I get angry. More often than I’d like to admit. You can’t really tell by looking at me. Most of the time, I can’t even tell. But if I take a moment. Stop. Close my eyes. Listen. Really listen. I can hear it bubbling, just below the surface. A low hum, a slow rumble. Easy to miss. Easier to ignore.
Me? Angry? Other people get angry. I’m the stress-free, fearless, easygoing gal, right? Wrong. When the bag of chips hit the proverbial fan, it became crystal clear that I had been angry for many, many years. I now know that anger, for me, is just fear in disguise: fear of being alone, broke, sick, unloved and unloveable. It took me a while to figure it out. So long in fact, that by then I was a full-blown junk food junkie and cancer statistic. So now what do I do?
First things first. I had to find a way to connect my brain to my body. (Shout out to Louise Hay, Florence Scovel-Schinn and Joseph Murphy. Thank you!!) It’s a work in progress but I am getting better at it. For example, last week, I was standing in the middle of a crowded supermarket with my daughter. One sentence was all it took. Something meaningless. Completely matter-of-fact. Something I thought I was completely over (apparently not). It happened in an instant. Spontaneous combustion. Images of Will.E.Coyote flashing before my eyes. A trail of powder catching fire and setting me aflame. Hands gripping the shopping cart’s handle so tightly I was surprised my fingers had not been permanently grooved into it. One big POOF and where I was once standing, a small pile of ash on the floor.
The next day, it happened again! This had to be God checking up on me to make sure I wasn’t getting too self-righteous: “So you actually believe you are over this?” said God chuckling. “Well, we’ll just see about that…”.
Anger and cancer are best friends. As are fear and cancer. Feelings of not being good enough and cancer. Cancer loves misery. It thrives on it. We’re not talking the occasional “that guy just cut me off on the freeway” moment but an almost-permanent and quasi-invisible state. Most of us are never fully aware of it until cancer hits. But once we see, we can’t unsee. And that’s a beautiful and scary thing. We have to learn how to live, all over again. Start from scratch, so to speak.
Have I gotten better at recognizing, facing and handling anger? I’d like to think so. I write more, talk more, share more, love more, forgive more and definitely pray more. Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could just start my life over, make different choices, be somebody else. But then I remember to pause and look around. Then I see it. All of it. How incredibly blessed and lucky I am.
Anger is Fear in disguise.
What are you afraid of?
Love everyone. Judge no one.