In the recent weeks, I came to understand…again…that I spend so much energy trying to not express anger. I think anger continues to be something that I don’t know how to value. Women in my culture should not express anger. What is the point of anger as a mother and wife? Friend? Employee? Side note: we don’t like anger on social media, even. “People say things online they’d never say in person”. Well, that might be true, but where else, how else do we express our anger? WHAT IS THE ROLE OF ANGER AND WHERE IS IT OKAY TO EXPRESS IT?! Of COURSE people turn to social media.
And here’s what I’m learning. My anger has to be expressed. Not expressing anger is becoming my undoing. Again. I work so hard to not get angry that I become unaware of it. I’m tired all the time because of the work I do to keep it under wrap. I even do this unconsciously and forget how to express the anger when it IS appropriate, for example, in my therapist’s office. So what do I do instead? Right now, I eat and the weight is coming back on.
Side note: I know the best way to work through anger is to move my body. But I forget because I feel like I’m so bad at it. I know I need to do this like I prioritize sleep. Right now, I’m just trying to take regular walks again and lift my free weights while I watch TV. But I still struggle every day to not to eat junk.
But here’s the thing. I have been angry since I was a little, little girl. I threw epic temper tantrums and try as she might, my mother couldn’t discipline them out of me. I now believe that little children aren’t born in sin, as my religion believed, so if that’s true, what was going on for this little girl?
I now believe I was expressing something beyond my understanding. That I was picking things up that couldn’t be seen or explained by logic and religion and I was fighting back, expressing anger with all my might.
As I got older, I learned to keep the anger inside more. But the problem was that it would get stored up and come out very strongly when the lid just couldn’t be kept on anymore. And as I look back on my adult temper tantrums, I see why I was angry. And I think, “Of COURSE I was angry.”
Male, don’t say, “Hush” to me while we’re talking about homosexuality and The Church. #patriarchy
Relative, this is a messy conversation, but we’ve avoided it for so long, of COURSE it’s going to messy. There’s all SORTS of emotions here, including anger. #Sorrynotsorry
Family, I am SO sorry I got too mad today but I tried to be supermom and I am starting to unravel. #helicopterparentingpressure
So here I am, once again, realizing I am so, so angry. And I have got to do something about it because if I don’t, it will undo me. There HAS to be a reason I was born with all this raw energy. So despite the strong discipline and moral compass of my childhood, despite my intimate familiarity with church culture, and despite how insanely hard I worked in my first half of life to be a good girl, here I am again.
That’s why I am birthing The Raw JAW. Jenny Anne Wells needs a place to practice some Raw Anger to help her find a footing with this part of herself that just won’t go away.
Yes, I’m practicing yelling and groaning when I’m alone to help move the energy. But there’s something to be said for writing “live” knowing someone might read it who knows me. I need to practice how to be angry in public and with people I love. This is the best way I have found.
My goal is to use this space to work through the anger, not just spew and rage and raise a righteousness banner.
So I’m back.
Questions: What do you do with your anger? Where do you think it’s appropriate to give it a voice? Leave a comment or DM me. Let’s talk about it together.
Here are some of the things I know I need to write about in the future:
How hard it is emotionally to own a small business in a small town in a struggling industry. I’m pretty angry about it, actually.
How Helicopter Parenting and Growing Kid’s God’s Way left me feeling horribly betrayed.
How I feel like my religion robbed me of my humanity and now I’m in the closet about all sorts of things because my beliefs so dramatically changed as a result.
Ageism…I am beginning to experience discrimination and it sucks. No wonder other groups desperately need time and space to be angry.
How much I hate and beat up myself despite how hard I’ve worked to change the soundtrack.
So here I am. Willing to join me? May our eyes and hearts be able to safely provide others what they need with how they’re feeling. It means a great deal that you’re here. I try to give you the same space for what you need to learn to express. So, thank you.