“I am like a pressure cooker,” I told my friend. “I feel it building and building and then all of a sudden I pop.”
That was how this weekend was. For some unknown reason, all weekend, I had this anger pent up. No one in my life had offended me, nothing was glaringly wrong, no events had happened or not happened to make life tough. But I just feel this vitriol, this frustration, churning in my stomach.
I was operating so close to explosive that I knew I wasn’t being the mom, the wife, the friend I wanted to be. My boys would do something that in a normal circumstance I could handle with grace. Yet this weekend I found myself “popping” a lot.
I look over and they are jumping on the couch for the 18th time that week: PING, pop.
I told The Bean yet again to wash his hands: PING, pop.
The Bug is clinging to me, whining, for 2 hours straight: PING, pop.
I didn’t want to pop. I didn’t even know why these seemingly normal and unalarming situations were creating such moments of anger for me. This was anger I didn’t want to carry.
Then in church on Sunday, which was a battle in and of itself to get to, our guest minister spoke on anger. Just a little, but enough to make me stop wondering what the new notifications were on my phone to perk up, pay attention, and say, “Right, I need to hear this. Bring it on.”
She spoke about how anger is usually the symptom of another root problem: feelings of injustice, depression, rejection, frustration, and so on. Usually anger doesn’t exist on its own. Usually anger means something else is at the bottom, needing to be unearthed and addressed.
She also reminded us (me) that we are not at our best when we are angry. We can’t show love, compassion, and kindness when we are angry.
I thought of my sons, I thought of my husband, and I knew that I wasn’t being my best.
I had to root out where the anger was – what deep, ugly feeling was down there demanding an outlet of rage?
I can’t say that I have figured it out yet. Even this glorious Monday morning as I head in to my new job (that I love) I still feel a little heat under the lid.
I know I have been feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by all the demands and everything I have to do. But that isn’t new. That has been a bat in my closet since June 2009. I also know that there has been a lot of transition in my life (in my entire family’s life) lately.
I know I doubt myself a lot these days. Everything. All these changes, the seemingly big decisions I have made in the past 3 weeks, I doubt them all.
Am I doing the right thing? Will I regret something? All these blog posts and Facebook messages tell me that I should be “seizing the now,” that I will look back on this and realize it is all so fleeting, but here I am going back to work. Am I seizing!? OH MY GOD, AM I SEIZING!?
Perhaps self-doubt is the ugly beast that is roaring from my heart, asking to be released.
I have realized, though, that no matter what caused me to be angry this weekend, I have a management system to fall back on. I need to be honest with myself when I am not at my best and find a way to get the demons out … well, at least some, if not all…and take time to do what is needed.
What are your tricks for getting the angry out? How do you pop that pressure cooker situation in a way that is healthy and constructive?
I have found that time to exercise helps me. I get my headphones on, I get lost in the music, and I get the endorphins flowing. I no longer work out to attempt to sculpt a body that is insanely out of reach. I work out because it just feels good.
I have found that writing, blogging, reading, anything associated with the written word, gets me out of myself, out of my head, and gets me connected. It is time spent escaping the drama I self-inflict and seeing what else is happening in the great big world. For example, this beautiful blog post by Lisa-Jo Baker came in to my reader on Sunday evening and the timing couldn’t have been more spectacular.
Getting outside reminds me that life is bigger than my microcosm revolving around laundry, to-do lists, cleaning, cooking, and getting splinters out of little fingers. I can look around, be free, hear the quiet lulling sounds of nature, and remember that it all comes back to Life and Beauty.
In those times I take a moment to give myself a hug, to be gentle and kind with myself. And in that moment, I know I am seizing.