Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Count till ten

I was born with the anger gene. Family fable had it that the malady ran in the family, traceable back several generations, the famed Sangha fury! My grandfather was a teetotaler but had blood shot eyes; dander, they explained it. And even though Dad enjoyed his drink, he exhibited that very same irascible look. My brother should have rightfully inherited this family talent for pique, but by default, we both came into possession of the congenital skill of abrasion.

So there I have been, all these years, angry and ashamed of harbouring this supposedly masculine trait. To make it worse, there was my sugar sweet sister, cool as a cucumber, sailing through life on the wheelies of giggles. It was yours truly who bore the brunt of an extended family deliberation, on this unwholesome predisposition to rage.

Why? What for, they said. I must exercise control. Girls should not lose their cool, it is not pretty. Temper is not good. Count till ten!

None of this worked. I stayed angry.

People being judgemental annoyed me. Insensitive remarks on personal appearances would set me off like an acetylene torch. Preaching pundits really lit my short fuse. I would go off like a string of crackers at a perceived lie, a missed appointment or an apparent lack of will. There was consistent umbrage at what did not seem right or fair or just or kind!

The losses were bound to pile up. And no matter how hard I tried, I found it very difficult to accept the social judgement and criticism of my impatience. With time, the furnace mellowed somewhat, it had to! There was immense pressure to keep the smiling mask in place, all the while. Things came to such a pass that I began to feel like an oven in the cool off mode, embers still aglow considering I still pulled off the murderous look, to say the least. True to the associated, societal form and norm, I let my expectations hit rock bottom  hoping I would stay unmoved and cold but the visage slipped with no warning occasionally; the effect visible on the other person’s startled face. 

Truth be told, no matter how unfair a treatment I have been meted out because of my wrath, I am a great believer in hitting the button, in letting the handle fly, in going ballistic once in a while. Anger is the single most derided, devalued and berated human emotion. It deserves a lot better because it has great uses. I stand firmly by what bothers and vexes. I would in fact, go so far as to say that I have trouble trusting people whom nothing makes angry.

Anger is good. Anger is nature’s way of protecting existence. It is the adrenaline rush, critical to our survival. It is the red light that warns something needs correcting. 

I am at long last, learning to be at peace with my anger. I am beginning to use it to make changes in my life. I believe I need to preserve the integrity of self with a disciplined and compassionate use of peeve.

Befriend your anger, therefore. It is the angry who will change the shape of things to come. It is not the cool and collected but the hot and bothered who shall inherit the earth!

No comments: