She came out of nowhere. A streak of red just entered my peripheral vision. The truck she drove was hurtling down the highway and pushing me out of my lane. I slammed on the brakes to avoid the impending collision. They say the frontal cortex goes dark when you are angry.
This woman, so unconcerned with the safety of others or herself, so inconsiderate that she cannot even bother to use her blinker as she cuts me off. I found myself so angry by what I feel like she did to me. How she disrespected me, how she put me and my daughter in harms way, my mind raced and the anger grew and the brain darkened. The next thing I know I was screaming through the windshield as if she could hear me. I cursed her name and shook my fist in her direction.
I was enraged, my heart was pounding, my palms were sweating, I could feel my skin getting hot so I know my face was bright red. In my fit of anger I broke the windshield. It was already cracked and needed to be replaced, but the thing is it was the windshield splintering into that crazy spiderweb that snapped me out of it. I saw damage from my actions and it was like a flip of a switch, I was coming down from my rage binge. Anger is my worst nemesis, I struggle to control it daily.
Today I bought my daughter a kids meal from KFC, it comes with a Capri Sun to drink. Have you ever tried to put a Capri sun straw in with greasy fingers? Even the little things set me off. I know that’s what napkins are for, or maybe I should put the straw in for her before I start eating. That’s not how anger works though. It’s a knee jerk reaction.
There is nothing rational about anger. While your angry you might be trying to rationalize what you are doing in your head, but if you’re honest with yourself you know that you are wrong. Punching holes in walls, breaking windshields, destroying everything in your path, that’s uncontrolled rage. It isn’t anything to be proud of.
It’s embarrassing and sad. It’s a mental thing. What does it stem from? I don’t know. I was taught from a young age that violence is an answer. Is that bully bothering you? Well kick his ass! Fight back, don’t let anybody push you around. When I finally took that advice the bullying stopped.
I was applauded and rewarded for finally beating up the tormentor. Is this the lesson I was supposed to learn? To fight fire with fire? To retaliate to injustices with violence? These are the lessons that I have learned. My skills at being angry and violent were further honed in the Marine Corps.
All my life, I was pushed towards the side of anger. Now that I am a grown man and on my own in the world this propensity towards anger is frowned upon. So I have to unlearn everything I was taught. Violent rage is not the answer. I am not the Incredible Hulk, or the little skinny kid with pimples, a bad haircut, and thick glasses. I am an adult in contemporary society.
I am a role model for my children, and a person who wishes to contribute positive things to this world. I have to realize that anger is not the answer. I have to practice being calm. I have to practice slowing down my thought process. My blood boils, I need to learn to control that heat. How?