“Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. That’s what I know now. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It’s real, though – the fury, even when it isn’t. It can change you… turn you… mold you and shape you into something you’re not. The only upside to anger, then… is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they’re not afraid to take the journey, someone that knows that the truth is, at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and fits, and in its wake, leaves a new chance at acceptance, and the promise of calm. Then again, what do I know? I’m only a child.”– Lavender “Popeye” Wolfmeyer from The Upside of Anger.
I remember a time in my life when I was an angry woman. Looking back, it did swallow and smother me. Anger is real, even if it is an event that I am imagining, inflating, fueling, clutching, repressing, controlling, erasing, or any one of a thousand ways that I’ve invented to cope with its power. I recall being frightened by its gnarly teeth and repulsive expression. Little did I realize that in some strange way it was my ally all along. As a result of my outlandish demonstrations, I am transformed. I am more accountable and present. I am not so afraid or as anxious. I am soft and gentle in places where once I was inflexible and difficult. I can feel my heart beating in a precious and essential way. Not just in the physical sense, but in a sacred and valuable fashion. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am still a “wild woman” in some ways, but the stormy and fierce woman that shows up today is passionate, adoring, and loving both of herself and others. I am mindful of my power and try to use it in a responsible manner. I am grateful for those painful times that provoked confusion and tension, for they produced this woman whom I love today.