I wrote this post last summer when I was really angry, I was completely fired up, I was also hurt and sad which added together is not a healthy combination. I have gotten to a really good place and though I am human and get angry periodically I am trying really hard not to let the opinions of people that do not matter affect my life at all. I am publishing this post now and dedicating it to one of my best friends, Natasha, who was hacked on the weekend and a private photo of her was uploaded to her Facebook story. The moment I discovered it I was in a panic, I couldn’t decide whether to message her or call her and I was shaking. I started to imagine how she was going to feel when I told her and one of my first thoughts was “that could be me”
I read a post the other day that says sympathy is easy, we can have sympathy for starving children swatting away flies on late night infomercials because that comes from a position of power. Empathy is a little bit uncomfortable, empathy is getting down on your knees and looking someone else in the eye, and realizing that you could be them, and all that separates you is luck.
That is an eye opener. Love, compassion and empathy are things that the world desperately needs but often it is anger, fear and self righteousness that is projected instead. When we are angry we should use that feeling as a catalyst for change, if we hold unto it for too long we begin to pass that pain unto others and our world has enough pain.
My friend and I spent many hours on the phone cycling through all of the emotions together, luckily we even found some laughter. Not shockingly, there were some bullies that showed up to shit talk on the internet, completely forgetting about the skeletons that are not so neatly packed into their closets that could fall out at any moment. We had that moment of disbelief thinking, is this where we are all these years later, grown ups raising our own children and still kicking people when they are down. It made me angry and ashamed but mostly sad and then I thought what kind of shit are they holding onto that they constantly hurl it at others.
It made me do a lot of thinking about the small group of people that I am incredibly blessed to call my friends. People that are imperfect, flawed, beautifully real and I love their damn guts. These are the people that when I hurt they get down on their knees and extend their hand, they do not stand on my back and they do not kick me when I am down.
If I can encourage you to do one thing today it would be to let go of toxic anger and resentment and fill yourself with gratitude for the amazing people that connect with you from a place of love and compassion and have a little empathy for people and situations instead of immediately judging them.
Today I hate you.
The anger has rolled in and it is like a fire in my belly and if unleashed I swear it could take out the entire universe.
Anger is bad right?
I know what you are thinking, that I have reached the angry stage of grief and I am angry at Kirk. Angry that he left us behind, angry for all the crap we have to deal with, angry that all of our plans for the future are no more, angry for all the love we have to give but can’t!
I am not angry at Kirk, I am angry for Kirk and I am angry for me and my children and for every other person that suffers depression and cannot find the peace they deserve and for their families that suffer right along with them. I am also angry at the bankrupt morality of people who choose to pass their pain around and wreak havoc among those already suffering with your tactless gossip, poor judgement and bullshit opinions. FUCK YOU for perpetuating the stigmas surrounding mental illness. Fuck you and your superior, holier than though attitude. FUCK YOU for hurting others to avoid your own suffering. FUCK You for projecting your agony, your discomfort and your ignorance on loved ones when they are lost in grief.
It is very common when people are grieving, especially in tragic deaths; to assign blame, make assumptions and from what I am told from others that have experienced these sorts of things is that sometimes the people that you would least expect make complete asses out of themselves. It is troubling and can cause those grieving a great deal of added stress that they do not need. Anger is an emotion we all feel. It is the body’s reaction to loss or hurt or the threat of loss or hurt. When we carry around anger we risk feeling the damaging effects of resentment but we should find healthy outlets for releasing our anger that do not include redirecting hostility towards others.
Over the years I have worked hard to become a different person, to become less judgmental and more loving and accepting. Kirk taught me a lot about loving more and judging less. He had a big open heart like our sweet old dog Rocky. However, without question the most important thing in his life was his family and if you hurt his family you were not worth his mercy. But alas, the soul rejoices in learning the lessons it already knows, and my soul knows that forgiveness is essential to moving forward. Assigning blame is for weak people and I am inherently strong.
Mercy is our salvation in life and I know more than anyone that to offer someone forgiveness is something that we do for ourselves. It doesn’t absolve the wrongdoer of their ghastly deeds but it does absolve us of carrying around stormy indignation and resentment for the rest of our lives. Anger, when used properly can be a positive and motivating emotion; but anger in the wrong hands can be dangerous. So here I am with a belly full of fierce and vehement anger, albeit justified, but what do I do with it? Do I shove it into that dark corner where we are taught to shove our pain and anger and put on a fake smile or do I find some way to use this anger constructively, to be motivated by it?
For the last several weeks this anger has messed with me, starting out as a bonfire in my belly until it raged into a beast I didn’t think I could control. I thought of how I would respond to any of the advice that I would give to a friend facing this sort of anger and I decided that whatever guidance or encouragement that I would have offered in a similar situation was actually shitty real world advice.
Realistically I know that it doesn’t matter. Why does the opinion of a couple people matter? The old saying “Those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind “, has ran through my head on repeat countless times, and if it was a thing instead of a phrase I would have delighted in crushing it with a sledgehammer. Then I reminded myself that there are about 7 billion people in the world, I certainly cannot count that high. No matter who I am, no matter what I do, no matter how fantastic or shitty I am, no matter what I hold in my heart, no matter what I believe and what I choose to stand for, some of those 7 billion people will not like me, some of those people will actually hate me, but the monumental, massive majority will never, ever know or care that I am even alive.
Well that made me feel better for about two minutes.
Then I plotted revenge. When it has been weeks and anger still rages in you what is better than revenge? Revenge can be fun when you plot it in your head, mine always involves my enemies being publicly humiliated and I hope someone videotapes it and I cross my fingers that it goes viral.
Then the good angel on my shoulder reminds me that revenge would be passing my pain around like a hot potato (thanks Glennon Doyle Melton) for that analogy. The good angel is yappy and she also reminds me about my late husband’s philosophy of love more and judge less. FUCK!! Does that really have to apply here?
Maybe the people that pass their hurt around are hurting really bad too and I should judge a little less and be loving and kind. Maturity really sucks.
Now I am reminded of all of those conversations Kirk and I have had with our kids over the years about how to handle it when someone hurts you. How we told them that the way someone treats them is not a reflection on them but a reflection of the person who treated them badly. Sometimes when people say mean things to you or about you; you can actually picture them looking in a mirror and saying those things directly to their own reflection. A well adjusted, happy, guiltless, blameless person would not reach out to project pain upon another. Often we are the victims of our own pain, fears, regrets and insecurities.
It is here that I hear the voice of our firecracker daughter Morgan in my ear “Well that doesn’t make it right!”
“No Morgan it does not make it right, but it doesn’t have to be our problem.”
When the girls were little and they had a bad day I would have them write down on a piece of paper all of the things that happened that sucked and we would read it together, chat about it and then crumple the paper up and throw it away. We had then acknowledged it, accepted it and put it out of our energy.
I know that this is one of those times that I need to let the shit go. It is head trash. People need to be responsible for taking out their own garbage and not dumping it on others.
Now that I have said FUCK YOU several times I feel a bit better because curse words are fabulous conveyors of pent up emotion.
Now I will say “I forgive you”
I forgive you for me.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
― Mark Twain