Monday, October 24, 2005

Mt. St. Me

I have a bit of a temper. When I say 'bit', I mean it doesn't show up very often. When I say 'temper', I say there is a reason I will never allow myself to own a gun. My anger sometimes frightens even me.

What I assume most people feel when they are angry... a slow and steady simmering until the issue is resolved or forgotten... I don't experience. I am either completely fine or volcanically pissed. There are only a few things which make me angry, and they consistently result in the same reaction; I'm sunshine and roses until that one shit hitting fan moment, and then I am blinded by a rage which takes over my rational thinking. I use interesting words. I experience hate. My head pounds, my jaw clenches, and I irrationally can't think of anything else.

And then ten minutes later, I'm back to being fine.

I've wondered how much my temper is a hindrance to my life. On one hand, I wish I could hold on to anger longer, albeit a less explosive type. My inability to stay mad at someone has often resulted in me forgiving and forgetting when at least the forgetting was not in my best interest.

On the other hand, I've wondered if my anger is too emotional; if my outbursts have cost me in ways I haven't calculated. When I think about it, however, I realize two things. Being difficult to anger has afforded me the ability to remain calm in situations (at work, for instance), when others are doing a Greg Louganis off the deep end. And the intense flashes and outbursts: I realize I've never lost a friend due to my temper that I didn't need to lose anyway. Post-eruption, these people always exhibit behavior elsewhere which makes me not regret calling them that thing exactly how and when I did.

I joke to those close to me that the solution for my temper is to simply not piss me off. My husband gently points out that the people who are most likely to bear the brunt of my anger, those who don't know me well, aren't handed a little rule book in advance of meeting me. And it's not like I can go around quoting the Incredible Hulk: "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." My failure to turn green afterwards might make that statement cheesy and anticlimactic (though I'd gladly take his abs).

There is also the fact that what some would label as anger and emotion in me, might be labeled as aggressive and no-nonsense in people with penises. I do struggle with the expectation that I am supposed to be in possession of a softer side more often than not.

At any rate, should you bet that something happened recently to cause me to ponder my temper, you'd be a winner. A former audience of my temper recently exhibited behavior which caused them to become the first person I've ever known who I was certain was in danger of going to hell. As I listened to the retelling of these antics, I realized that once again my temper had rotated out of my life a person who would have been sure to stir up more trouble. And I was glad.

Besides, I'm fairly certain that despite all prose to the contrary, hell does have more fury than I could ever muster.

No comments: