Something to Get Mad About

I hate being mad; which is a goddamn self-perpetuating cycle. I think it was the wise Master Yoda who said hate leads to anger—or maybe it was the other way around. This is why I hate being angry: I can’t think straight. If anger dulled my mind like drugs or sleep and put me in a state of blissful ignorance, then I might consider it as a possible option for a nice evening of rewinding—I could sit down and watch Entertainment News every night after dinner and get good and riled before settling down with a good book and a mug of hot tea. But it does not dull my mind in that way; instead it clouds my mind and energizes it at the same time, so my thoughts are forced to battle through a thick mist, thrashing around with no direction and little coherence. I am hoping that writing while angry (as I am right now) will focus my mind and clear the haze—or better yet, that it will lead me to create this completely original style of writing that encompasses an energy that I have never before been able to capture in words!

Quite probably, however, the writing will turn out to be mediocre—due to the lack of coherent ideas going into it—and I will emerge just as blindly angry as before, perhaps even more so. No, even typing that felt like a lie. I am no pessimist, and I certainly am conceited—so much so that I truly believe that each time I begin to write I am creating something that will be wonderful and beautiful. (Or at least irreverent and readable). I’ve written extensively—scratch that, I’ve thought extensively and written sporadically—on the pro’s and con’s of being so conceited, and I do believe in this case that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks: that my inflated self-confidence improves my writing much more than the opposite and unfortunate effects that are wreaked on it by my inability to accept criticism.

Well, that worked. My anger has simmered down to a dull grumbling discomfort. Thanks, writing, for clearing out my head by opening up the flood gates, letting out thoughts, words, half-formed ideas, and murky haze all at once. My brain is now delightfully empty, clearer than the mind of a meditating monk.

I do miss the energy of anger, though: that whirring in the mind and burning in the chest that makes you impulsive and physical. As a peaceful person I find it fascinating to be pushed to an aggressive state of mind that resorts to violence. I do not believe violence is (hardly) ever the answer, but simply is the natural reaction of many people who are unable to harness their anger and aggression in any other way. A calm demeanor and a level head should not prohibit someone from getting angry, but it should disallow that person from becoming violent. Instead, when rage burns hot through every vein in your body, the cool and collected individual will simply channel that energy up to his or her mind, clearing it of the initial obscurity of anger and using it to act with greater prudence and more efficiency than any violent action. Probably good boxers do that. Unfortunately, most dictators do the same.

If I am to be that person (not a dictator, or a boxer…per se) I must make two changes. The first is simple: I need to get angrier; not necessarily to be angry more often, but to fully give in to the feelings of fury when they fall upon me and to reach hitherto unseen levels of anger, thus ushering in correspondingly greater levels of energy and passion. The second, then, is to learn to control that passion and utilize it in a positive way. If I achieve only the first step, it will be more accurately like a step backward: instead of the calm and content person I am now I will simply be another hothead. But if I am able to harness this new energy source for good, my productivity will reach new levels. When I am doing poorly or failing, instead of starting to despair I will get angry, thereby gathering a new store of energy and a distinct perspective with which to employ it. Angry Me will be the Finisher; the Decider; the Weapon of Last Resort. Angry Me will be like the Hulk without the bulging green muscles and purple shorts (yes there is more to him than that, you shallow ingrate!)

I am a happy person and thoroughly enjoy being that way, but it is both ignorant and unhealthy to believe that I will never be affected by emotions of anger (or sadness—the same could be said for sadness), and it is foolish to allow those states to be a hindrance rather than a positive opportunity. Far better would be to channel that emotion into productive activity. If I was a bigger person I would become a boxer. As it is, I will just have to settle with being an angry essayist, and hoping that the energy I direct into my writing turns into words as sharp as Ali’s southpaw jabs. If not…well then, I guess I will get pretty angry.

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