Not Angry. Don’t Hate.

The unanticipated bonus of reading a book entitled “Never Get Angry Again” written in large red letters on the cover, with the word ‘Angry’ ferociously scribbled out (but still legible), is that nobody takes it upon themselves to use “what are you reading” as an attempt to start a conversion.

So that really needs to be factored into my review.

I wish I could say that I liked it. I wish I could say that I found it profoundly useful for navigating the anger that I feel, and bottle up, on a daily basis. That’s why I picked it up off the shelf, after all: as a tonic for an actual struggle that I deal with nearly every day, certainly in these fraught times.

But no. It made me angry. Or, rather, it made me angrier than I already was.

I’m pretty good at managing my feelings. People I work with or collaborate with generally tell me that they consider me calm and reasonable, which I appreciate and work hard to cultivate. But it doesn’t mean I don’t have the feelings, just that I’m pretty good at containing them. There’s always a low grade simmer not far beneath the surface. I like to think of myself as being like the Yellowstone caldera: pretty, and pleasant, and family friendly, but unsafe to touch and also a giant volcano that will someday blow sky high.

Lately, I’ve been wondering what it is that has been causing these feelings. A little bit of anger is normal. The kind of spectrum bending rage that I sometimes experience over minor things is not. I mean, I know that is partly a factor of being a woman in this society: there are no acceptable ways for a woman to express anger that will not diminish her social standing (conversely, anger is the only emotion society deems it acceptable for men to show. This is a problem on both sides.) As a result, there’s a lot of unspent anger banked up and gaining compound interest. If I had as much money set aside as I have anger bottled up I could retire right now.

But the book is not the answer that I’m looking for. At least, not so far. About ninety percent of it just aggravates me more: I find it reductive and full of unnecessary and unhelpful moralizing. But there is a tiny, significant drip of little philosophical gems that have spoken to me so pointedly, I wanted to take notes.

So I’m about three quarters of the way through it and I plan to hate-read until the end. I’ll follow up with a proper review once I’ve finished it.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 26, 2018.

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