My Anger has Value By Tresa Simmons
How many times have we thrown out the baby with the bath water? Meaning how many times have we gotten rid of everything when something is out of order without stopping to take time to search what is still valid, still useful, and or have purpose in our situation. This question came to mind as I focused on the power of my anger as I listened to Tracee Ellis Ross’ message on a Ted Talk called A Woman’s Fury Holds a Lifetime of Wisdom. (Link has been posted at the bottom of this blog article). Tracee tells us to communicate with our anger. She says “Our fury is not something to be afraid of. It holds a life time of wisdom. Let it breathe and listen.”
As I listened to Ms. Ross’ at least 6 or more times and meditated on her talk, I thought of the contrast of my being emotional (very at times) and burying my emotions. I also thought about what this did to my emotional health from both ends of the spectrum when having no balance. The decision came to bury my emotions from two spaces. First, I was taught love was the way, and I also received messages that were sometimes verbal and other times implied that anger was bad. This left me second guessing myself and more often than not mistrusting myself which inevitably left me feeling inauthentic. Second, my twin daughters were between two and three years of age. My fire scorched one of them, and the look she gave me was a wake-up call. I felt like a bucket of cold water had been thrown on me. From that day on, I prayed to get rid of my anger. I did not understand that I had set my life on a debilitating course, and I would live for many years missing a very important part of myself.
As God granted me my wish, my anger was extinguished but so was my ability to speak up for myself, and even my ability to decipher when I should be angry drifted away. This experience had value as my stress level was less because my emotional meter was malfunctioning. Very few things ever pushed my buttons. However, I swallowed so much bullshit and cried when I should have been welding my sword and protecting myself. Unbeknownst to me, my anger was actually my friend protecting me when I did not have the capacity to protect myself. My anger is energy as all emotions are energy that can change in form. The fire that could be translated as anger could also be translated as passion. When I prayed my anger away, I prayed my passion away. That passion was deeper than ‘I want or I desire,’ and it was a force that was meant to create my way so I could have the very desires of my heart. Every emotion serves us well including anger, but I did not know what I did not know.
There is a scripture that says a little leaven pervades the whole lump (paraphrased by me). Nothing is in a silo, and everything is affected. I did not know the decision I made was akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water. I did not know that I had sat myself on a course of keeping my heart closed. Nothing could get out, but nothing could come in. I was afraid of my anger the very anger that I now understand never betrayed me but I it. I know we all can think about a time that we took up for someone who turned on us for the other person as we defended them. Well, this is what my anger must have felt I did if it could express itself in words.
I experienced all sorts of trauma from an early age. My anger was righteous and well deserving. It protected me when I did not know anything else to do or be but angry. I was terrified of that which was preserving me because I did not know how to be with my anger. I had no model or recollection of a woman or women who made peace with their anger. The women I saw were trying to exist and just hold on though they were self-harming and self-medicating while speaking defeatist words over their lives which often turned into depression. Sisters when we do not honor our truth even our anger that rage goes somewhere. I also saw and experienced those, who like me, used God as a way to abdicate our feelings to something other than our own selves. I numbed out further using God as a ‘righteous’ excuse to do so.
The ‘religious’ teachings I learned at that time, many of them, supported the ideology that in order to be good, I had to give up my anger in the name of love. What I know to be true, now, is there is a time and season for all things. My mentor said God was the same loving God in Psalms as the God is in Judges. God showed up as love, and God showed up as anger. Both are aspects of God. There are levels to my experiences in life as there is with God. I feel that I am coming full circle, and I am getting an opportunity to make a different choice from a different understanding. This reminds me of Morpheus’ question in the Matrix “do we want the blue or the red pill?” Am I willing to feel my emotions or numb them out now that I understand they all serve me well?
My take away from Ms. Ross’ message is there is value in my anger. My anger is loving in that it creates space for my best interest. There is a time that our anger will provide for us the same ways that love does because both have been given to us to serve our highest good as we navigate this planet called earth. Our anger is an indicator that something does not feel right. What is it? Does it mean that the other person or situation is in error? No, not necessarily. What it does mean it is time to dig deeper because a message is being given to us. Sometimes our anger is masked as fear. This too is an opportunity to learn to read our inner GPS and heal our fears.
I know it was not my anger that was causing me hurt. It was my lack of seeing and my unwillingness to take action that kept my anger raging hotter and hotter until I would explode mainly at those who loved me most. I embrace my anger today as it is slowly returning. In my past, I knew something was bothering me even if I did not want to deal with it, and my anger was straight to the point. Today, it is learning to trust me and I it as we sometimes play hide in seek with each other. I still question what it means at time. I still second guess myself asking do I have a right to be angry. Sometimes, I seek out other people’s opinions. What I know is this is happening less and less. As we hold all of our emotions sacred and specifically in this case our anger to be our GPS, we will be less inclined to throw the baby out with the bath water. We will be more apt to sit with it and ask it what it wants to tell us. We will see the value in our anger, and as we become skilled listeners and faithful doers our life will change exponentially to one we not only love but like. Feeling our emotions deeply will deepen our experiences exceeding our wildest imaginations. After all, this is authentic living.