When I first glided into my 40s back in 2012 I was super chill. I thought, finally, I have reached the age where I just do not care. I have no fucks to give. I’m gonna live and let live and all sort of other woowoo bullshit that has not come to pass.
My guess is that lasted until about November 2016. I don’t know. It seems everything pre-November 2016 is a fuzzy-focused, cloudy dream. Was there a time when I wasn’t angry all the time about everything?
Part of my problem is that I really denied myself anger for a very long time. I grew up in an angry, tinder-box family where it wasn’t out of character for a family event to erupt in shouty-tears or fist fights. I thought anger was a tick tick boom sort of emotion. When you are a kid that’s quite distressing and keeps you guarded and on watch at all times.
Throughout my life, my anger rarely boomed, and when it did explode I just ended up feeling shittier than I had before.
But now my anger is there all the time, right next to me like a shadow. It doesn’t tick and the booming is more the volume of my diatribe than an explosion in the face of someone specific, though there are specific people I’m angry at. Unfortunately, those I am angry at rarely appear in my life and when they do I keep the anger at bay because peace for my family is more important than me discharging. And also, I cut out the others who make me angry, which really doesn’t stop me from repeating “I HAVE A LOT OF ANGER ABOUT THAT.”
When I talk to my friends they frequently trip the landmine of my anger and then I am off, a breathless, scathing, burning torrent of words rush from my mouth and then when I am done, spent, I’m all, “whoa, that was really close to the surface.”
Since so many of my friends are also 40something women they are right there with me. They too are angry. All the time, about all the things: sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, dudes being dudes, student loans, Turnip, impeachment, rape culture, the patriarchy, beauty myths, the pink tax, the lack of adequate research on perimenopause, the cost of living, all of the 90s — but specifically Joe Biden’s treatment of Anita Hill, Bernie Sanders and the erasure of Elizabeth Warren from political coverage, how Hostess Ding Dongs are gross now, Republicans, BoJack Horseman’s cancellation, the inability to sleep through the night, and how pie is gross.*
But here’s my real issue, what do you do with anger? I don’t know what to do with it, which kind of pisses me off.
*some of these are things only I am angry about.