A friend of mine, who deserves sainthood for the many times she talked me off the ledge over the course of a single week, told me that holding on to my anger was giving away my power, that my fury hurt no one but me. That by carrying it around, I was giving those I thought were in the wrong something they didn't deserve to have. I was wasting my energy rehashing what happened, thinking of things I wished I'd said or done differently.
My friend is such a composed person, and knotted up as I was, I knew I needed to get myself back to that kind of calm. We were sitting outside talking late one evening, and there was an ashtray on the table in between us. She suggested I write the names of anyone I was upset with or hurt by on little slips of paper and burn them. I did. It didn't help. I wrote and burned again. Drew little cartoon pictures and burned those too. The pyromaniac side of me was having a blast.
Sometime during the second sheet of paper, I realized the worst of my knots had untied.
It felt a little like magic, but I know it wasn't. It was a willingness to let it go. And a readiness.
While reading about the powers and dangers of anger, I ran across many pithy quotes that say it so well.
"Anger ventilated often hurries toward forgiveness, and concealed often hardens into revenge." -- Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
"Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die." -- Malachy McCourt
"Get mad. Then get over it." -- Colin Powell
But the one that hits the closest to home is from Gloria Steinem:
"The truth will set you free. But first, it'll piss you off."
Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinful...@gmail.com.