Ha. Today I have a THOUGHT for you.
It concerns rage.
After yesterday’s blah, I discovered today that I was suffering from fury. It crept up on me early, as I listened to a gentleman on Thought for the Day (which makes me pretty cross most mornings) talk about having a ‘vegetarian lifestyle’. The very word lifestyle makes me spit, but a vegetarian one makes my head spin off. What can it mean?
Then, as I was having a most uncharacteristic argument with the red mare, who decided she did not want to move from her nice friend and her nice field and her nice breakfast, I found another pocket of fury. This one was to do with a certain human not behaving in a way I would like that human to behave. This is not a pretty reflection on my character. I like to think I am all each to each, and NOT CONTROLLING AT ALL, and perfectly shimmering with tolerance and liberalism and laissez-faire. In fact, I quite often think, horridly, that this person should do this, or that person bloody well could do that. Then I have to read myself lectures in my head about the horrors of judgement and I feel very small and rather less than the person I would wish to be.
The mare finally consented to move, and as I walked out with her, I attempted to get all this into some kind of order in my head. As I contemplated the particular human who had made me so cross, I told myself that A. getting furious about the perceived lack of doing what I wanted had no utility and B. that it was a lowering reflection on all the things I like to believe I hold dear. It was also rank hypocrisy, since I loathe it when people tell me how I should be living or behaving or functioning in the world.
On the other hand, rage must go somewhere. The human had done something careless and mildly hurtful, as humans often do. It was not big enough to warrant major confrontation, but it had lacerated my spirits. The problem was that the resentment at the slight hurt had ballooned into a general anger at half that poor person’s choices in life. (Could do this; should do that. That was the really ugly and uncalled-for part.)
My question is, my thought is: where does one put these sudden squalls of fury, the ones that don’t really do you or anyone else any good? I think that anger is a correct response in some situations – in the face of bigotry, hatred, idiot politicians, avaricious bankers, dangerous drivers, out of control regimes – but a lot of the time it is not appropriate and mostly to do with one. Sometimes, when I get cross it is warranted. Sometimes, it is all about my own self and not about the other person at all.
But one can’t simply stuff it down into the internal cupboard of doom or one gets ulcers and drinks too much.
Where is the correct place for it?
My rider is: I think anger is especially hard for women. Even now, in the age of the power female and the ladette, or whatever the Daily Fail calls them now, there is still a whiff of sugar and spice and all things nice. We ladies are not really supposed to be cross. Gentleman can parlay rage into entire careers – Peter Hitchens and Jeremy Clarkson are paid to be livid. I’m not sure there is an equivalent female version. (Actually, Melanie Phillips is absolutely furious, almost all of the time, but I do not think she would ever be offered a gig on Top Gear.)
I do often have a sense of failure when I fly into rages, as if I am undermining my own biological imperative, even though I don’t really believe in a biological imperative, which makes me even crosser and more confused. I find anger uncomfortable and sometimes frightening. I want to think the best of things and of people and to be at ease in the world. So when the snapping monster of ire uncurls itself within me, my instinct is to run away.
Today, I’m sitting with it. I’m breathing. I’m sharing with the group.
Are actually from today:
Skies over HorseBack:
Sweetly muddy and furry foal, especially for my friend The Television Producer, who always cheers me up, even from five hundred miles away:
Herself, on our morning walk, looking as if she never had a mulish moment in her whole wide life. (The Dear Readers now know the sorry truth. But then, nobody’s perfect, not even my old duchess.):