Anger wells up.

My heart pounds faster.
Harder than usual.

My head fills with steam.
The full steam of all my regrets.

Ready to spew out
into the wide open.

Only the wide open isn’t real.

It is the bubble that
surrounds me.

The bubble that keeps me
from telling the truth.

Truth about what I am feeling.

I want to hit something.

A punching bag would do.

Needs to be a soft target.
Something that can absorb my punch.

And as I retract my fist
I reflect on the dent made.

Reflecting on the felocity of the punch.

Was it hard and fast?

Or soft and hesitant?

Or swift and efficient?

Did my anger recede?

Did I feel a sense of satisfaction?

How did my heart respond?
My pulse?

Did my fear rise up to the surface?
Show it’s face?
Reveal its purpose?

Did a sense of freedom come to the surface?

Relief, despair.

With each punch
emerged a layer of old thoughts and behaviors.

Left to wilt
after my fist was pulled back
to start again.

Why does physical activity
have to manifest
for anger to be released
from its hold?

Thoughts do not get at the root cause.

And angry thoughts just roll around in
your head.

They perpetuate.

They propagate.

They circle
around and around and around.

Thoughts based in fear
don’t dissipate.

They return with a vengence.

Darker, angrier,
more insidious
if not allowed to release.

Self Inflicted Anger

Internal anger has been a part of my life as long as I can remember and is most often directed at me. I can be heard in the comfort of my own solitude to say vicious things to myself. “Get your sh–  together Michelle”. “Why in the hell did you do that, Michelle”. “What is your fu–ing problem, Michelle”. Those are the tamed down versions and my name is always part of that external conversation. 

This type of anger toward myself usually stems from some small act of stupidity on my part, nothing too extreme, and most often temporary. Most feelings are temporary, but deeply seeded and self inflicted anger is a stubborn beast. This type of anger is usually based upon some personal fear that needs to be faced.

Only then will the anger slowly dissolve.   

Fear and Trauma

Sometimes the fear is based in past trauma. It often takes certain events and self awareness to trigger and recognize that anger, that fear, that trauma. 

This poem, “Anger Wells Up”, was written in exasperation of my inability to connect with and regulate my daughter’s emotional distress during her ongoing substance use recovery, especially during the pandemic. I have no control. I fear she will not be okay. I fear she will feel abandoned because I cannot help her directly. Compassion toward her situation does not seem adequate.

Therefore, I feel inadequate.

This is one of many events where my deep seeded trauma begin to surface. The trauma that fuels my anger.

Trauma expressed

As that trauma emerges, all I can do is recognize the anger that comes with it, feel it and express it in whatever means necessary in order for it to be expunged from my head and eventually my heart.  

My soft target punching bags become the paper and the canvas. My release.

The Image: “Engulfed In Rage”, acrylic on canvas. I completed this painting in 2006 and chose it for this blog, first for the title. Secondly, because this piece symbolizes the feelings I have when surrounded by anger and rage. The swirl of emotions, rage induced experiences, the constant motion, no sense of calm. Truly engulfed. There is an unintentional face that emerged in the middle of this piece that I did not spot until years later when I had gained a different perspective. Funny how that happens.

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