I’m trying to get better at expressing my anger. Frankly, expressing it at all would be a step in the right direction. I’m cranky kind of a lot, which you might have noticed from my Twitter feed and blog and general bad attitude, but I’m rarely open about my anger toward people I know. (As opposed to celebrity abominations like Gwyneth Paltrow and Russell Brand.) I can count the number of friends I’ve yelled at on one hand, even though I’ve been pissed or at least mildly twitchy far more than that. I would need a freakish number of fingers to count those instances, probably.
I’m not saying this so you’ll suddenly worry that I’m mad at you on the DL. (How many of you actually went in that direction? I forget that everyone’s mind isn’t the paranoid sucktrap that mine is.) I’ll admit that I get angry pretty easily, but I get over it just as fast. And in that brief period of rage, it’s almost always internal. I’m big on expressing feelings, just not when they’re negative, which means I’ll let you know when I want to make out but not when I want to punch you in the face. (I am super nonviolent! Just typing that made me uncomfortable!)
There are benefits to not ripping people’s hair out, sure, but being not-at-all assertive is sort of a bad thing. I have had people say some really not nice things about me, and my general response is to shrug it of (read: quietly seethe) because that’s less scary than confrontation. It’s not a rational fear, like worrying that I’m going to get shanked for my insolence. I just don’t like the idea of fighting, of telling someone that he or she has hurt my feelings or otherwise made me stabby.
And part of it has to do, I’ll admit, with an intense desire to be liked by everyone. I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t like me—maybe some who actively disdain me!—but that’s basically out of my hands. For my part, I try to be nice to the people I do know, especially those who are more acquaintances or casual friends than BFF. By “being nice,” I mean being agreeable, not talking back, not getting too openly butthurt about things that bug me. Sometimes my version of “being nice” means being a doormat, and that’s the kind of behavior I want to move away from. I’m self-aware enough to know that my internal anger is misplaced, and that I can be overly sensitive about things that in the long-run really don’t matter. But I also know that some people are straight-up assholes and I let them get away with it.
Like I said, I’m more likely to raise my voice with my closest companions, mostly because I know they’re not going anywhere. Still, I’d prefer a bit more balance. I can actually be kind of a dick to my favorites, and some of that is just residual anger I refrained from using on more deserving parties. It’s like I am a flaky croissant and my anger is the sweet chocolate center: I want it to be evenly distributed. That’s a ridiculous metaphor—chocolate is delicious. Whatever, sometimes it gets on your teeth and looks stupid. Also, calories.
In case you were wondering, here are some things that make me angry on a broad scale: misogyny, homophobia, racism, ignorance, rudeness, apathy. Here are some things that make me angry more specifically: being called lazy, being called passive-aggressive (especially when I’m being passive-aggressive), not being taken seriously, criticism of other people’s bodies, most music reviews, slow drivers, jerk drivers, guys who don’t call back, pop culture pretension, Glee. Anyway, thanks for letting me share.