Anger: part III
Good morning from a quiet, slightly sleepy Devon
It's early — not as early as I normally sit down to write (cut yourself some slack, Ju) — and I'm sat here, as always, coffee poured (c/o The Freshwater Coffee House on the Isle of Wight — thanks Stefan and the team) — and listening to the below-album from Bandcamp.
Ah, good ol' sleep.
Fitful at best; at one point, I lay awake thinking...just thinking about life.
Don't ask me why but I had this verse running across my tired eyes:
“If you're reading this...
Congratulations, you're alive.
If that's not something to smile about, then I don't know what is.”
― Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head
And then, with a bump, I was brought down to earth, thinking about the years I'd wasted fighting other people...and myself.
I should just say, before I continue, I recognise that, right now, these posts — or at least the latest few — have a slightly existential bias to them. I'm sorry that's the case; I'm quite sure you don't need to know so much about me but then again, I'm fed up writing (at least for the moment) in an oblique way (it shows up mostly where I write in the third person and I don't evidence what I'm saying). At least with me weaving the story of 'me' around the point I'm trying to make, you might get a sense of how it's showed up in my life.
But then again, you might think: "I don't give a flying f*ck about this guy". Either way, I'm fine. Indeed, if you find that I'm simply boring you to death then you can unfollow me here — a few have done so — or send me a direct message and wherever I'm sharing these posts, I'll try to keep things out your line of sight.
Anyhow, back to anger.
I say part III because I've been here before — both in my writing and how it shows up in the world.
Looking back on all the episodes where I've seriously lost the plot or have allowed anger to be the rocket fuel of my desire, I can see now that I never, and I mean never, stopped either to quell the fire or look at the underlying narrative. Better still, to simply (I wish!) go for a long, silent walk in nature or something similar to calm the feck down.
And trust me, for all the good I thought anger was doing me at the time — e.g. driving me on to leave home aged 19 and starting a business in London, starting a law degree and wanting to win in sport and work at all cost — it, more than anything else, corrupted my soul.
What do I mean?
I mean, it robbed me of my humanness.
Now I realise that's a cop out, but when I'm not lost in my head, I'm seriously a very different person.
Of course, that's my judgment — others may have a different view — but absent anger, even a smidgen thereof, I genuinely feel connected to a deeper, more meaningful source. What that is, well that can wait for another post; but when I refer to dialing in the Gods — particularly on the creative front — I'm not saying it for effect. I genuinely feel that my power to write etc, is being gifted me from a higher source. Sadly, and I mean this with all my heart, when anger comes on stage, there is no muse etc that shows up, it's just some gnarly, grumpy old bastard who thinks he's got a point to prove.
Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself. But then again, despite all the stories I've relied upon to convince myself that the odd outburst wasn't that bad, I can see now, across the space of nearly 53 years, that I've burned up a hell of a lot of my life and missed so very much.
Again, what do I mean?
I mean, anger has ensured that I've gone at things one million miles an hour and never been present. I've never even thought to slow down. I suppose that's why my hospitalisation in March 2010 was even more profound not because I suddenly realised I was human, but I stopped running and could feel what it meant to live life slowly, reverently and in touch with all my senses and not just the red-hot line of anger that had propelled me to that point in my life.
And so, if this forced period of isolation is doing anything for me, it's making me reevaluate again all those tired, worn-out stories that I've so long relied on. To be honest, I can't say that I've licked anger into shape or I'm now its master. No. It's a constant threat in my life, and it doesn't take much to knock me off my solemn little perch and I let fly with a few expletives etc. I did for a while question if this trait, which I can see in both my parents, was genetic. Don't laugh. But I didn't cleave to that story for long. My anger is my anger. And I need to own it.
One last thing. I'm convinced that one of the reasons for me constantly prattling on about wanting to live in hermitage is not just to be alone but also to sit with my anger and deal with it or, better still, to not be in a position where it's likely to arise.
Does that mean I don't like or am not comfortable around people? That's a good question. What did Bukowski's character say in the film Barfly?
“Do you hate people?”
“I don't hate them...I just feel better when they're not around.”
It would be awful to say the same but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to feeling quite low sometimes about certain social situations but that's just how it is.
Summerhayes, I knew you were a misanthrope after all.
You're probably right, but then again I long for the day, and I've said this to my wife many times, where, in the company of others, I can be 100% myself without having to play the game. In my case, I end up acting the fool, cracking jokes or being the centre of attention but actually all it's doing is masking my deep distrust of my own predilection to want to sit in silence and just be with my thoughts, however they arise.
OK, so is there a takeaway to this existential outpouring?
Honesty, perhaps, but then again, it's more likely, in writing again about anger, the realisation that for all my talk about true self, I know with all my heart that a prolonged period of quiet contemplation would be more restorative of my soul than any other practice I might like to dream up. And whatever happens with CV-19, I intend, as a starter, to work out my salvation in nature and stand firmly on my own feet and not run away, as I've done so often, from my corrupted anger.
I think that's enough for now.
Wherever you are in the world take care and stay safe.