I’ve never thrown anything, especially at someone. With the exception of a ball, and that is more likely because I was made to in a Physical Education class in school. I drop things instead, and that, I believe, is a way to differentiate the two kinds of people in the world. People who throw/break things i.e., express anger. And people who do nothing of the kind when they are angry. In fact, they do nothing at all. Any physical aggression involved can only be attributed to clumsiness. And I am very, very clumsy.
The word “passive aggressive” gets thrown around a lot, but since I am not well-versed with the full meaning of it, and especially because I don’t understand why it is such a popular expression, I am going to leave it out of this discussion. I am going to keep it simple. I’ve been trying to understand why I enjoy the work of Irish comedian and writer Dylan Moran so much. Simple enough, right? Maybe, not all people like to ask themselves why they like the things they do. Maybe, it is such a personal, potentially vulnerable and deeply frustrating question to ask, that it spoils the pleasure of the thing itself. And it’s not like it’s a bad habit. I am not asking myself why I like sugary foods or why people smoke even if it seems pointless. I am going to give you a little taste of his work below, in case you aren’t familiar with him, and then proceed with why I think he and the subject of this post are connected.
Dylan Moran on Adult Conversations
Okay, so apart from the fact that he is an extraordinary writer, brilliant comedian (the best “living or dead”, according to Le Monde newspaper) and attractive, part of his performing persona is The Incredible Hulk. Only human, and presumably a 24/7 thing. And I realised why I like him so much when I wanted to be him, just so I could say the things he says, at the pitch and clarity he says them, with the right amount of finger-pointing and hair-waving, so that I could have all my years of repressed anger at a certain person finally come out. But, I don’t have his head, you see, neither the expressive hair on top of it, nor the brilliant mind inside. All I can do is let the Dylan Moran inside me scream and rage internally, while I use other passive ways to cope with the situation.
It’s a cultural thing, it’s a gender thing, it’s a ‘how I was raised’ thing, but most of all, it is the association made by short-sighted adults towards frightened, uh, obedient children like myself that ‘anger is bad’. That’s it. No further exploration required. Don’t express it, it is wrong to even feel it. Go and expend it in high impact aerobics or by playing an album. But, anger is a passion, and passion, by its very nature, is spontaneous. And so, I’ve had to build strong coping mechanisms. I have spent my life building a Hulkbuster to my Hulk, that Ironman would pay a lot of money to own. It’s subtle, built on reserves of patience, avoidance and all around niceness.
And I am nice. I am, believe me. Most of the time, unless sarcasm gets in, which is perhaps the only aggressive tool I possess. Over the course of writing this blog I’ve realised my non-fiction ‘voice’ is one of sentimental bluntness. Sarcasm is part of it, and even if some people take offence to it, it is just a linguistic tool. Surely, I must be allowed that, judging by how much crockery I have saved in my entire life.
Perhaps, running or yoga or knitting will help. I can’t start expressing my anger now, can I? People will think I’ve gone mad. But, I am so removed from both aggression and relaxation that the reserves of the neurotic: writing, reading, eating, watching comedy and the like, are the only things I feel allowed to do. Perhaps more writing, especially for the projects I’ve been procrastinating, will frustrate and enrage me enough to get my current anger out. Or watching more Dylan Moran.
How do you express anger? Any ideas on how to deal with it in a healthy way?