There are times when I feel angry. Not just aggravated or a little pissed off, but full on angry. In the past I couldn’t distinguish the difference between myself and the anger monster.
Everything would make me feel anger. I discovered that my anger was wound up in past choices, family troubles, relationship woes, job/ money worries, and pure existential drama. I identified with my “problems” so much that I became them.
Over the years I’ve developed a few strategies to deal with anger. Deep breaths, walking, yoga, art and music help to make the angry, self-loathing thoughts shrink down to nothing.
Now with all that being said there are still days that “the monster” comes back. My mood shifts quick like a switch and I’m drowning in my head from an upsurge of boiling anger.
Not long ago, my anger boiled up in me so much that I snatched one of my wood paintings from its storage crate and stormed outside with it.
I looked around in a quick, frustrated motion. Then I remembered the very heavy stone that helps block the drain from getting clogged.
I propped the painting up across the small drain then I grappled with the heavy stone, lifting like my life depended on it. I had both arms around the stone, lifted with my legs, then dropped the stone onto the wood painting.
With a very loud bang the painting broke and shattered into multiple pieces. I looked at the multi-color wood splintered by madness. I stared for a few seconds when I realized that the neighbors might have seen me and that my anger was now on full display, which can cause a guilty feeling. Then I suddenly didn’t care, took some deep breaths and got back to center.
Somehow the destruction of my own art was a huge release. I’ve thought about smashing my art before. Sometimes when anger rises I think about crashing rooms ‘Citizen Kane’ style, but I know that is not good or helpful. Smashing art might not be good or helpful either, but that day it seemed to help in a quick fix sort of way.
I’d much rather make art than destroy it, but both processes are strongly connected. Destruction holds creation whether we smash guitars or plant flowers. Learning to respect it all is important to me. Being able to balance and regulate emotions is the key to controlling anger.