I believe the term they used was angry, actually.
Now it was the day after Spring Break week…a hard day of re-entry for all. I’ll admit that I was tired and cloudy of mind as I seldom finish nursing my cafe’ con leche until early third period. I was taken back a bit by the question.
Am I angry?
I was about to answer when I realized what they were really asking. They really wanted to know if I was angry at them. “Why would I be angry with you guys?,” I answered.
They didn’t respond. They are a sheepish group and no doubt still tired and cloudy of mind like me.
I wanted to tell them I wasn’t angry, but I couldn’t.
I don’t usually lie to my students. There is much I may not say – questions I legally cannot answer… but I am pretty straight with my students. I do not think I could do this job, exist in this profession, and lie to the people I spend most of my time with. That just might be soul suicide.
Instead, I told them, “Yeah, I am angry.”
I went on to explain how I am pretty much angry all the time. Even when I have a good morning or a pleasant afternoon, there runs through me a pretty constant current of frustration. It swells and ebbs perhaps with the tides. Tides of what kind, I do not know. I think I was born into this world in a pissed off state and have remained so ever since. Being slightly irritated, I am aware now, seems to be my natural state.
All of this occurred to me for the first time during this very moment. Even though I have always struggled against my occasional rage, it never occurred to me until this moment that I am always angry at something. Should I try to change this about myself or should I just accept myself for all my parts – even the angry parts? Does my unhappiness or illness come from my constant state of anger or does it come from the mental and emotional exhaustion of trying to fight my rage and convince myself that I am wrong for it?
I think I am done fighting my anger. I think the real task here is to be mindful of this about myself and, whenever, possible, recognize its cause and point it where it might do some kind of good. Easy to write, harder to do. The worst part about this part of me is when I act on my anger and scare or hurt those I love – my family, my friends, my students.
That is not ok with me, but having anger is going to have to be.