Whatever you do

Don’t let the sun go down on it.

Your anger.

The Bible, for example, a book that perhaps with some irony makes me angry, is often on about anger being a sin.

Don’t let the sun go down on it.

My mind for a minute there went to a sexually explicit place.  Go figure.  “Whatever you do, don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”  Well, yes, that would hurt – all of that burning down below.


I have always – probably not always, probably not when I was five – struggled with anger.  So it is chronic certainly and it always feels acute.  With age, it seems to be getting worse but who really knows.

It sometimes goes hand in hand with my anxiety – often with boredom, frustration, perceived helplessness.

Anger feels so powerful.  It is a double edged sword – toward myself more than anyone but also toward others.  Because I am so used to it, I don’t seem to realize the effect it can have on others.

I do know that other people’s anger scares the heck out of me or frustrates me or feels like it takes up too much space.

My father, now elderly and somewhat withered and having yet another surgery next week on the nether regions, had anger as big as a mountain I always thought.  He didn’t know what to do with it either I don’t think so it flew everywhere, often at me.  I felt helpless and hysterical during his rages.  By the time I was a teenager I was trying to clamp down my own rage and frustrated that he wouldn’t stop his own.

I am half a century old now and while he no longer rages – and his  physical helplessness and widowed-status make me sob from afar (yes, from afar far, a country apart) – I still do.

Gah.  I hate it and I hate myself for it.

He is the last person I wanted to be like.  And yet, there you go.  My boredom, loneliness and frustration over what seems to be my lack of control over my (non) work life and life life certainly flames it but is not the only cause.  It seems in my very marrow.

I’ve been raging of late at my 50 minute hour ‘fix me now!  Take away my anger!  Stop sitting in silence!’  She seemed worn out at the end of our 50 minutes today.  Not sure what her point was but I ended up feeling even more guilty.  I’ll bring it up next time.

Sometimes anything can trigger it – someone walking too slowly in front of me, feeling left out as the apartmentees in my building get to know each other better, Donald Trump, general death and destruction, despair, someone ahead of me in line who isn’t ready to pay and roots around for a quarter, happy families cavorting, dark dreary fall days and nights, aging, bad writing, too much diarrhea, hopelessness, little work, the downtown school hiring others over me, bad TV, fear of being left out, and on like that.  I don’t like being hair trigger and I shame myself for it.

So much toxic shame.

I read a blog of a whip smart woman whose daughter has had intractable seizures since she was three months old and now the girl is 21 and severely disabled.  The woman is a great writer and she has anger rising up through her so strongly that she says some in her family won’t talk to her.  She intimidates me (although I have never met her).    She doesn’t seem to hate herself for her anger – kind of flows with it as she cares for her daughter and goes through a divorce.

On my birthday I shouted at a homeless fellow on the street because he insisted I give him money.

Interestingly, my 15 year old (almost 16!) year old tutee, D., loves me.  I don’t express my rage with her obviously but my crankiness shines through.

“You are like a cranky old woman bitter at life,” she told me one day.  She was amused.  So was I quite frankly.  We shall be reuniting on September 11th for another season of twice weekly (I think) tutoring sessions.  Good for both of us. At the downtown library here in Vancouver you can book a room for two hours for free – glasses in rooms on each floor – see through I guess so you can’t be doing nefarious things in your two hours – and often you have to kick out the people before you.

“Oh, gosh, D,” I’ve often said, “Oh geez I have to kick these people out and they won’t want to go and I will have to get angry.”

She becomes positively gleeful at this.  Her own mother (‘she is your age but you look much older’) got out of her car once to kick the tires of another car that cut her off.

“This is awesome,” she tells me.

Treating anger like a sin should perhaps not be a thing.  I don’t think we treat depression or anxiety that way.  Although, yeah, people have to be responsible with where they throw their angry voices.

It’s difficult.  Anger.

Don’t let the sun go down on it wrote the ancients who also wrote of a god who constantly smote people with his own.


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