After a lifetime of not allowing myself to express or feel my anger (and seeing it often manifest in less than graceful ways as a result), I’m still figuring out what anger means to me.
As a concept I think anger is a little… confusing. When White men express anger, it’s generally acceptable—but it’s dangerous. Angry men can be violent and sometimes deadly. But for poc, women, and other marginalized folks who aren’t “allowed” or encouraged to express their anger, anger can be transformative. Social change happens when people are angry and use that energy to demand justice. So, in this sense, anger is also sacred. I think this rage connects us to other similarly marginalized folks—those who are living, and those who we call ancestors. Rage is ancestral.
Anger is also a very appropriate response to pain. If I experience an emotional wound, especially one in relationship with someone else, I have every right to be angry. But for me the question is always what the fuck do I do with this anger I am feeling?!
I’ve been angry more than usual recently. And instead of my usual “NOPE not feeling that!!!!” response, I’ve been *trying* to let myself sit with it. And it’s fucking hard to navigate, honestly.
There is so much on a societal level for me to be angry about so I’m trying to validate that. But also, it does not feel good to be stewing in this discomfort.
If you, like me, are inept at dealing with your anger, I’m hoping these journal prompts give you some inspo for your own rage journey—and that my honest answers will make you feel less alone.
How does anger feel in your body?
It feels like energy. It feels like icy hot lighting strikes. It feels like a power I don’t know how to wield. I want to throw candies at the wall and be a bitch and call everyone around me a piece of shit. It feels like I’m the only competent person in the world. (Big victim energy, I know.)
What is your relationship with anger?
I was never really given the space to express anger as a child, so I was not taught tools to process my anger. Being the “good” child, I felt like I had to maintain a calm and docile demeanor, which meant that I swallowed my rage and hid it deep inside of me. I’m used to seeing anger as something bad, something I should run away from or try not to feel. But I know that has to change.
What are some things you can do when you feel angry to help you stay present with the emotion?
Still figuring this out. One thing that seems to help is moving my body—going for a walk, stretching, anything to connect to my physical body. When anger surges in me, it’s this super strong energy, and I feel like I have to do something with it if I’m not going to swallow it.
I think also reframing anger is helpful for me. Instead of seeing it as this horrible emotion that I want to get rid of and hide from, I’ve been trying to see it as information, as something I should hold in high regard. What is this anger trying to tell me? What is this anger trying to protect? Where is the pain beneath the anger coming from? And then addressing the answers to those questions.
As always, I never promise to have the answers, but I sure do love having you along while I figure it out.
Do you have answers?
How do you process anger? What tips have you learned over the years to deal with the intensity and necessity that is anger? I would love to know - respond to this email (or mention it in the comments!)
I acknowledge that this newsletter is written and illustrated on the traditional land of the Duwamish People, past and present. I honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe.