Sunday, December 17, 2023

The Gift of Anger

Written Spring 2021

I think you need to sit with your anger for a bit. 

I know you’ve seen how anger can destroy whole worlds and you’re scared at how she brews in you, so instead of examining anger you have denied her existence with a false smile and flighty hands. 

But I think you need to sit with her. 

Sit with her. You won’t move forward until you do. 

You can hide for a while. Push her off for a moment. You can walk around the circle, play musical chairs for a song or two. But eventually the music stops and you are tired and you must find a seat. 

So sit. 

Let anger climb into your lap. She is a personal bugger and demands to be seen up close. Remember what it was like to sit in your mother’s lap, her arms loose and strong around you, your head tucked up underneath her chin? Hold anger like that for a minute. 

Now, I think you should tell someone about her. 

Find that friend or that partner, that sister or brother, the one who can withstand hurricanes and isn’t frightened by raw edges. Tell them about the anger. How she claws at your shoes, how you’ve picked her up and are in an unsettled moment of truce with her. 

You might find in that moment that your anger has a twin flame. That you and anger are not alone in this fight. Or maybe it is still just you and anger, but she is slightly lighter now that you have spoken about her. She’s starting to yield, to shift in your arms as you understand better how to hold her. In holding her, you better understand who she is. 

You start to recognize that anger is never just anger. She is heavy, crushing grief. Tiny, sharp fractures to your soul that have gone unchecked and unhealed. She is all the times you saw every red flag but someone else insisted you did not. When you yelled into the nothingness of a crowded room and the deafening silence echoed back, anger covered your fear and abandonment. 

She is the bewildering moment when you pulled one string and a knotted mess wound up in your hands. You fumbled for hours trying to separate each one, to put them in their proper place, but each one that was freed revealed another three that were tangled. 

Now that you’ve sat with anger for a bit, gotten to know her quirks and nuances a little better, maybe it’s time to set her down. No one said you had to sit with her forever, but plenty told you not to acknowledge her at all. With acknowledgement comes an understanding, and anger is ready to be out of your arms and by your side now. Close, fingers touching, but set down.

I think you should do something about her now.  

There are certain things a girl is admonished to do, and showing her anger makes the top ten. She’s a bitch or a jezebel (pick your cultural poison), too coarse and unbecoming, a shame to her people. Be softer, more pliable. Be putty, be clay. 

Clay is good and holy in the hands of its Maker, but even the Potter flipped tables sometimes. 

Before, when you hadn’t sat with anger, when you hadn’t talked about her, acknowledged her, anger was an unruly, unholy mess. You were at her whim. Disheveled and heartbroken as you tried to stanch the pain of her without looking her in the eye. You couldn’t move forward because she was a brick wall and you the Wile E. Coyote, forever crashing and never learning. 

But now, you have an agreement. Now you know each other. And you see anger for all that she is. She’s not pushing you around anymore, but you also don’t have to carry her. She was a brick wall before, but up close you see tiny sprouts of green life pushing through her cracks. She yields her strength to give you a gift. 

You did the sitting. You did the talking. You understand something about the world now that you didn’t before.

Now it’s time to take the gift and move. 


  1. Wow, Em.🥺❤️‍🔥❤️‍🩹💝

  2. This is sooo true! And I did that! I felt my anger. More importantly, I allowed my anger to stay awhile, because I just needed to.