For the last two months I have been ANGRY. From the sexism in our current election, to the guy “manspreading” next to me, to the fact that I am being underpaid for hard work, my reaction has to been to be just plain pissed off.
This feeling is slightly familiar as I did live in NYC for two years. I remember walking around the street and being mad and taking out my anger on fellow New Yorkers. I pushed past people while walking or loudly sighed at the person on the subway who had no sense of my personal space or mumble under my breath at the tourist who stood in front of me taking a picture. I felt so angry all the time and knew I couldn’t sustain this feeling for long and that New York wasn’t the right place for me because it seemed like everyone else was just as pissed off as me. So I left New York and went to DC and Boston where sure people are angry, but it is less culturally appropriate to walk around with a scowl on your face and push people out of the way when you walk.
But here I am back and feeling like my old New York self. Anger brews in me and comes and goes in waves, but never quite seems to pass. Working out seems to be the only way to healthily channel my anger and make it subside. The other things I try are complaining to friends or sending passive aggressive (or just directly “aggressive”) emails, but the anger is still there no many how emails I send.
I ask myself if anger is more tolerable than sadness. In some sense it is more energizing because it doesn’t quite suck the energy out of you like when you wake up and just want to hide in bed all day.
What about the people who aren’t angry? They just “let things go.” Are they better off? Is it something in their nature that I am just missing? Or are they pushovers? Should we all get that feeling in our gut sometimes to show we are alive, thinking, feeling beings?
I know my anger isn’t serving me, but the more I think about that the angrier I get. I usually wrap up my blogs with a tidy conclusion, but as I was writing this I got in a confrontation with a student in the class I was a “substitute TA” for. After our little confrontation I realized that the nicer I acted with the other students after the confrontation the better I looked. An angry person does not garner much sympathy or make people want to connect with you. It could be that part of our anger is a search to connect with other people – we want them to know how we feel and feel less alone in our anger. When I used to angrily walk around Manhattan I would search people’s faces looking for something comforting or encouraging. I just finished this new book that is on the NYT bestseller list and is called The Universe Has Your Back. The message is that we need to “see the world through love” and stop letting ourselves be guided by fear. It sound hooey, but at the same time I would probably feel so much calmer if I “saw the world through love.” But what if me never being angry means I never stick up for myself and advocate for the fair pay I know I deserve? Or ask the “manspreading” student next to me to please give me more space?
These both might be true – I might be more at peace if I saw the world through love, but I might stand up for myself more when I am angry. Like all things in life I probably need a balance of the two and my over anger is not helping anything except my fitness routine. In the meantime, I will try to breathe deep and smile at one person I see who doesn’t piss me off…