Saturday, April 12, 2008

My head is reeling

I was having a glass of wine on the front step last night with Zoe and mentioned the ball of anger that sits in my chest like a permanent fixture. It swells and subsides, but it's always present, has been for most of my life. It's waiting. I can see it erupting later, when I'm not so committed to having a productive life.

But there's days when it sits in my throat, like this morning while reading the papers, and this afternoon when I tried to sew bookblocks whilst listening to Radio Eye. It was an hour of stories about abuse to women of various forms (honour killings, sexual abuse). I'm so angry, and I don't know what to do with it.

I'm going to a dinner party tonight. Best Beloved is catering it as an Indian Feast, his wedding present to a couple of good friends. I've cooked some of the food, and I'm meant to be dressing in my Indian gear and contributing to the feast by serving the food. I'm scared I'm in the wrong mood. I don't know if I can be jolly, let alone even civil.

What do you do with a throbbing ball of anger?

I am full of questions, and the overwhelming one is this:
How can anyone think that a woman escaping an abusive marriage is a worse shame to a family than the shame of a community knowing that you are a family that kills a family member?

I have to breathe deep. I need some equilibrium.

PS. My ball of anger is, I think, why I love Helen Garner. I relate to her angriness. I loved her novel. It's not for everyone, but it was a good couple of hours for me.


fifi said...

Best harness the ball of anger and try turn it into things. That's what I do.

I have lifelong rage also, sometimes it prevents me breathing. I went to smell the salt air last week and found my chest so contracted that I couldn't draw it in. But I think it's important to feel it. Collectively, sometimes, the world needs us angry gals.

Or drown it with a glass of red for the evening, at least blur its edges.
The party will put you in a better mood...

You are both every sweet people to be making a feast for your friends.

Bernice said...

I get cranky when told "oh you're so angry...." about whatever I have been horrified by. My question is:
" What the fuck is wrong with you if you aren't fucking angry!!!?"

I listened to an academic who translates Chinese lit among other things, speak of NEVER having experienced sadness. Slightly less astonishing than those who "don't do anger". Oh pleeeaasseeee....

(enjoy the meal - it'll certainly be better than what I have cooked...sigh)

genevieve said...

Hmmm, this is timely.
I have been using exercise more recently than I ever have in my life. So if you hear I've died on the crosstrainer.....

It does help, though. (But hey, it could kill me.)
I'm really annoyed with Kate Legge for overdoing the 'angry' side of HG in her profile last weekend. Half the trouble with most people is that they are not assertive enough. Which is why they find any honesty about negative feelings so annihilating - it's not something they've factored into life, so why is it still there? Doh.

Thanks for this, it's a comfort. I've just received a rather poorly written email from a friend regarding something I'm hopping mad about as a 'disappointment'. Not quite sure how to respond, but just to be reassured that others get angry too is a big help right now.
Sometimes just getting a chance to vent at a happy event like your dinner can give you a bit of breathing space too.
Thanks, Duck. For now, I'm only going to maintain the rage about the things I can change, and pray for the wisdom to accept those I can't. Or at least sequester them!

Anonymous said...

oh wow, this really helps to know there are others out there with their own balls of anger!

I was recently told that it was "not normal" to get so angry about these kind of things and that I "shouldn't take it so personally". My particular trigger at the time was not an ABC program about violence against women, although it often is, but an MTV show on the trend of spending millions of dollars on 16 yos birthday parties, when we live in a world where people are dying of hunger and are homeless etc and yet we grow enough food to feed everyone several times over.

My reaction was the same as Bernice's: "how can you NOT think that stuff like this is personal? It's about our world that we live in, the values we are teaching our children, the kind of attitudes and behaviour that the next generation of world leaders are learning. What is NOT personal about that? Why are you NOT angry about this?"

Hmmm. I think the anger is a good thing, and I think it does provoke us into doing a good deal of great things (throughout generations the man who said "there's no point getting angry about it as there is nothing you can do" is regretting he ever said that). The people who have channeled their similar anger into productive action are what continue to motivate me to believe that my anger is OK - they're my motivation for worrying less about the existence of the ball and more about what to do to direct its energy into doing more than sending me to an early grave.

I say maintain the rage! (But temper it with a nice glass of wine and some deep breathing)

kim at allconsuming said...

That would be the same ball of anger I call the ball of fire that lives permanently in my chest and occasionally (far more regularly than I wish it did) comes raging out my mouth.

When with adult company that I'm not related to and who I want to think well of me, I turn it around in discussion - so instead of 'this made me so mad' I turn it to 'this made me so sad' or words to that affect - as people seem less scared of sad than mad - and then once into the conversation, when I've trapped them in my lair, I reveal not only did it make me sad, it made me mad as all fucking hell.

Pen said...

I'm exhausted with not being angry. I miss expressing anger at the world.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

well, you see, you get in touch with ForBattle and we lend you the Flaming Sword of Righteousness...

but aside from that -

be cranky,
do something which you will find mentally satisfying,
know that you're a com/passionate person capable of the full range of human emotion. and so be it. and fuck those who think you shouldn't.

chosha said...

I agree with several of the comments...some things are worth being angry about. Anger is an appropriate response to them. But anger held like that with nowhere to go can be so damaging and for that reason I'm glad you're finding ways to release it. Where there is no way to channel the anger into action, you need to release it just to keep some sanity and perspective.