Lady Rage

rageI recently attended a workshop where the discussion of anger management came up. Since the last time I can recall feeling really miffed was when my ex moved out taking one of my books.. it wasn’t a subject I had much opinion or need for.

Oh how wrong I was.

When  asked to think about the physical effects of anger, all of the seeming rational, calm men in the group immediately threw out a practically uniform list of attributes; seeing red, getting flushed, becoming blinkered to everything else, shortness of breath, clenched fists, sweating and taking a wide stance. Presumably this one is to allow for the massive expansion of balls.. or do men get erections when they get angry?  I guess it didn’t come up. Overall.. the responses that you’d expect when facing a large predator or Donald Trump.

Meanwhile all of the women in the group just looked confused. The responses I heard included; “I don’t really feel angry” or  ” I swear inside my car”, “I just swallow it” or (most familiar to me) “I start crying”.

Yep.. really helpful in those ‘fight or flight’ situations.

As much as I hate to tread that whole ‘biology’ trope, it was clear.. men are really used to and conditioned to deal with anger. Women.. we don’t seem to even admit that it exists or when we encounter it, we’re unable to deal with the feeling – the unbridled, uncontrollable, power of anger..and we’re too afraid (or conditioned) to express it. It’s too uncomfortable. And as ‘laydees’ we’re all brought up to stuff those uncomfortable feelings down as quickly and permanently as possible.

I thought back to the times I’ve actually been really angry – seeing red, losing control, balling up my fists fury- and I couldn’t come up with anything. Certainly not in adulthood.

26 years. 1 divorce, several heart breaks, numerous indignities, insults and betrayals. No anger that I can recall. I did call my ex out for ‘smelling bad’ and I’ve called people ‘mean’. But rage..fury… anger… ? Nada.

The women at the workshop… the best we could come up with was passing irritation towards inconsiderate drivers, annoying partners or friends, or frustration. But the symptoms felt by men, or expressed by men.. We just didn’t have the experience.

We didn’t need an anger management discussion. We needed a ‘how to feel anger’ course. A ‘stop swallowing this shit’ retreat. A certificate in ‘expressing anger externally’.

So there and then I committed to exploring my ‘lady rage’.

I know I have stuff I must be angry about. Things which make me teary-eyed to remember or stuff I don’t even want to remember because it makes me uncomfortable. I’ve had my fair share of let downs, humiliations and mistreatment. And god knows, I have a whole state of rudeness and bad driving to get started with.

Next time I feel uncomfortable, when I’m so frustrated that I’m fighting back tears or trying to hold it all in.. I’m going to clench my fists, widen my stance and let my lady balls grow. I am going to experience my anger, my fury, my rage.

Lady rage.. coming to a woman near you.

Sidebar: I Googled ‘angry woman’ for an image, but was faced by women with their arms crossed, fingers pointed or steam coming out of their ears. Clearly even Google can’t find a woman who actually looks angry. Unless she is black. There were lots of black angry women. Grrr. That’s a WHOLE other post.

Raging

angry womanI’ve removed the shackles of work this week and am currently flitting around Colorado with the mountain bike, dog and enough turkey jerky to survive the apocalypse. My main contact to the world has been via the BBC World Service and the occasional radio report which I’ve listened to while driving from one trail to the next.

Sounds idyllic?

Well it was until I found myself raging at a stop light in the middle of nowhere.

Why? Here’s the current list – from this week’s news- making my eyes bulge…

1. Michael Sam: I don’t follow football (hate it in fact), but why Michael Sam can’t find a team ‘because him being gay is too much of a distraction‘ makes me seethe. Does football now feature players copulating on the field? Does the NFL think Michael won’t be able to restrain himself from having a tug on a teammates wang mid play? Since when does a players sexual orientation ‘distract’ from a game.. which is, essentially, dudes throwing a ball around? There are gay rugby players. Gay soccer players. Gay basketball players. They manage to keep their sexual orientation off the court/field. Apparently the NFL thinks that Michael is gonna get too aroused by those heavily padded, brightly colored uniforms and next thing you know its going to get all Sodom and Gomorrah out there. Fuck you NFL.

2. Obama. I know every hardworking individual deserves a vacation. And as leader of ‘Merica, no one deserves a few days off from the current shit show we’re enjoying more than you. And of course, bad things aren’t going to stop just because it’s the end of August and the golf green is booked. But dude, there were riots in Missouri, journalists getting their heads chopped off, Ukraine boiling over, Gaza can’t hold a ceasefire for love nor money and for gods sake, someone has given Lindsay Lohan an acting job. Photos of you laughing and smiling, putter in hand is a great advertisement for the joys of a week beside the seaside, but we need you back at work. Stat.

3. Kids with guns. ‘Merica. The rest of the world is shaking their head in disbelief at you. No, not envy at our ‘freedoms’ but horror. Firstly that we think its ok for kids to attend shooting ranges and handle military weaponry for fun (isn’t that a ISIS thing?), but second that after the kid shoots the instructor in the head, no charges are issued. Its deemed ‘an industrial accident’. The shooting range where this particular accident happened last week, also hosts kids parties. Minimum age? 8. So parents, if you’re wondering what to do for little Sadie for her 8th birthday party, why not head on down to ‘Bullets and Burgers’ (I kid you not), for some Uzi action and potentially a little homicide. Don’t worry, no charges as long as you ‘pray for his recovery’. (little hope of that when he’s been shot in the head at close range by a Uzi).

And what makes me madder than hell about each of these things, is the tone with which they’re reported. No big deal. No rage. No questioning of the morality involved. No journalistic interest in whether this is a ‘good thing’. Nope.. nothing to see here. Just ‘Merica going about her day.

So if people are wondering who that weirdo is screaming at her radio and punching the steering wheel in the middle of nowhere… just drive on by. Nothing to see here. Just an angry 40ish chick wondering why she’s the only angry person in Colorado.