I am fed up, frustrated, and so angry that I want to rip the skin off the face of our planet Earth and pummel what is underneath with my bare hands. Don’t tell me, “Oh, Barbara, don’t be so upset, it’s not that bad.” Or, “There are billions of people in the world worse off than you. You’re lucky by comparison.” No pity parties for me either, please. And don’t tell me that talking about my anger is a bad thing, that I should keep it to myself.
I am totally pissed. The worst part is that there’s no one who legitimately deserves my anger at whom I could feel righteous in directing it. Being angry at life in general does me no good. And I am pissed about that, too.
But anger left inside untreated festers and, like sepsis, destroys life. It poisons the soul, spreads to other people, or causes the one with it to numb out all emotions so as not to feel the anger, leading to depression and paralysis. I don’t want to explode. I don’t like being numb. Some days I just want to give up but I don’t even know what giving up would look like. So, I damned well better figure out what to do with this bubbling rage or find some answer that will change my life.
Why am I so angry? Because another straw landed on this camel’s back. I am sick (pun intended) of dealing with an increasing number of health problems. First heart, then lungs, then smog sensitivity. That was bad enough. Now I also have adrenal insufficiency (diagnosed one year ago), periodic vertigo (probably BPPV but diagnosis still pending); and cascading chemical sensitivity (probably triggered by exposure to toxic mold a few years ago and exasperated by air pollution). I bought a cane last week to help me walk safely, I am not driving until I can again walk in a straight line. I am detoxifying my house. Beam me up, Scottie. I am ready to scream.
In Markings, his journal published posthumously, Dag Hammarskjöld’s writes, “We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny. But what we put into it is ours. He [sic] who wills adventure will experience it — according to the measure of his courage. He who wills sacrifice will be sacrificed — according to the measure of his purity of heart.”
I am not living the frame I would choose, but it is the one I have. I can usually fill it with resilience, love, strength, goodness, courage, joy, faith, and sometimes even inspiration for others. I can’t get rid of the health problems that comprise my frame, but I can choose how to live with them. Right now the colors of my palette are gray and muddy brown. But I am trying — really hard — to clear away the layers of anger, frustration and impotence so I can paint again with the yellow, orange, purple and green of a new day. I will fill my frame again with joy and love, laughter and hope, and goodness beyond myself,