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Anger Most Foul

This morning I lost my temper. Like really lost my temper. For those who don’t know, I have a relatively short fuse but I also tend to calm down pretty fast. This morning however was different. I experienced a rage I have never ever felt before. This morning I finally understood what the phrase “blind rage” means. More importantly, I truly understood and felt just how far it had the potential to push me and just how much destruction I was capable of in those tense heated uncontrolled moments.

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To cut a long story short, I have a very arrogant neighbor who during the night decided to block my car just to make a point. We spent 10 minutes trying to wake him up, only for him to wake up and tell me he had done it deliberately. To add insult to injury, his car apparently needs 30 minutes (I am not making this up) to warm up before he could move it. (I’m not entirely sure that his car runs on fuel; perhaps dirty water?) Anyway, as his car warmed up, we engaged in a heated shouting match for all and sundry to hear. Finally he moved his car and I drove off in a major huff trying to calm myself down with all the positive energy and self-talk that I could muster.

Thinking about it as I drove to work reminded me of a recent article I had read about in the dailies a couple of weeks ago where a motorist shot and killed another in a road rage incident. I have always wondered how angry someone would have to be to take out his gun and shoot someone else just for crossing him in traffic or whatever trivial reason. Just to be clear, I am making reference to level headed, intelligent people who can actually fathom the consequences of their actions. However, today I realized that had I been a licensed gun owner (or quite honestly, had any other weapon in my reach), I would have probably used it. In the heat of the moment of course. And while this may seem crazy to even admit, to be honest it just made me realize how human I am. With very human feelings and some very red blood.

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We all get angry, even furious from time to time. I really don’t believe it’s realistic to say that we can completely avoid it. However, what truly matters is what you do with that anger. After all, it’s a feeling just like all other feelings that we were blessed with right? And more importantly, once the storm has passed and the anger is gone; once the calm returns, will it have changed you or will you still be able to recognize yourself? For example, if you stab someone in a fit of domestic-instigated anger, your life will be forever changed. So while having the anger inside of you may have been perfectly natural, what you do with this anger now changes the course of your life permanently. Meaning that if we can just control what we do with our anger, or how we direct it, that ultimately makes all the difference in the eventual outcome.

The obvious flaw in this very brilliant logic (if I do say so myself) is that at the height of the anger and in the eye of the storm, we seem to lose all intelligent or rational thought and seemingly revert to our primal animal instincts. Simply put, all caution is thrown to the wind. Rational thought only seems to work when a person is calm, like I am now as opposed to this morning when I was baying for blood.

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Sorry to disappoint those who thought that I have an instant magic solution to ensure that rational thought can be applied during those tense moments when you just want to kill someone. I am human after all, so in that regard, we are in the same boat. I have heard however, that counting slowly to 10, 20 or whatever appropriate number before you speak might help in delaying or even deferring your stormy response. Others claim that counting just serves to make them even angrier so, to each his own. Walking away works for others, though it may not be possible depending on the situation. Keep in mind that some suggested solutions are personality driven so if you are confrontational like me, walking away may not feel good to you.

All I can say is remember you are human and you have human feelings so don’t be too hard on yourself. Find a way that works to blow off your steam harmlessly like pummeling a punching bag and always ensure that you deal with whatever made you angry once you are calm. Otherwise you risk a repeat of the same or worse when it happens again. Apologize if you hurt someone during your storm. Most importantly however, try really hard not to kill anyone.

                                   patience

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

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What kind of a friend are you? What kind of friends do you have? It may seem pretty cliché but the people you surround yourself with influence you more than you would care to imagine. In turn, you also influence them just as much. So if you have never looked keenly at your friends, perhaps you need to.

What’s a friend anyway? One of the common definitions is a person whom one knows and has a bond of mutual affection with, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations. Using that definition, a lot of people would definitely make the list, right? They don’t all influence you though, do they? I mean, I am pretty fond of my Face Book friends, but I wouldn’t really say they influence me.

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So we need a deeper distinction. What then is a True Friend? Some people would say, someone who will always be there for you, even when everyone else is gone. Someone who sees you and accepts you as you really are. Someone who would never judge you. All these and more, are what we normally call True or Best friends.

I have seen my fair share of friends come and go. Some I could clearly tell were there for the short haul or for a particular season or reason. Like my campus friends for instance. I absolutely adored those girls and even though we no longer speak daily, I still consider them my valued friends. They had a very high influence on who I was during that season of my life. Others, I could have sworn, were friends for life till they just upped and left without so much as a goodbye.

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One thing I have realized as I grow older (and hopefully wiser) is that I have fewer friends. The ones who are really close to me. The ones who know where the bodies are buried, so to speak. And it’s actually harder when you’re older to make new friends. The long lasting deep kind. Our experiences make it harder for us to trust people easily and we end up holding them at arm’s length and never really letting them in.

Personally, this is my definition for a true friend. Someone who will pick my call at 3am and will come to wherever I need them to. No hesitation and no questions asked. I use the same consideration to define myself to the precious few who call me a true friend. And trust me, I am not the kind of person who would often need to make 3am calls. Even when I was a night owl, I only made that call once. So it’s symbolic really. These are people who will have my back no matter what, and will not hesitate to call me out if they see me going the wrong way. They are not afraid to offend me and subject me to tough love on a regular basis.

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I used to think that a true friend was one who would let you get away with anything, like an enabler. The kind who would let you jump off a cliff, and be waiting at the bottom for you. I recently learnt that true friendship is about telling someone that they are making a big mistake – before they make it and not after! True friends will tell you the truth; the painful truth. They will not mince words, or stand by as you make a mistake, or let you wallow in your misery. And you will hate them briefly for doing it, but eventually you will thank them. And ultimately, these are the people you will come to treasure and hold close. These are the people whose opinions will influence and gently complement your own.

And by the way, if you ever have the good fortune to fall in love with and marry your true friend, then consider yourself one of the luckiest people in the world!

L.O.L.

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Today I laughed for the first time in a while. Like really laughed. Don’t get me wrong, I smile and chuckle and grin all the time. But I’m talking about those loud, deep-throated belly laughs, completely unapologetic and uninhibited hyena-like (think Lion King) guffaws. The kind that make everyone in the room stop what they are doing and just revel in the sound of it. The kind that is so infectious that you find people joining in even when they have no clue what the joke is. The ones that you can’t stop no matter how hard you are choking to breath. I think you have the picture.

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I’m the kind of person that people generally regard as an open book. Emotions play freely on my face, clearly displaying what mood I am in. I don’t even try very hard to hide them. I am also a pretty loud person with a matching loud personality. Apparently, when I am not in the office, my absence is keenly felt. So, for the last week or so, the laughs (or should I say chuckles) have been nondescript. Polite and ladylike. Almost mechanical and forced. It was a rough week after all.

Then today I laughed out loud. Honestly I cannot even remember what cracked me up, otherwise I would have shared. It probably wasn’t even very funny anyway. But for me, laughter is therapeutic. A kind of catharsis in a way. When I was done laughing and wiping the tears from my eyes, I felt good. Like really, really good. Like everything was well with the world. Like anything was possible. Like I could face any obstacle that dared to stand in my way. Like life was simply Magical.

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That’s what laughter, real genuine laughter does for me. It releases all the toxins in my spirit and just leaves me feeling cleansed. Definitely cheaper than a shrink I’d say!

Find something that makes you laugh every day. And I mean the real belly aching laugh not the fake smiles that don’t even reach your eyes. And spread the cheer around. The world certainly needs it.

LOL.       

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