and I was freaking out. I tried to tell him what happened between my uncontrollable sobbing and managed to get it out. His reaction? “Good. I hope she dies.” Those words coming from my dad’s mouth…I couldn’t believe it. I looked him in the eyes and screamed, “I FUCKING HATE YOU.”
3. It was a week before Jason and I were to be married. Despite my mom’s attempted suicide two years earlier, she survived and my parents reconciled. All was well and good…or so we thought. Just as Mom had done two years before and cheated on my Dad, my Dad then began cheating on my mom. I was coming home from work late one night and met my mom on the highway. She flagged me to pull over and told me, “your father has something to say to you when you get home,” and she sped off back to work. I walked into the house and saw my dad sitting in the living room recliner. He then told me about his affair. This time, I had no words for him, but the hatred I had for him was intense and lasted for nearly two years. I refused contact with him and when forced to interact with him, it was brief and curt. Only after a talk with my older brother telling me I was being an immature brat did I slowly come to terms with what happened and let my dad back into my life.
4. November 9, 2009. The day my husband of six going on seven years refused to talk to me. He had been cut back hours at his job to part-time and we were barely scraping by financially the way it was, so to have his salary reduced was putting a heavy strain on us. We had never been the best conversationalists; it was as difficult for me to initiate conversation with him as it was for him to want to talk with me, but this needed to happen. I asked him what his plans were: either find a new job, get another part-time job, or he had been talking about going to school for a graphic design degree, so what about keeping the part-time job and going to school part-time? Well, this was not what he wanted to hear. He completely shut down on me and shut himself in our bedroom for an entire 24 hours, only coming out to go to the bathroom. This was the day I decided I didn’t want to be married to him anymore.
5. The day Arrested Development got cancelled.
Okay, that last one is a goof, but I was getting pretty serious here and I can’t handle being serious for very long or a baby seal gets clubbed somewhere.
Today got me plenty angry, but I’d rank it in the top 20. I try to be a good person. I try to do what is right, I brush my teeth every day and I assist elderly people when they need help. I tell my parents I love them regularly. I let my dog sleep on my bed. In general: good person. However, I make mistakes. As I’ve mentioned above, I’ve become angry enough to say mean, hurtful things to people. I am not proud of this and in all instances, I regret these things. I’m far from perfect, as my mother can well attest. I’ve said horrible things about Jason and his friends. I was pissed. However, this does not entitle me to run my mouth off about him or the company he keeps. Looking at my first instance of being truly angry, I can appreciate the irony. Someone’s one remark forever changed my perception of myself.
This may be an instance of too little, too late, but know that I am truly sorry for saying these things. I hope I can someday be forgiven as I’ve done with all the people who’ve made me angry in the past. Anger is a normal human emotion, but forgiveness is also imperative as a human. Don’t dwell on wrongdoings or you’re going to end up living a lonely life and die wondering why you’ve never accomplished much.
Oy. Alright. I didn’t really want my first attempt at writing in over month to be a post like this, but whatever works, I guess.