December 17th, 2020
Let’s talk about anger.
In a recent post, I mentioned that I think about the Hulk a lot, and it’s true. The Hulk is a perfect metaphor, for the people we can become and the ugly traits we can inhabit. The Hulk asks: is the ugliness our base truth? Are our worst impulses and instincts who we really are?
I hope not.
I have long had issues with anger. I think the roots are deep and tangled, but it’s a part of my construction that requires me to constantly examine the colors of the wires. I’ve had to learn the who’s and why’s and how’s of my temper, and how to cut those feelings off from the starters and reroute them to more efficient emotions.
It is not easy.
I’ve learned that the hardest way in 2020. I use words like “disappointment,” as in “so many human beings are disappointing me this year,” when I actually feel anger. I describe how I feel as “sad” or “shocked,” when I’m really angry. I keep trying to paint my pain in different colors, but when it comes down to it: the Hulk is green. The Hulk is always green. Even when the Hulk is gray or red — he is green.
I just read an article about the Tom Cruise blow-out (Google it) in which the author had to begrudgingly admit something: he GOT IT. The writer understood why Tom Cruise lost his mind, because this year the writer has been losing his mind, like I have been losing mine, and instead of being numb to it like we have been expected to be, Tom Cruise expressed the core feeling that so many of us want but hide inside our humanity: anger.
He went overboard and he used naughty words and he really let those crew members have it and that is the impulse that is vibrating in this country right now. We want to yell. We want to scream. We want to stomp our feet.
So then what are we? If we tell ourselves not to yell or scream or stomp our feet, which one is our truth? Is it the humanity that stops us and keeps us trying to find commonalities and connection with other people? Or is it the anger, that ugliness we hide, that finds itself manifesting and sprouting in different ways?
It grows on sarcastic commentary, in passive-aggressive missives, in frustrated, compassionate pleas. It inspires a wealth of other ugly feelings, like guilt and shame and despair.
The Hulk asks: which one are we?
And the smartest thing he does is let us figure that out.