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How I’m Learning It’s OK to Feel Anger

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Dear Anger,

Anger: a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.

Hello, Anger. I’ve been told you are useful — that somehow anger is productive and can be wielded for good. I see examples of this in the world, where anger is used to create amazing things. Righteous anger creates change, stirs up people’s emotions to promote action. But right now, I can’t see it. I am blinded by this feeling, and I dislike it. I don’t like you. I don’t like the way you feel. I don’t like the reason I feel this way.

Hello, Anger. As women, anger isn’t one of the “acceptable emotions.” We can express love, sadness or be happy, but anger is an emotion we must hide deep in our souls, never to be brought out. Even alone, it took being in the shower to get to the point where I cried in anger. I started to talk with you while doing my hair. I ruined my makeup twice today as I rage cried.

Hello, Anger. I’m sitting with you today, sharing my coffee. I’ve cried your tears today for an hour. I’ve yelled your words into the mirror. I’ve typed your phrases into messages, screaming for support from a friend who understood. I’m shaking, burning calories by the minute, like shivering, though it’s summer. I put my coffee in a travel mug, as I ruined a shirt already spilling my caffeinated lifeblood on it.

Hello, Anger. You make me feel vulnerable. I feel off-balance. I spent last night, yesterday and this morning really thinking about the events that led me to you. I checked my feelings and experiences to make sure I’m not totally off base and realized I have a right to be really angry. So, today, I’m going to be really angry. I woke up to several more reasons to be angry. I talked about this more and felt angrier. And maybe that’s just what I need to be.

Hello, Anger. As women, we do need to feel you. When people have done us wrong, we need to feel you. When we have been an emotional punching bag for someone else, we have a right to be angry. When we have been there for someone for years, and they choose to throw you under the bus because we ask them to be there for you, we have a right to be angry. This is OK. This is setting boundaries. We can be angry.

Hello, Anger. I became a punching bag yesterday for someone else to let loose on. It is taking everything in me not to hole up and just not be around anyone ever again. But I won’t. I can do this. I will have hope, despite their actions. I will feel your feelings deeply, I will rage. Then I will somehow move through it.

Hello, Anger. Welcome for now. I will sit with you at the table for a while. We will become friends. Then you will leave when I’ve learned what I need to from you.

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Thinkstock photo via lolostock

Originally published: November 2, 2017
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