There is a wonderful movie that came out a few years ago. The movie, Crash, offers food for thought and discussion at every turn. I have seen the movie a few times and have thought of it many times since. It makes me examine my attitudes about race, violence, friendship, and so many other things. This week, though, one line from the movie has kept running through my head. One character, Jean, played by Sandra Bullock, gives voice to her feeling of anger. Her situation is tense and, when watching the movie, I always come into contact with her raw emotion – anger.
I am Angry all the time
This week, I especially relate to this character, this woman who is at the end of her rope. I am a peaceful, loving person. Lately, though, I have such a short fuse. My body is always tense. I have to work hard just to relax the muscles of my face into a pleasant expression. I wake up in the morning with my hands balled into fists. I pound the sidewalk hard with my feet on my way to work, trying to expel negative energy from my body. Throughout the day, every little thing upsets me. I have to keep calming myself down, over and over. When I talk to John, I can hear the tension in my voice. It always seems like I am on the verge of yelling.
What is wrong with me? Just like the character of Jean, I am responding to the stressers that are converging on my life right now. When I start to list these stressers, they add up quickly. And yet, the stress I feel for myself is nothing compared to the stress I feel in others all around me. I listen to people on the bus in the morning, headed out for a day of searching for a job. I hear conversations in which people struggle to understand the disparity between the rich and the poor. I read the newspaper and am completely overwhelmed by the devastating need of people all over the world. I feel so small. I feel so frustrated. I feel so angry…all the time…and I don’t even know why.
Anger is a good emotion. Uncomfortable, but good. For me, anger is much more helpful than sadness, which numbs me into inactivity. Anger spurs me into action. It forces me to look at the way I am dealing with things. It forces me to think about whether I am truly living my values. It forces me to ask myself what small steps I can take to make the world a better place. I am struggling, right now, to find a suitable path to transform my anger into positive action. I realized today that I need to find some sort of positive outlet for this anger. As long as I keep it inside, it will keep me tense and my nerves will be stretched thin. Finding a way to turn this energy into an action that will do some good is the challenge.
So, today, I took a small step. I signed up to be a Coach through a program (C.A.S.H.) that helps empower women to make good choices with their finances. I had hesitated because I don’t know a lot about budgets and money. I do know how to help people find choices and think about goals and dreams. And, the program promises to provide all the training necessary and to lead new coaches through the process. I signed up this morning and already received a phone call from a woman interviewing me for the volunteer position. It seems like a good fit and I am excited to learn more about the program and start the training. It is a small step, but I can already feel a new hopefulness blooming inside me. I believe that this hope will grow and become strong enough to overcome my stress and transform my anger.