Pandemic Diary: Some very bad advice about anger

i

What I most appreciate about Bumblebee—that’s the bear that thinks it’s a dog that we adopted back in February 2020 as Flora’s emotional support animal—is how she seems to be this negative energy neutralizer. I feel angry, frustrated—she stares at me with those liquid brown eyes, presents a fluffy head or rump for petting, I start to pet her wool because how can I not, and, true thing, you can’t feel angry while you’re petting a fluffy dog.

I am not generally an angry person. It is not my default state and it takes a lot to get me angry. And that’s good, because when I do get angry, there are no filters. Heads roll. Relationships end. I’m, to be honest, afraid of my anger. I back away from its precipice often. And when I’ve made myself with with it, just sit with it without smashing things—or people—my main takeaway is, fuq, I don’t want to feel like this, ever, go away, be gone.

My friend the Buddhist nun probably has some things to say about this; maybe you do too. Hush. I don’t think it’s a bad practice to step away (run away?) from things that make you feel angry. Really, you only have two choices: flight or fight. Leave… or work (fight) to change the circumstances that make you angry. Because just sitting in anger, staying in anger, living in anger—unbearable. It will consume you, destroy you.

I think a lot of us are living in anger right now. Righteous anger—or do I mean self-righteous anger? Frustrated anger. Helpless anger (that’s the worst). Unfocused anger. And we can’t leave because the thing that’s triggering our anger is, well, everything—it’s all around us.

(Spoiler alert—there are no words of wisdom at the end of this post—no three steps of moving past your pandemic anger. No call to action that solves everything, or even empowers you. Sorry.)

 I’ve been dealing with my anger by choosing actions and focus whenever possible—when not, choosing sleep. Also, petting the dog. And also—just trying to let it burn out without trying to assign it a cause—not naming the “because.” You know? We do this all the time. The feeling comes—I feel angry (or sad). Why? Because—we make a list. Of such very, very good reasons for the feeling. We feed it. It grows stronger.

Instead—I feel angry. Period. Burn, evil feeling. Ok. You’re gone. I can do shit again now.

I’m pretty sure this is a conflict-avoidant, dysfunctional way of dealing with anger. But when you don’t have the energy to deal with its root causes—why waste energy you don’t have even looking for them?

ii

I’m not angry right now. I’m… flaccid, deflated, limp. I’d say spent, but that suggests a state post-effort, post-climax, and I don’t think that’s happened. I’m just… you know. Limp like dirty dish rag, flat like a punctured bicycle tire. I’ll be better soon—the sunis out and I have plans and things to do. But right now, I’m limp.

As with anger, sitting with my limpness is not a state I enjoy. But at least, it doesn’t hurt, me or others.

iii

This post needs a third verse—threes make for a more powerful, emotive narrative technique than twos, that’s just the way it is. But I don’t want to circle back to anger, and I’ve already told you (spoiler alert redux) that I don’t come bearing solutions. Except, I suppose, the one about petting a fluffy dog—although I suppose a non-bitchy chihuaha or a cuddly cat will do in a pinch too.

Hey. So I do come bearing solutions. Pet a dog. Maybe a soft blanket if you’ve got allergies.

Breathe. You’ll be able to act, change things, eventually.

For now—breathe. Pet that dog. Go limp.

xoxo

“Jane”

Sweater by Jolanta Fashions

One thought on “Pandemic Diary: Some very bad advice about anger

  1. Pingback: Pandemic Diary, the Collection from Nothing By the Book | Nothing By The Book

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