Sometimes anger morphs into fury. It morphs into deep seeded darkness that claws against your skin. It lingers on every word. It lives in every action. It is violent, palpable and meaty. It gets ugly and nasty. Lethal, vile and full of hate. It becomes savage, turbulent, destructive, full of intense mania until finally you erupt. Sometimes the things that have happened to you lead you on a deadly path of RAGE!
According to one dictionary, RAGE is
1. Angry fury; violent anger
2. A ft of violent anger.
3. A violent desire
I remember when I was about 14 years old, I had had enough. My ex step father had touched me one last time. I remember sleeping with a knife under my bed because I thought maybe I’d have the courage to protect myself. I remember my heart being so full of hate that I could imagine the things I’d do should he enter my room. But when the opportunity presented itself, I never did anything. Finally one day, because I didn’t know what to do with myself and my emotions and my hurt, I remember attacking my room.
My teenage bedroom was always so full of life. I had posters and pictures everywhere. I had glitter and books and teddy bears and a few old barbies from my early childhood. There were journals, scraps of fiction stories on paper and my personality littered everywhere. One day, for some reason, I just hated everything. So I ripped every poster and picture down. (Maybe this was me attacking my room since the abuse occurred in my room). Ripping it all away wasn’t enough though.
I found something else. At my church I was always an active participant and youth leader. I couldn’t even name all the ministries I was on. I volunteered in the nursery and helped create the rotation schedule for the other youth volunteers. I was the lead youth usher. I sung in the choir, danced on the praise dance team and step team AND I was on the soul winning ministry. (One of the crazy’s names I’ve ever heard in retrospect.) I spearheaded the youth newsletter, participated on the drama team and regularly spoke at church events. But after years of being devoted to god and church, I was so sick of seeing my ex step father every Sunday teach my Sunday School class. I was sick of seeing the pastor every day talk about some obscure god knowing what he told me that night in his office. So I just quit everything. I just said FUCK IT ALL and I quit every activity. I didn’t want to spend one extra moment in that church if I didn’t have too.
And my rage just continued. I threw journals and stories away. I was careless with my words. I hated everything!
In another memory, I recall my ex step father being left home with me and my siblings. It was the day when he beat me which led to me fleeing the house and finally reporting him. Prior to him physically assaulting me, my rage seeped out. He didn’t want me to help my siblings study. They wanted to watch tv instead. I can see now how annoyed this would have made me since I saw my education as my exit out of the hell I was living. Therefore for him to bypass their classes and let them watch tv, I can see how that would upset me.
I was never a child that talked back beyond getting one word in. I wasn’t prone to disrespect, yelling and slamming doors. I didn’t throw fits…except when I ripped my room apart and quit every ministry. But on this particular day, my frustration had reached its limit and the very sight of him pushed me over the edge. When he snapped at me and demanded my silence, I let my fury spill wide open. I yelled. I ripped cables cords out of the tv in response to him destroying my school work. I screamed. I called him names. I let it all out. Well, as much as I could. He overpowered me and physically hurt me.
I recall in my early twenties being so full of rage too. It just pissed me the fuck off that he walked the streets freely, arrogantly and without any care in the world. It pissed me off when I tried to get a restraining order against him because he showed up on my campus and would write me often and yet the police said he’d have to do something to me in order to proceed with a restraining order. I was so fucking angry, frustrated and I felt defeated.
And it seems, I turned that rage in towards me. I became self destructive. I became complacent, dismissive and lethal. Poison seeped out of every thought. I wanted all the pretty things in the world to be destroyed. I wanted to break things. I wanted to hurt people. I wanted to pitch the biggest fit anyone have every seen. I just wanted to get it out. There was someone deep inside of me, something small and wounded and hurt that grew into a monster. It was contained in my skin though. It lived inside of me and I just wanted it out.
What I hear from some people who experienced me during college was that I was “angry.” Yes, I had great times with great friends and I won’t belittle any of that. But beneath that, right before you got to my depression, there lived a very dark anger. My anger and rage put me in terrible situations and almost killed me. Luckily I experienced ways of dealing with my anger before it dealt me a final blow.
One, James Pyles yelled at god for me. It might seem simple to you or inconsequential but up until this point I had been raised to fear god. He was the almighty and in a second could cast me to hell. He was powerful and perfect and bigger than I could ever imagine. I was scared and furious as him but I couldn’t speak it outloud. James did though. He didn’t care about my fear. He yelled at god for me.
I think that’s needed. Underneath most rage, is a monster trying to defend something or reacting to something. It’s like an animal has been pushed against a corner and it is trying to survive. I think what’s needed when rage occurs in this manner is for you to have the courage to confront what scares you most.
The other thing I did because actualizing my violent fantasies would simply land me in jail…. was that I wrote. I wrote with a fury. Yes I went to counseling. Yes I worked on revamping my paradigm of thinking. Yes I talked to others. Channeled my pain. And yes I did many many other things too. But for me, the thing that helped with my extreme, nasty, venomous fury was writing. ..In journals and even on this blog. I wrote my anger out. I didn’t use filters. I didn’t care about rules or decorum. I just wrote my heart and my pain and my RAGE out.
The thing is RAGE can not live inside of you. It can’t make a permanent home there. It’s impossible. It can build up within you from pain, anger, frustration and victimization but the way rage works is that it gets bigger…even bigger than you and it is simply impossible to stay inside of you. It’s going to come out. The silver lining is that you can control how it comes out. Rage is not uncontrollable, contrary to what we’re lead to believe.
You can be full of rage and decide to hurt another person, thus you end up in jail.
You can be full of rage and decide to hurt yourself, thus you end up damaged or dead.
You can be full of rage and damage property, thus you become most wanted.
You can be full of rage and spit hate out into the world, thus you become an asshole.
You can do what ever you want with your rage. But you have to live with the debris that your rage leaves. That’s the killer. Anything that you destroy with your rage….you have to carry the pieces with you. Jagged, little fucked up pieces that cut you through the skin.
Being that writing had and continues to be the best way for my to express myself, I decided to write my rage out. I found the more I wrote, the less of it remained inside of me. And once I got pass that rage, which seemed to be the evil, big doppelganger version of the kid me, I found a little girl cowering in the corners of myself..wounded, hurting, scared, alone and needing so much love. There is something beneath all the rage and if you’re able to beat the odds and get that rage out in a legal way, you will find something else there that needs so much loving care.
What do you do with your RAGE? How do you express it? My favorite is to write the most evil letters that I will never send. Occasionally, on very rare occasions I do send them.
This month is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Every day I’ll be writing all types of posts regarding this issue and my personal experiences.
I create videos as a way to share my story. You can watch three related ones by clicking the titles below.
If you are a victim of abuse and assault and you would like to seek help or report your crime, please find all kinds of resources at RAINN. If you would like to share your story with me privately, be featured this month either publicly or anonymously or you just need an encouraging word, please shoot me an email at SheenaLaShay [at] Gmail [dot] com.
I write my heart out. You can read some of my musings by clicking the titles below.