I have an anger problem. If I’m in a hurry to write something down and grab a pen empty of ink, the pen becomes a knife, and the paper, forever scarred with furious invisible scribbles, my victim. I curse, hurl the useless pen out of my sight, and reach for another. Heaven forbid the second pen fails me. Then it’s the apocalypse.
But that’s such a small matter, you say. Doesn’t mean you have an anger problem. Oh, how I wish it were so. Make me wait a second longer in a checkout line, and unintelligible mutters of impatience pour out from my mouth. Drive too slowly in front of my car, and I make it my mission to switch lanes, speed up, and take the space in front of you. When I succeed, I cackle evilly in triumph at your bewilderment. Make a mistake when I have give you instructions, and my nose flares up, eyes get super wide, and my voice becomes loud enough to disturb the deaf as I complain about how you messed up.
It’s about the small things in life, all of it accumulating to transform into a stampeding wooly mammoth set on fire. I snap at my laptop, fellow drivers and pedestrians if I’m driving, my brother, mother, father, friends—everyone and everything. No one and nothing is safe from my wrath, my pain. My hell. Not even myself. And I receive a good dose of anger from my inner thoughts. I want to escape, but I can’t so I get angrier and angrier. It’s terrible.
I was in the car with my brother today and I chewed him out for making a wrong turn and skipping a gas station I specifically told him to stop at. He turned to me and said, “Carla, I don’t know what your problem is. For the past six months, you’ve been…I don’t know the word for it. Super aggressive.” That shut me up right away, and I sat in the passenger seat, ashamed and pensive.
I knew why I was angry. It had nothing to do with him or anything or anyone else for that matter. I was angry about being rejected from several PhD programs I had wanted to enter. Still angry. I thought I was over the rejections, but I wasn’t. I was supposed to be in California, living on my own and studying and researching what I loved. But I wasn’t. I was still in Boston. Living at home. And underemployed. And I was angry. Mostly at myself, but I let my anger and disappointment spill on everything and everyone. I didn’t want to be this way. I wanted to live in peace. To feel peace. I hated how I sapped joy out of my daily life and made the people around me miserable when it was no fault of theirs. I needed to change. So, I came up with five things to help me leave my hell behind and choose peace.
Stay tuned for my next post, 5 Things I Did that Helped Me Choose Peace.
While you wait, talk to me. Do you have an anger problem? Do you find yourself snapping for little to no reason? I want to hear about it!