Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Anger Thoughts - pt 2

Such a wonderfully powerful tool, even when not in actual use!

I was at my bi-annual workshop back in October when the subject of anger came up again. This is an oft occurring theme among us, even, maybe especially, those who suffer from lack thereof.

Repression is the word of the day.

One of the participants made a statement to the effect that anger was never seen as a good thing. From the typical, if there is such a thing, female’s perspective anger should be quelled and bottled at all costs being the ugly that it is.

I’m not sure I agreed with either his statement, or the so-called ugliness of anger. Nevertheless, as is customary in these workshops, I respected his opinion and internalized it for myself, with the above caveat and I made a placeholder to revisit the opinion.

A few hours later I was working on my issues with the group a cornerstone of which is anger, as usual. Now one must understand that I’m a bona fide expert on anger, under all its forms and notions, and especially using it for a given purpose. But also, I’m no slouch at bottling it up, corking it solidly as it were. I’m really good at seething too.

So here I am, in a quandary about my emotional content, being angry, also as usual. Bill, my therapist’s method usually goes into one of two parallel directions: let the anger speak – what does it have to say? And the other is to take exception to a cushion and just scream.

Both are methods to work the anger out in a controlled manner, and un-injurious at that. The idea is to let it out so that other emotions and materials can come out from beneath the anger, in essence come out of hiding into the light.

The process is one I know well. So once again, in the spirit of the workshop, I handed the reigns over to Bill and the Group.

Usually, most of the upfront discovery work is done with Bill, one on one. Sometimes someone from the group will jump in with some heartfelt perspective and help move things along.

After the first phase of discovery is done, there’s usually some emotions related work to be done, sometimes it’s acceptance, maybe forgiveness, other times it’s new insight, the list goes on. The work is as varied as there are individuals. There are some canned methods which are almost always effective too. Bill does run a good workshop.

In this case though, the discovery portion, read anger, was interrupted by one of the members. Can anyone guess who that was?

As if on cue, and to prove my comrade's statement, a lovely but somewhat misguided woman jumps in and says words to the effect that: anger is toxic and that I should just delete it!

Oh wow.

This was a perfect, absolutely perfect escape hatch for me. I knew I was being coy, but the things I knew were coming up were going to be very painful for me. And here was a group member offering feedback that I should nuke the very anger that I was conjuring up to make way for that deeper emotion.

How quickly I shut down is a matter of record for the ages. Saying that I shut down the anger within mere seconds is actually allotting a lot of time. I’m thinking fraction of a second maybe.

Remember, I’m an expert with anger now aren’t I?

My lovely lady was very well pleased. And who am I to refuse a lady.

Bill was shaking his head, almost dejected.

My best mate just had his head down and smiled knowingly, if sadly – he knew exactly what had just happened.

I did remain with the process, but the moment was lost. My emotional content was safely protected, locked away, beneath the now bottled up anger which wasn’t going anywhere. A siege.

Her feedback was spot on, but her timing really sucked.

Had she afforded this feedback but fifteen minutes later, the real issue I was trying to work out would have been out in the light. So her feedback would have been correct inasmuch as anger would have finished serving its purpose.

And heck, I’m not even angry that I blew 250$ worth of therapy that day.

However the lesson I carry away is that even if it is scary, one must let anger work itself out, or “speak”, otherwise, one just keeps hiding behind this most potent of tools.

Mustn’t be careless and careening all over with it, but by god, let it speak.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stress Lines

I’m impressed that I even have the password to my blog anymore. My last post dates back to end of June, thankfully of this year, of Our Lord 2008.

I’m not yet ready to expound on the whys, whereas and whatfors of my latest spell of silence, not just yet.

Nevertheless, something is afoot that is increasingly upsetting me. I've talked about this somewhat before, but hope to bring another perspective.

Every day I’ve been thinking about “the line” again, or more specifically where to draw it, or not, as the case may be. It’s a plague really.

I bring forth first (try saying that three times fast!):

Liz Hurley is getting raked over the coals for her support of baby-mink fur coats by PETA. To quote the PETA people (try that 3 times fast too!): “fantastic faux furs (try that 3x *smiles*)available there is no excuse for the wearing of real fur” See the Starpulse article here.

One could argue for either side. Me, personally, I ate the cow that I wear, to wit my leather jacket causes me no qualms whatsoever inasmuch the animal it came from was thoroughly used up. I also drink milk if anyone cares.

Back to PETA; just to get their goat, so to speak, I think I’ll send their quote to Greenpeace. Faux-fur is made of nylon and derivatives and other hazardous materials. Yes folks, that’s fossil fuels being used and transformed instead of something more rudimentary and thereby more natural.


Now I give you: perfumes in the workplace. Many places interdict the use of perfumes or any scents for the comfort of others, nay even allergies. Ok, not too much of an argument there, I suppose. But shouldn’t that extend to the stench often associated with co-workers who smoke? Even if they do so outside, the smell impregnates clothes and they do bring that back into the workplace. Arguably, this is worse than a nice sweet shade of Impulse™. By the way, I’m not taking about the vamps who bathe in buckets of $7.95/gallon on-sale eau-de-skunk. That would be where I draw my line.

NofA: Do they even make that Impulse stuff anymore? I knew a few girls in CEGEP who wore that positively intoxicating product. Delicious… but I digress.

We cannot force smokers to stop smoking, this would be infringing on their rights. Yet we don’t give a second thought to the miss or mister, who wants to shore up their self-image by sprucing themselves up! Psychology be damned, the physical well-being of one trumps the psychological well-being of the other.


Let’s take it one step further.

On the radio this morning, they were waxing poetic about real Christmas trees being better overall than their unrecyclable and non-biodegradable artificial counterparts. In case you were paying attention, this is the very counter argument to PETA. Mind you, there is still the open sore about killing cute furry animals, whereas nobody gives a rat’s ass about killing a pine-tree, except maybe Greenpeace.

In reality, do we even need Christmas trees or even Christmas cheer at all?

During the great Canadian ice-storm over a decade ago now, people were enjoined to turn off their Christmas lights out of respect to those who didn’t yet have electricity restored. What the fuck difference did that make? The juice wasn’t getting to them have-nots because the lines were down and out, not because the power-plants were running low on power, for chrisssakes.

But the media played it up for what it was worth: the misery of one, should trump the cheer of the other.


Sure it’s a bunch of small things, Christmas trees and lights, a perfume, a warm and good-looking fur coat, even smoking, the list goes on. I’ve mentioned before, it’s the relentless accumulation of small things that make life either worth living, or the banishment of more and more of them that make life a living hell.

I’m thinking that the bottom line is: there is entirely too much stooping to the lowest miserable denominator.

Let’s take smoking in effigy again. There’s a case for smokers putting an additional health-cost related burden on society, namely cancer. Sure on the face of it this would stand alone on a business case.

What about the psychological gambit? Smoking does calm the nerves, there is no doubt of this. The drugs in cigarettes have this effect. By extension would it not behove us to ban coffee, an accelerant, instead? Maybe by doing so there would be less cases of road rage in rush-hour traffic? Less people killed or maimed on the roads? Not to mention the inadvertant spillage onto one's lap self-inflicting grievous bodily harm. Ban coffee, anyone?

What if, every morning, before getting in our cars, we skipped coffee, had a smoke, relaxed a little and only then went into work... Think about it. Smoking doesn’t seem so bad now does it?


My dad told me once, long ago, there where would always be people around in life whose sole purpose is to bring you down. I didn’t know what it meant at the time, since I was a kid with no life-experience. I look back on it now, and I realize this to be true. Maybe not on a personal level, indeed while I try not to take it personally, I become extremely wary of anyone who starts a serious statement with: “there should be a law against…” or a second favourite, “this should be banned…” or the third “someone should do something to stop…”

I’m not saying this is always wrong, I’m just saying it’s too often the first statement in levelling from the bottom and with myopic or even no regard at all for the accumulation of the consequences.

I have nightmares of brown-cotton dressed, stoic, cold people being herded onto busses, and that people is us!

Can’t do perfume or makeup, can’t do dye in any fabric, can’t do coffee or smoking, nor joking nor any talking as it disturbs the next person, can’t put up Christmas lights nor trees inasmuch as it disturbs religious sensibilities, not to mention energy consumption. And by religious I don’t mean just the obvious, I’m talking about environment dogma as well!

I’ve used a few completely disparate examples here to, I hope, demonstrate that drawing a line is never so simple as a single thing. Think accumulation and I will show you accumulated frustration.

Still don’t believe me?

Let me draw a simple image: if you are a Christian smoker who wears perfume or scented aftershave and an animal-skin coat you are currently getting your ass banned on all fronts and from all quarters!


Yeah, it’s all getting to stick in my craw something fierce.