Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Grief Cycle Part 2: Anger

The next step in the grief cycle is anger.  It’s understandable.  Probably one of the few things I understand the most about grief.  We didn't ask for this to happen.  We didn't want this to happen.  We didn't like what we had to do in order to get through it.   So why not be angry?  This is how I dealt with my anger.  That’s me on the far right in the blue and pink with a weird half clown mask on and green hair that was really icky and stringy.  And the others are the ones who helped me bleed this anger from me.  You’re probably wondering how that happened.   Well, this is how.

I have a bit of a temper.  I've always had it.  And I know exactly who I got it from, too.  In the fall of 2012, I was losing my grip on my temper.  I wanted to lash out at everyone who I came into contact with.  Family, friends, it didn't really matter.  I was just so angry and I wasn't sure where it was coming from or how to take care of it.  Remember, I had no idea at all that I was just going through the grief cycle.  To me, I was just angry.  I had lots of reasons to be angry.  But I hadn't settled on the one reason why.  And honestly, if I had known why, there wasn't really much that I could have done to solve it.  So I just stayed angry.

It had been about two years and three months since my child had been born when I finally turned and faced my anger head on.  My birthday is October 30th.  And before you worry over the fact that I didn't get to be a Halloween baby, don’t worry.  My birthday is the same as my late grandfather’s, and for the last five years of his life, I was the apple of his eye.  In 2012, I was turning 30.  I was turning 30 on the 30th of October.  I thought to myself, “I have to do something different this year.  This is never going to happen again.”  People suggested the usual: sky diving (fear of heights), river rafting (can’t swim), go to Vegas (with my addictive personality???).  All of them I turned down.  No, my sights were set on something better and stranger.

My first best-ex was working at a theater in Atlanta and they were putting on a charity haunted house and needed people to dress up and scare people.  I don’t really like haunted houses, mostly because of the scare factor and my amazing ability to get startled very easily.  However working a haunted house, that was something entirely different.  I knew exactly where all the scares were.  I saw everything in the light of day; long before night fell and the black lights came on.  I knew where everything was and knew what to expect.  On top of that, I got to scare people while wearing funky costumes.  And this is where I drained my anger.

On my birthday night, I was dressed as a mad clown with two fake wooden knives and got three scares.  I popped out of a curtain, peered out from behind a spinning wheel with a fake clown nailed to it brandishing my wooden knives, and then popped out of a small box.  Each time cackling to the innocent patrons that they would never get out alive and threatening to nail them to the spinning wheel.  Somewhere in the first couple of nights, before my birthday show, I realized that doing stuff like this is a gentle form of violence.  People were giving us money to walk into this place and get yelled at and growled at and startled and scream and run for the exits wherever they may be.  And I dived into it with a vengeance.  I yelled, I snarled, I threatened, and I directed every ounce of anger in me at the people who came near my spots.  By the end of Halloween night, I was exhausted and my temper finally appeased.

I managed to get lucky and direct my anger in a very positive way.  Well, at least one can call it positive.  We were raising money for a no-kill pet shelter and a day home for the elderly so they could hire teachers and get craft supplies.  And once I took off the mask and put down the fake knives, my scaring days were over until the next haunted house I could find.  But there’s a variety of ways to express anger that don’t involve evil clowns.

Breaking tiles to make mosaics, ripping paper to make collages, writing very angrily and hopefully not breaking the keyboard as you type, or just finding a safe place in which to scream at everything that is making you hurt.  Whatever you have to do, I hope you find something to get the anger out of you so it doesn't fester.  Being angry all the time is really an exhausting way to be.  Trust me.  I was angry for a solid six months before I finally got it all out.  And I don’t suggest staying angry for that long.

How do you deal with anger?


  1. Thank you for posting the first two steps in the cycle. I am so unsure where I am at this point and It is nice to read that I am not the only one who has felt the things I have been feeling or have felt the past two years. I look forward to reading the next installment.

    1. So sorry I'm so late in answering you. And believe me, I understand being unsure about where you are in dealing with something like this. I didn't figure it all out until I was deep into it as I have said. And I can assure you, you are not the only one who has been feeling like this. I have known many in the same boat. Hope you are doing well!!