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Am I allowed to be angry in heartbreak?
I’ve always thought I had to play it cool. Move on with grace. Write about the pain I was in and how I’m learning how to heal and let go.
But the truth is, I’m not in any of those states right now.
I’m goddamn angry and you know what? I’m allowed to be.
Anger, especially in women, is one of those emotions we feel so much shame around. I remember, a few years ago, a therapist asked me, “What’s your history with anger?”
And I thought,
What a great title for a book:
A History of Anger.
I could talk about the times
I used to barricade myself in my room
As a little girl and scream
At my parents behind closed doors
I could talk about how that same anger
Turned to self-criticism as a teen
Angry with herself and the world
And I could talk about how
I stifle anger now as a young adult
Because women are told we can’t be
Too this, too that
Too much of anything.
Anger has just become
Another part of my history.
So yeah, I’m angry. I’m angry about not being treated how I deserve. I’m angry about not seeing the flags. I’m angry about the lying. I’m angry about the lack of communication—the lack of trying.
I’m angry at myself. I’m angry at men who continue to prove me right when I keep hoping they will prove me wrong.
And I know I’m not allowed to say that because “not all men,” but sit down with a group of women and they will only tell you stories of their heartache and pain.
I’m angry that it didn’t work out again. I’m angry that I thought I had it all together only to realize there’s still this hole in me I’m trying so hard to fill.
And maybe that’s really why I’m angry. Because this life is hard and there are too many convenient ways to make it “easier,” but then we find ourselves here, again, sitting alone with ourselves in our now chilly, one-window attic bedroom, in a country far away, and there is nowhere to go but within.
What I’m realizing is that anger is fuel. Anger is a lesson. I know I need to embrace this anger—not reject it.
So, I write. And remember that anger is here to teach me something. And maybe it always has been.
Hello, anger, you old friend. Let’s sit down for coffee.
“When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize that this is a very vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way. We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality.” ~ Pema Chödrön
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