On anger…

Anger is very useful as fuel for a fire but it MUST have a purpose. It must burn itself out leaving only ash.

In other words, anger is a BIG emotion.

Anger invites himself to your party and is the life and soul. Your guests love him. Your house feels warm. He drinks all your mead. He eats like a horse, he’ll eat a whole horse if you deign to put it in front of him. But this is a small price to pay for what he brings. You don’t mind. His tales are so fascinating. His spark ignites a room. (more description) He draws people in, they can’t wait for the next party, your house buzzes with energy it hasn’t had for a long time. You are whole in the warmth of his embers.

But…
he invites himself in. one day he doesn’t leave at dawn when the last of your guest are yawning and drifting away back home. He plonks his feet on your table and settles there. In your bed. And while the company is magnetic at first and you hardly notice that he’s moved in, he’s such a big presence anyway.

You start to wear around the edges a little, imperceptibly at first. You have no mead left. You turn the bottle over, only for them to drip one final drip into your mouth. He eats so much you have to run around finding food for him and you forget to attend to you soul’s own grumbling belly.

Before you know it, he’s invited his mates, bitterness and resentment, round. They ensconce themselves firmly in your armchairs or around your table. They never actually ask for anything, never make demands, they just seem to expect and you find yourself giving and giving to them. It gets to the stage where you seem to be able to anticipate their needs before they give you that look. A slight incline of the head or an almost imperceptible raise of their glass. There is no longer a seat for you. There is no longer room for you around your own table. You feel like you are rushing around. You ARE rushing around. You feel scattered. You sulk. They don’t seem to see that you are getting upset and are frazzled by their overwhelming presence. But you don’t say either, you continue to pour their drink with a smile, serve their roast dinners, plates piled high without a comment. If they were to ask if everything were ok, but of course they don’t, you would bring out the politeness guns and soothe with an “everything’s fine” look, gesture, shrug or small self-effacing comment.

Now, some people will put up with this their whole lives. Caught in their misreading of the old ways of hospitality. What anger doesn’t realise is that it cannot help taking, plus it’s not really taking if it’s continually offered, is it? What neither of you get, at this point, is that an offering is finite. But you feel that he has set it up so that you have unwittingly sacrificed your soul at his altar. He didn’t mean it. It’s just that he’s having such a good time. He just hasn’t thought any further than that.

Now you can grumble and think that you need to accept your lot. Frustration sets in but still you keep your polite mouth firmly shut. You might have a go at the woman in the Post Office making you wait in the queue one day but taking so bloody long, how dare she? You take your brimfull of rage everywhere you go. It slops over the sides at the slightest nudge.

Over time, you keep on like this. Your fire smoulders but doesn’t go out. You hate yourself. You feel stupid. The glittering charm of anger is now lost to you completely. You feel guilty that you can’t seem to handle it. You can’t seem to handle him. You avoid him. And his mates. You stay out whenever you can. Avoid him. You sink into depression. You keep a bottle of vodka hidden in an old wellington boot under the sink, covered with an old sock so it can’t be found by anyone else. You take too many of those painkillers. The nice fuzzy ones. You feel like the only one. You feel alone ad lonely and misunderstood.

Or…
You can realise that you invited him in. Yes, he has overstayed his welcome in spadefuls. But you. Invited.
Him.
In.
Into your house.
To sit beside your hearth.
And you continue to feed him so that you can choose to sink with this, by now, parasitical burden.

You can realise that you are done appeasing. You shout at him. You curse him. And kick him out. You even have to heave him out of your front door ignoring his protestations of innocence that could make you feel so guilty if you took them to heart. He roars at you. You shake inside. It flutters. You feel momentarily weak. And bad. And stupid. But you have to take it. After all, he was very well settled in. But you cannot stop. You remind yourself it doesn’t have to be this way, but you just can’t live together anymore. His mates follow him out, giving you evils. Muttering about you under their breath. Some look incredulous at you. You shut the door and slide your back down it to the floor.

You breathe for a while.

When you have spring cleaned and the smell of him and his cronies is gone. Mess cleaned up. Washing up done. Huge stack of recycling. Place freshly hoovered.
Then.
Sit down.
On your own.
Only then, you realise, can you access the deeper, older hurts that anger, in his partying ways, has hidden from you.
In time you know you will be able to invite anger back in, but you will never let him stay for long.
With your house empty and with only the dead for company now, you can begin the process of grieving.

Cotopaxi 1-4 Oct09 020

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Edgelands


My days look like sitting in the woods,
Making new paths through the trees
Or walking slowly over the old ones but seeing them for the first time.
Seeing the landscape and it looks like a painting,
Certain things stand out or edges seem to blur.
It is sitting at my desk eyes drifting over the view.
When the edges of my soul stretch out and a boundary to another place opens.
It is the backs of houses.
Something flows through me and I don’t really know where it came from.
The sound of unlocking.
A tiny idea that sits in my marrow and won’t let go of me till i’ve exhausted it,
Worries my thoughts like dog a bone.
It is soaring on thermals
Taking me up and up until i let go and drift slowly down.