It is rare that I ever get truly angry. I might get annoyed, peeved or mildly incensed but I don’t usually throw tantrums or plan out complicated vendettas in my free time. I got that out of my system when I was a kid. I was more of a whiner. My Dad had a “No Whining” sign on his mirror and would remind me regularly of what I wasn’t supposed to do. I think I was supposed to pay him a dollar every time I did. As a teenager I would yell a little bit and slam doors. My mother’s favorite thing to say about our dog was that he was better than a child because he would never slam the door in your face and yell “fuck you.” I don’t think I ever yelled that at her. I probably whispered “bitch” instead. I was much more of a sulker. I would sit in my room and write in my journal to deal with my overwhelming angst. That and listen to musicians who probably played at the Lilith Fair.
As an adult, I doubt that people would call me a mellow person or laid back but I am not easily rattled. I have been described as tightly wound but it isn’t in a manic, she might go off the rails at any moment, way. A change in minor plans won’t ruin my day or send me into a tailspin. I like things to be scheduled and orderly but I am happy to reschedule dinner or find a new restaurant without losing the plot.
When I do get angry, while I understand where the saying seeing red comes from, that isn’t exactly what happens to me. Instead, everything goes really bright, almost like the onset of a migraine or right before a fainting spell and then something comes loose inside of me. Words that aren’t normally in my vocabulary come flying out of my mouth or show up in text messages and emails. I swear at inanimate objects and every little thing adds to my foul mood. I think there is a meme that says something like, “Why is the floor on the floor!?!” and that fits my headspace perfectly. At this point you are probably wondering what fires me up to the point of swearing uncontrollably and yelling at the floor. Two words – My Family. I think I have written about the dynamic of being an only child before. It is usually pretty good, until it isn’t. Being put in the middle of family drama that shouldn’t concern you is infuriating. Last week I was so angry that it felt like I should be burning calories. A good thing after my enormous Mexican dinner. I also get pretty heated about injustice but that is an entirely different type of angry. I am much more productive with that anger. Family stuff makes me revert to the sulky teenager who can’t put her feelings into words and bottles it up until it has to come out. Hence the expletives and frustration with inanimate objects. It is amazing how our parents can say or do something that propels us back to being 13 and irrational. The logic and levelheadedness flies right out the window along with any maturity. I usually burst into tears as well which is always fun when you are in a public place. For me, it is usually Starbucks. At least I have people there who know me so it doesn’t look like a complete melt down of a crazy person. Well, maybe a little.
I guess the hardest part about being angry with parents is that we expect them to act like adults, not to make selfish decisions without thinking about the repercussions. When we were kids, they were the responsible ones who were supposed to make well-thought out choices and show us how to behave. When they don’t and are just as human as any of us, it feels like even more of a slight. I can’t believe it took them this long to tell me that Santa and the Easter Bunny aren’t real.