Embrace the Anger

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I used to have a friend who talked very loudly. No matter what she was talking about, she said it loudly. This wasn’t a bad thing, most of the time, as she was very likable, and people tended to accept that quirk about her. Oh, that’s just ___, they’d say. She just… talks loudly.

One day, I was hanging out with her, and I saw a sign – I think we were in a library or something. The sign said, simply, “Embrace the Silence.” I pointed it out to her, and she said (loudly) that she didn’t get it. I didn’t press the issue.

I’ve changed that phrase somewhat today.

Embrace the Anger.

It wasn’t one thing, specifically. It really wasn’t… You were just… Annoyed at one point, frustrated at another, dumbfounded by yet another. It was one of those days.

You know… The kind of days that won’t ever end.

A client does something leaving you questioning why.

Someone close to you does something making you wonder.

A company you’re forced to work with does something that frustrates you to no end.

You know you’re smarter than this.

Not just smarter. Better.

You know you’re capable of more.

But it’s not coming.

Not today.

The day finally, finally ends.

Your running partner shows up, and you see the first glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. You’ve been waiting for this run all day.

And she tells you she forgot her sneakers at home this morning before she left for work.

Not her fault… Things happen. It’s par for the course that is your day.

You go running anyway.

By yourself.

And as you enter the park at 59th St. you question whether you’ll even make the full loop.

Perhaps you’ll do a quick three miler, instead. You’re too angry to do a full workout. The anger is beating you down. You’ll never make a full run.

But then, for whatever reason, you remember William Shenstone’s quote:

“Anger is a great force. If you control it, it can be transmuted into a power which can move the whole world.”

And you think, maybe, just maybe, even though you’re not sure how, you can embrace the anger.

And so you run, your anger pushing your feet faster and faster, your iPod cueing up only songs which fuel the anger, and skipping the songs that don’t.

And your feet fly with the frustration and bang-your-head-against-your-desk-ness that was your day. And you run. And you sweat. And you listen…

Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “A Last Illusion:”

My Chemical Romance’s “Famous Last Words”
I am not afraid to keep on living,
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey if you stay I’ll be forgiven,
Nothing you can say can stop me going home.

Alabama 3’s “Woke Up This Morning”
Don’t you wish you didn’t function, wish you
didn’t think beyond the next paycheck and the next little
drink’ Well you do so make up your mind to go on, ‘cos
when you woke up this morning everything you had was gone.

The Soundtrack to “Bright Lights, Big City”
The problem is I’m the kinda guy
who’s lookin’ for the kinda girl
who’d never be here in a club
like this at this time of the morning
Sunday morning, 6 A.M.
I’m lookin’ for the kinda girl
Who I’d call at eleven
For some croissants and a coffee
Then we’d go to to Some museum
or a set or two of tennis
With Elizabeth and Dennis
Who have just got back from Venice
Oh, I’m a menace to myself
Dancing this close to heartbreak…

And even Linkin Park’s “Breaking the Habit”
I don’t want to be the one
The battles always choose
‘Cause inside, I realize, I’m the one confused…
I don’t know what’s worth fighting for, or why I have to scream
I don’t know why I instigate, and say what I don’t mean
I don’t know how I got this way, I know it’s not alright
So I’m breaking the habit,
I’m breaking the habit, tonight.

And your pulse is blowing through 180, and topping out at 192, or at 104.4% of your maximum heart rate.

And with apologies to Reebok, screw running easy. You’re running hard because your anger tells you to. Because this time, maybe you can outrun it.

And you finish all 6.1 miles of the Central Park loop in 50:46. An 8:19 pace. Not your best time of 47:52, but not your worst. And your second best of the year.

And as you gulp down water, and gulp in air, as the sweat pours down your face and stings your eyes, and as the sun fades behind the Time Warner Towers as you start the three block walk home, and as you lower your iPod and wipe your brow, the thought occurs to you…

You’re not angry anymore.

You’re far from it.

And you realize that your day is over, and tomorrow is another chance to get it right. And the huge weight of the anger is gone. The anger has given itself over to you, and from it, you’ve taken its power, you’ve taken and made good for you the very thing that was weighing you down.

Embrace the anger, my frirends. Use it. Let it wash over you, take from it the power that it’s willing to give. That power can fuel you. That power can help you. I swear it can. It can make you reborn. The very essence of the anger itself, the power within the anger, can prevent it from hurting you.

Embrace the anger in whatever way you choose. But take from it everything you can. It has so, so, so much to offer.

“I don’t know why I come here, but I know I’ll never leave… It’s the only place I wanna be… Yeah, yeah, yeah.” –Uncle Kracker

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