Tag Archives: reason

“Anger is bad.” No.

8 Apr

Life is short, live it. …okay.

Love is rare, grab it. …eh, sure.

Anger is bad, dump it. No.

Absolutely, definitively no.

Anger is an emotion. A typically unpleasant emotion, but that does not make it a bad one. Pain is also unpleasant. Pain telling me that my hand is on something hot and will burn beyond repair unless I move it is pretty damn useful. I wouldn’t call that bad.

I also wouldn’t call the roaring, screaming indignation that rises to your throat in anger because you are being raped or mugged bad, either. That anger makes you fight back. That anger tells you that something is wrong, and you should fight for your life in response. I would not call the sick, hot refusal that makes people jump into a fray and push back the monster attacking a child or kicking a dog or berating their wife in public or tearing your friend to verbal shreds a bad thing, either. Dump the anger, and you dump the potential for action.

I would know. I too was taught that anger was bad. So when I was molested, my anger turned to shame. Stuck in a shitty, degrading home life, my anger turned inwards and I defended my sanity with sharp knives on my skin instead of sharp words at my parents about maybe finally fucking owning up and dealing with themselves. Because hey, anger was bad, right? But these slashes here, they weren’t anger. They were despair. Guilt. Repentance. Better to be sad than to be angry, right?

Better silent martyr than screaming monster. Forget that there might ever be a middle ground. There could be no middle ground. Speaking up meant talking about my anger and anger was bad. I needed to dump it. So I did. Straight into some scars.

Perhaps it would have been better if I’d just kept on being mad and went ahead and yelled. It’s usually easier for people to hear you that way.

Anger is what leads to court cases and criminal convictions. Anger is what makes people go on in the face of someone telling them they can’t. Anger knocks down, and anger gets back up.

Anger is an emotion. It is neither good nor bad. What you do with the anger, that’s where the value judgment lies. Action can be good. Action can be bad.

When there is nothing to change or salvage or address or fix, letting go of anger can be the correct call. Siphon it out as energy for something productive. Breathe and let it fade. But don’t just dump it into a rubbish bin and pretend that you’ve actually dealt with it at all. Anger exists for a reason. And dumping anger isn’t the same as getting rid of that reason.

Don’t put your anger in a dumpster if you still need it for something else.

Anger is not a bad thing. It what’s you do with it – or don’t do – that’s the issue.

Just ask my scars.

Three Types of Hell

7 May

Three Types of Hell

– A Short Story –

My life is a confusing brand of hell.  They’re not all so hard, you know. Some people at least get to know why they’re doomed to an eternity of being burnt about the toes. You’ve got the straight-forward malice types, the murderers, the robbers (sans raisons), the loose liars and the psychopaths. You know, the people who didn’t give a damn about others and so heaped up a whole lot of damnation for themselves. Their souls started burning even before their dead eyes shut.

Then you’ve got the regretters. Or at least, that’s how they think of themselves. They’ve got no grand feat to speak of, just lots of small grievances piled up without remorse. An annoyance here, a slight there. Never any thought as to how treating their fellow humans like a convenience mart might go in the long run, for those fellows or themselves. No, the regretters, it’s almost ironic, their chosen name in their little red-taped clique of the hot place. They spent their lives making being alive just a little bit harder for others. Now they’re spending forever making it harder for themselves. Each and every one of them tucked into the regretter section, a club of mopers and moaners whose only task all the live long day is to trip up the no-longer-a-body next to them. They keep doing what they were doing. It’s just limited to their own kind, now. And these people – bureaucrats, most of ’em – they just sit about regretting. If only they’d known. If only they could’ve done differently. But no, it’s as they told every customer, every broken-down landlady or tired old veteran – they had no choice, the stamp was there, the law in place. Regrettably, they could do nothing.

And so now they do nothing but regret their regretting.

But then… then there’s me. And a few others, here and there. We don’t see each other very often. We’re not the skulking type and we’re too faded to scuttle, but occasionally one of us will scuff along the floor loudly enough for another of us to hear if we’re nearby. We are… we don’t have a name, actually. Because that’s the point of this kind of hell, isn’t it? There is no point. There is no name. There is no reason. We’re all just here. We don’t know what we did. We carry some amorphous, pervasive sense of guilt, but it’ll never coalesce together enough to show us its true shape. We question. And we wonder. Why are we here? What did we do? Was it some wrong choice? We cannot remember taking any wrong path… Did we do another wrong? Look long as we might, our memories show nothing but love.

Or so we think.

So we think we think.

And onward, downward, inward.

There is no escape.

Not that we know where the entrance was, anyway.

It’s a confusing brand of hell, this life of ours. We’re all still trying to do right, even down here. But eventually, our numbers thin, until the next crop comes along. I’m about three generations of influx along. About my time to be passing away, actually. I don’t know which direction I’ll take. The ones who say fuck it all and throw themselves to where the flames burn blue, or the ones who shrug and accept that perhaps their damnation was in fact a small pile of nothing, nothing so significant as to have warranted all that… Malice or minutiae, we all go one way or the other.

It’s hard, scuffling along, your toes slowly turning crisp about the edges. Eventually, you need a reason for why your toes are turning black.

Justified

6 Mar

I have always felt the need to justify my existence. I’m not really sure when it started; I have no particular experience to point to, no exact moment in time when I can remember its instillment. There is neither any gradual buildup that I can trace; this need has just always been there, within me, existing.

Perhaps it’s from the early Catholic training I received, the anti-hedonistic education I received since birth. Perhaps it is the messages, subtle and otherwise, that pleasure should never  be a reason, only an unhoped for side effect of righteousness, to be found only after death in a heavenly afterlife. Perhaps it’s that I was raised in an environment of business and consequences; my father, a self-employed salesman, and my mother, a harried keeper who ran around cleaning up after him. There were costs to life, and if you did not put in the effort to stay ahead of them, debt was an inevitability. Therefore one must justify every expenditure, and behind that, every whim. Can you pay the price of what you want? Can you afford the cost of what you are asking for? Are you providing enough return for this air, this water, this space that you are soaking up and taking in? Because if not, then there will be someone to come collect your dues from you. And you may not like what they take.

Perhaps it is that – I can remember creating powerpoint presentation as a fourth grader whenever I wanted to ask my parents for something: a book, a dog, a birthday party. Here, mother and father, are the reasons I want this thing. Here are the reasons that I am sure this is truly something of value to me, something worth your funding, not just some passing fancy that you will not see the returns of. Let me explain the form of my liquidated joy. Let me explain why this matters. Let me explain how giving me this thing will pay off for you, too. Let me show you how this happiness of mine is a worthwhile venture for your capital. Let me use these graphs and these bullet points and these arguments and persuasions to prove to you that I – that is, this thing that I want – is not just a risk. Let me show you why it is worth it.

Let me show you why I am worth it.

Or perhaps, perhaps it’s really that the universe somehow screwed up royally when I was born, and I was brought into this world with a piece of antimatter snuck into my core. And it’s been sitting there ever since, slowly annihilating me from the inside, destroying my internal and leaving me empty and so I have always felt this need for external, objective justification of myself because it is the fodder I have fed this antimatter core, the material I have been using to build myself up and keep the destruction at bay. I have needed to constantly build myself up because there is something else within me constantly tearing myself down. I have needed to prove myself to create a positive existence within myself that is being constantly drawn toward the negative.

Alright, alright, it’s probably not that I’ve got a bit of antimatter in me. But you have to admit, that would be more exciting.

And so I don’t know. I don’t know why I feel this constant imperative to show to myself – because it is to myself, really – over and over and over again that it is all right for me to exist. That is okay for me to be happy. The idea of doing something, well and truly and solely for my own pleasure – that is still an idea I am learning to be comfortable with. I mean, I’m still learning to be comfortable at all. In my body, in my mind, in my relationships. There is always some latent dissatisfaction, some missing piece, some screw up enfolded in the obscurity of a past that I somehow didn’t quite catch, that holds me back from every being truly happy. I mean, most days, my goal is just to not go crazy. Recently, a day without breaking down crying on my dorm room floor has been what’s counted as success.

Maybe I’ve just distorted that line about “everyone is here for a reason,” the whole “your life has a purpose” spiel. There’s a reason for me?! My life has a purpose?! What if I’m screwing up and not following through on what that reason for me is?! What if I’m doing it wrong?! What if I fail, don’t ever fulfill what my purpose was supposed to be?! What if I just fall short?! Every breath for me is a beat of “am I doing it? am I doing it? did I do it now? is this okay? oh god oh god oh god oh god…”

Heh. And people wonder why I have anxiety…

No, I am not looking for you to tell me that I am justified. I am not looking for you to tell me the right answer, to insist that I am alright, that it’s all okay, that I am good. You see, that’s part of the tricky business of the internal ruckus of mine. I require outside feedback to let me know that I am okay (because I couldn’t ever just trust myself, could I? that’s not objective observation…), but if I feel that it was given because I asked for it – well then, that just voids it right there. It’s like leading a witness in court. You said that because I directed you to. You may really mean it, but my brain doesn’t care about that. Nope, the only praise I can accept is the kind that has been spontaneously and freely given, that I have earned but not fished for.

(By the way, Miss Kim, I’m going to tell you again that I love you forever for the random messages you send me at like two in the afternoon while you’re at work that just pop up on my facebook chat telling me I’m pretty. You are a glorious, wonderful human being and I cannot exist without you. Also, I’m probably going to buy a mattress soon, like, for realsies and probably just have it delivered straight to the apartment, because fuck transporting queen-sized mattresses in a compact.)

I hope you all have a best friend like Miss Kim. Like Miss Kim, mind you. Because Miss Kim is mine. All mine.

*Ahem.* But really, I do. And I hope even more that perhaps this best friend is in fact some part of you. That perhaps you do not need an external positivity feed like I do. That perhaps you already have your own sense of justification, built into the infrastructure of yourself.

That would be nice.

But if you don’t – well, I understand. I’m here with you, too. And here’s to hoping that one day, we will be able to tear out that pesky piece of antimatter (using proper protective gloves, of course, gotta be careful when handling antimatter…) and finally fill that whole with some brick of justification that will finally stay and stick.

And until then, here’s to searching.