I lost it this past week.
I threw stuff. I screamed. I yelled curse words at the top of my lungs.
In less than half a second it all emerged…the laundry list of resentments I thought I had checked off years ago.
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to be a single mom?”
“Have you ever thought about showing some gratitude every once in a while?”
“How would it feel if for 20 some years of your life, you were constantly on call…constantly? Imagine that?”
“Do you have any idea how much what you just did hurts me? I’m human too or did you forget that? I have feelings.”
The whole thing took less than two minutes.
I was three days into a new house with literally nothing in its place. I had not eaten a proper meal. I was extremely dehydrated. Yes…dehydrated so much so that I had a migraine. I had been bitten by a dog earlier in the day and had made a quick stop to urgent care to make sure I was okay. I got a tetanus booster and some antibiotics that weren’t helping the situation.
It was a bad day. A very, very bad day.
And so when my daughter, after a slew of what felt like little barbs about my not being available all week, didn’t say thank you or even acknowledge the pizza I had purchased and picked up for her and her boyfriend…well…
I freaking lost it.
In less than two seconds, the rage came.
It startled even me…and as the words continued and grew in insolent content I can remember brief flashes of sanity saying, “Stop, Molly. STOP before you say or do something you will regret.”
The verbal tirade ended, but the rage didn’t. I got in my car, cried really hard, texted my son, my ex-husband, my sister and drove to my old place…for a time out. I stayed there overnight…and that was good.
When I returned the next day, I was more level headed…apologized for my behavior…worked through the shame and then sat back and observed all of the circumstances that led up to it.
I have raged like that in the past, but it’s been a very, very long time…and so when it reared its ugly head it scared me, shamed me, got me thinking about how rage happens…how susceptible I am to it…heck all humans are to it.
That got me thinking about how fortunate I am, too. That those feelings I had this past week, were only temporary. That with sufficient rest and self care I can move back to center. I have a roof over my head, my needs are met, my health is good. I am truly loved and appreciated by my kids. Life is good. Truly.
That also got me thinking about a lot of rage showing up in the world right now.
As I scan though my newsfeed I find myself at times being pulled into its seductive dance. Yep…it’s gratifying sometimes to participate in that two-step…one foot in and one foot out…to have the comfy privilege of being enraged and it being okay. The comfy privilege of screaming and shouting and getting worked up and then returning to the daily privilege of just being myself…going to work…hanging out with my kids…living in my cool, new, truly awesome multicultural neighborhood.
Yes…my rage is the easy kind…the kind I get to choose. It doesn’t minimize it, but it is temporary…circumstantial. With some reflection and understanding…it becomes an amazing glimpse at my own humanity.
And it got me thinking about my friends who live in a constant state of stress…my non-white or non-Christian or non-straight or non-rich friends who struggle to maintain their composure and their breath…when slammed by the rage, judgement and at times hatred they read, see or experience…for no reason other than being themselves.
It is those friends, who must confront this daily…both the rage of others and that which rises up in them…whom I honor this morning. It is you I celebrate as I write these words…as I drink my coffee…as I wonder about my rage and my fears and my love for you…the immense amount of courage you demonstrate everyday of your life being yourselves…when you share both your anger and your peace.