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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Owning Your Anger and other stories

Today I felt real, white-hot anger after a long time. I can't remember when the last time I felt like that was -- it had probably been more than a year. The reason I call my anger 'white-hot' is because of how I perceive it. Anger has traditionally been associated with the colour red, but despite my originally explosive temper that I keep gagged and bound, I have never, ever, seen red. When I'm really angry, angry without adulteration by disappointment or sadness, I feel my forehead and the tip of my nose grow hot. I've been told that they turn red, but inside I feel it like a blinding white glow, and you won't believe me when I say that I feel a strange wave of clarity and logic sweep over my thoughts. The irrationality characteristic of anger kicks in only when it comes to translating thought into action. Which is why, when I began to work on my temper, I felt my mental faculties damping. Suddenly, my moral instinct and righteous energy had no outlet, and all of it stewed in my head until they boiled up everything else, eventually resulting in more severe albeit infrequent bursts of anger -- in trying to control my temper, I had transformed from short-tempered to hot-tempered.
It was at the bottom of my anger management curve that I realized that trying to deny myself my anger was not the solution, since the cause of my anger itself was never illogical -- only my consequent actions were. Having realized that, I decided to separate the two. About a year and a half ago, I began to successfully stop myself from acting on my anger without extinguishing the anger itself -- I learnt to think when angry and act when calm. It worked. However, I didn't need the method for long, because soon, ICSE was over and times changed.
Since then, I have transitioned from a Xth Board examinee to a XIIth Board examinee and from SPL of Carmel to Head Girl of Hem Sheela, which in a very short time has uprooted my entire life, taken it for a ride, and planted it somewhere else. In all this time, I was so occupied that I probably forgot to be angry, or to be precise, I never had the time in which my anger could peak, until today.
Today was essentially a very busy day, but unlike most busy days, which I enjoy, today was a disappointing and annoying day as well. To begin with, we (Head Boy Nihal and I) were wantonly disappointed in one of the junior members of our Students' Council. We spent half a class period yelling at the kid and another quarter picking up the pieces of the giant mess he made. To put it lightly, he embarrassed (not to mention disgusted and annoyed) the hell out of us. As if that wasn't enough, I had two different kinds of unpleasant interactions with two different teachers through no fault of mine, no thanks to my uncontrollably 'romantic' (read debaucherous, more on them later) classmates, and to how Indian mothers raise their sons, in reverse chronological order. Also, I had a mildly unsatisfactory Physics Practical test -- mild enough not to bother me, if the rest of the day had behaved, but hell, it didn't. To top it all off, the Council incident made me late for PE -- not only did I lose out on play time, but I also missed my call for the long jump test. They allowed me to take it when I explained, and I beat my personal record, but I believe I could have done better without the preceding 150 metre dash from the main building to our sports complex. My distance was third highest among the girls and somewhere in the top 10 overall, which is much better than anything I've ever done in that test, but I believe I could have made it further.
So, as you see, I had cause to be angry, which my long-sleeping anger took full advantage of, and my method came out of retirement. I allowed myself anger but not action. The white light flooded my head, and I saw it all clearly. The deception, the manipulation, the breach of trust and loyalty, the classroom politics, the moral blame games, the power trips -- all of it opened up like a giant, interactive chart. And then when I calmed down, all the information was right there in front of me, and with Nihal's cooperation as an occasionally vocal sounding board, I chalked out the Council problem. That done, I navigated the others as well, remaining mostly unscathed. I expect some repercussions and hurt feelings come Monday, but hopefully the weekend damper, despite the Saturday Parent-Teacher Meeting un-damper will cushion them. The good news is that this meeting is optional unless a teacher specifically calls in your parents, which is done for academic underachievement and severe discipline issues. So basically, I'm in the clear and tomorrow can be a relatively normal Saturday.
Hopefully, my methods won't be required anytime in the near future. Lessons learnt : self-control of all kinds is worth learning; negative emotions can be channelized for positive effects; and a sounding board is always a good idea as long as it knows what to echo, what to absorb, and when to do a bit of both.

P.S. : The clock tells me it's 1:18 am... so all the todays should be yesterdays and all the tomorrows todays, I guess.

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