It is only anger. It’ll go. But it might wilt worlds before it does.
Generations have come and gone, brandishing their awareness of the magnitude of its wrath. But anger keeps claiming its booty. And with time, its victims seem keener to please it.
My problem with anger is that it plays hide and seek with me. Really. It sneaks behind the beaded curtain I love so well. It knows the play of light against the crystal beads will distract me so much, I’ll forget to chase it. But it’s still there, isn’t it? Right behind the curtain, ready to come out and ravage. Leaving me at a pass where the crystal lights look dimmer, the anger’s presence a constant niggle.
I am not sure there is any other emotion that can boast of both explicit and implicit devastation, almost to the same degree. Anger can nibble at the edges of your quietude, even as its unmatched gall is getting ready to pour its bitter rum into that peaceful sponge. It will be devastating, of course. All of it.
All? Well, we’ve heard of constructive anger. And most of us have tried it, too. It feels good, I think. When you demonstrate your integrity with anger in a situation that warrants a little don’t-mess-with-me attitude, you make it constructive. Sadly, it usually only singes the tips of your hair; and that comes in handy just to cull the split ends, if there are any. It may be a win-win situation for you, but like all good things, it takes a large chunk of the drama out.
This emotion is meant to consume you, make you do and say things you’d never have tolerated from another, until you realise you’ve done it. By that time, anger is walking out of the beaded curtain, probably after having filled your home with the reek of its cigar. You could open the windows to let the stench curl out and choke the song birds, but it has a unique quality of lingering long.
Aristotle was a clever man, we’re told. This proves it – “Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way… that is not easy.”
So, in a way, this emotion is not meant to consume you, or make you do and say things you’d never have tolerated from another. You allow anger to pull you to places you’d rather deny existed only because you forget to count the extent of right required to get it right. Tough luck. To make matters worse, anger is usually considered to be the broken teapot you don’t display in your drawing room. The poor, clueless, fragile piece of porcelain languishes behind the thunderous music system, its atoms shuddering at the onslaught of the percussion in your Beethoven. And one day, it shatters.
Like all other things in this world, anger wilts under neglect. Or does it?
To be able to not feel anger would be like not having to shovel snow in winter. Not possible. The trick is to feel its subtle waves and give it a mature outlet before too much misdirection makes it emerge in a way that is not only hurtful for the person you direct it to, but magically makes you a guilty repeater of the same action in the future. And in all probability, it will come out stronger the next time. And then, neglect or not, the anger will continue to visit your home, it will turn your crystal beads opaque, and it will choke your song birds.