"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore."
I've thought a lot about my blog entry yesterday about sadness and depression. I realized those things aren't the only tabooed feelings. Anger is another big one. Basically anything that isn't "happy" and "joyful" we don't want to talk about. If we talk about it, we might have to acknowledge our own unpleasant feelings.
What's the first thing someone usually tells you when you're angry? "Don't be upset. Don't be angry." And then they'll give you reasons to invalidate your anger. Lost your job? They'll say, "Don't be angry. It's the economy." A loved one dies and someone will say, "she's in a better place."
I listened to that advice when I lost my job and then I became depressed and gained twenty-five pounds in two months. That's how I always did it. Stuff the anger and be a "good guy." Rise above. What was I rising above? Nothing. I was stuffing those feelings of anger down as fast as I could shovel food into my mouth. The only thing rising was my blood pressure.
I'm not saying I should have let my anger rule my actions, but had I acknowledged it and used it to empower myself, there's a lot of energy in anger. I could have found positive ways to release it and use it. Denying it only buries it deeper where its bound to escape in a less controlled and appropriate manner. That's why it's usually the "quiet ones" who take off on a murderous rampage, much to the surprise of everyone around them.
Yesterday as I thought about sadness and depression, an old saying occurred to me, "Depression is anger turned inward." Okay, Oprah, this might have been my "aha" moment because it all clicked. Last night I realized just how angry I am and what I've been stuffing down. Personally, there are a few things I haven't been able to express yet for fear of burning a bridge, but there are many things that contribute to it. Turn on the nightly news and it's full of reasons to be angry.
Our government is fucked up beyond anything I've seen in my lifetime. The price of gas fluctuates with the greed of the oil industry executives. Banks get bailouts and then give their CEOs bonuses. The prices at the grocery store keep going up and up. Cheap fast food is the only thing some families can afford and it's making them fatter. Jobs are scarce and the employers who do hire have us by the balls. Workers comp cases are down, one friend in the legal industry told me, because workers are afraid to make waves for fear of losing their jobs. We are becoming a nation of indentured servants to the wealthy one percent.
The clip above comes from the 1976 film, Network, starring Faye Dunaway, William Holden and Peter Finch. It's empowering and the same speech could be delivered by Brian Williams or Barbara Walters today. It's that timely.
I think we all need to get angry, not to carry it around with us, but to express it in a positive life changing way. Individually we can only address what is in front of us, but collectively, we can make a difference. Say what you want about the Occupy Wall Street movement, but it certainly showed us we're not alone in our anger. Let's use that to empower us, as a nation, and as individuals.
Personally, today I'm going to express my anger instead of stuffing it down with food. I think I'm going to need a punching bag to go with my rice cake and salad today.