Yep we’ve all felt anger, we developed it even, fed it so it grows deep inside until we have to explode. Anger has driven me to have a successful education, career, family life, healthy living and overall a better person. Anger ROCKS!
Per a 2008 report by The CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 10 adult Americans is taking some form of anti-depressant. Of course there are different levels of depression and my comments that follow are not intended to lessen the need for anti-depressants just to make a case that feeling the pain and anger may actually be good for us. If we are numb to our feelings and emotions then how do we know what we are actually feeling and how to deal with those feelings? You might even say that anger isn’t a “fun” feeling or that if you were never angry again your quality of life would improve.
Well my dear readers I ask you to consider that anger in its rawest versions actually is a good emotion, maybe even the best one.
My father is an educator, some of my readers will know this and even took a course or two of his in college. He graduated from several prestigious institutions including receiving his Phd from Harvard. My mother was a saint, no seriously she was educated to the point of almost being an ordained minister and instead completed her Masters of social work at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I was the youngest of three and really enjoyed being a teen with no cares or worries but yet grew up in the shadow of a brother who in all accounts is a genius like my father. In fact he also holds his Phd from Harvard and is currently holding tenure at another ivy league collage now.
I wasn’t a perfect kid and made several bad decisions but I never ever wanted my parents, especially my mother to be disappointed in me. That look on her face, we all know the one “like how could you?” We don’t understand as young children or young adults that our parents motivate us with tough love. My own kids have hit bumps in the road and don’t like or fully understand that my disappointment is there because of love. They need to learn how to harness their own anger and disappointment so they can achieve their goals.
I remember when I was maybe fourteen or fifteen, watching television, my father passing through the den and making a harsh comment “Oh that’s right you don’t read.” Of course I did indeed know how to read but his comment was one of disapproval that I was watching television instead of reading a good book of literature. I don’t discount his comment or hate that he said it to me but at the time I was angry and hurt by his comments. I’ve discovered it is those small moments in life where anger presents itself it helps us rise to the challenges.
Initially I completing two years of college and then dropped out to work full-time and raise a family. I wanted to finish my education but raising two young children and our finances would not support the added expense. I did however pour myself into taking care of my children and my career. My drive for my career came about because I needed to provide for my family. My ex-husband was un-employed for several years so the heavy lifting fell upon my shoulders. My career took off due to a lot of hard work and dedication. After my divorce, finding the love of my life, and having a company that reimbursed for education, I dove back into my studies and completed my BS and then an MBA.
My dad came to visit right after I completed my MBA and he said he wanted to see the certificate. I didn’t really want to pull it out for him to confirm that I indeed did complete the degree but he pressed each day. After three days I finally gave in and dug it out of the files. He studied it for awhile, inspecting it, then proudly stated “You are the first one in our family to receive an MBA.” I was SHOCKED…he actually was proud of my accomplishments and it was in fact one of the nicest things he’s ever said to me.
Yes I am a hard worker, driven, and have a huge desire to provide for my kids but I say to you that my anger, my hurt, of his earlier comments deep down are part of what drove me to complete my education and excel in my career. Raising children in a marriage that doesn’t work, not only is hard but in my opinion impossible. The family environment strains the children and the fighting is ugly. My divorce was nasty, custody battles upon battles, the relationship is still strained even twelve years post apocalypse. I was full of anger and had no intentions of marrying again. After my divorce the love of my life showed up rather quickly and unexpectedly. Those who know us understand just how incredible our story really is but thats another blog for another day.
Our relationship moved swiftly, we both were divorced with children from our previous marriages and we admitted our faults and failures in the previous relationships. We both experienced anger from our divorces and learned how to grow together, respect each other, and love like never before. The anger I felt in my divorce and all the ugliness drove me to be a better person and wife. Love is only part of a solid marriage, for me the other major part is respect. I never had nor gave that respect in my previous marriage, regardless if that respect wasn’t deserved, we never had mutual respect for each other so the relationship was bound to fail. Anger drove me to love fully and my children now know what it looks like to be in a marriage that works. Its not always perfect and at times our outside “baggage” causes scuffles but the two of us love each other eternally.
Part of the anger from my divorce also drove me to begin my first novel which is part of a series, hence my blog name SpanishMossSeries. These stories have been in my head for years and now I’ve written over 10,000 words and just keep going. My book is fictional however some of the characters exhibit personalities of people who have crossed my path and include some of the experiences I’ve had over the years. Of course these characters and experiences are exaggerated and fictional but I truly hope my readers will have a good laugh and be able to relate to the story.
When my children were young my time was spent carpooling, working full-time, carpooling again (in Atlanta traffic), attending after school or athletic events, cooking dinner, helping with homework and then falling into bed exhausted. I think many of you, mothers and fathers, can completely relate to not having any personal time to do anything for yourselves. As my kids grew up and have become more self-suffient, I began to do things for me.
A friend of mine inspired me to hike and have really enjoyed seeing parts of Georgia that really are breathtaking. Several years ago another friend encouraged me to join a gym and we spent each morning working-out. After a year I cancelled my membership but have kept up the weight-lifting and cardio even began running. On the days that anger rears its ugly head I find that my workouts are more intense and I run longer. Its AMAZING what anger can do for your health! Try it please…next time you are angry get a workout in and just see how successful you are and how sore you are the next day. I love nothing better than putting my iPod on and crushing my workout when angry, about 20 mins into weight training my mood shifts. The increase of endorphins and sweat give me a boost and then I’m extraordinary happy.
One of the old sayings which I think stems from the writings in the Bible is that you can’t have good without evil. Hence why I believe that without anger we would not be successful in family life, love, career, and healthy living. Giving you a private look into my life isn’t my favorite thing to do, I don’t like to make my private world public but I think the examples provided really hit home as to why I believe in the power of anger.
Anger rocks so let yourself feel it, take it in and use its power to propel you and achieve your goals!
Cheers and thanks to Julia and Marla for their inspiration.
PS: I wrote this post while on the treadmill.