I'm pissed off.
It's true. I'm angry most of the time. Only those in my most inner most circle know this about me because they're usually the ones bearing the brunt of it. I've known this about myself since my teen years. I thought I'd grow out of it but I didn't. Most folks would never guess this about me for one reason; my smiling mask.
I'm angry about everything, from things I've done to things that God has done. I'm pissed that it took us seven years to conceive. I'm angry that my father died when I was 26 years old. I'm ripped that people promise me things and cannot follow through. It gets my blood boiling that people think that they can hurt you and twenty years later emerge back into your life and expect that you forgot how you weren't good enough in the first place. And it's not just the big stuff that pisses me off. I'm upset over how my husband took the garbage out last night. I'm mad that the dog just dug another hole in the yard. I'm furious that the wind ripped the canopy to my swing. I can go from grouchy to down right pissed off at the drop of a hat. And watch out when I get past that point of no return. It may take me hours to regroup myself.
Once when I was a pre-teen I was having an issue with a kid in school and was confiding in my beloved "Gram". She told me that I was going to be one of those people who can't think of a rebuttal when someone slights you until after that person has walked away. She was right. When you come from a home where your Polish father never got angry unless it mattered and your Sicilian mother was yelling all the time, you are pretty much guaranteed to not know when anger is appropriate.
Once, at my first job out of college, two of my employees were fighting. Brawling right on the floor. They were both large grown men and I was a little girl in heels and I had to break them up. I got so angry I had hives on my chest for 3 days.
After that hive incident I realized that I had a problem but I had no tools or guidance on how to fix it. So I basically wandered through my early adult life trying to figure out how to not be angry. Then I was diagnosed with psoriasis; a non-contagious skin condition that covers most of your body. Any holistic health practitioner will tell you that psoriasis is your body's way of protecting you from getting hurt. It is literally a shield that your body puts up to block out emotional pain. I couldn't figure out how to handle my completely human anger so I stuffed it in and my body responded, brilliantly.
I have floundered in this space of being angry, not understanding anger, and not knowing how to handle it for the better part of my adult life. After I began Yoga, I think I just figured that somehow the anger would dissolve in the practice, when actually the Yoga has shown a spotlight on it. I mentioned this to a healer I had been working with a few years ago and she told me that anger is a result of poor boundaries. This was like a kick in my gut. You mean I am causing my own anger?!? What the frick? This made me even angrier! That comment, even though it pissed me off, made me stop and reflect: Do I really have such weak boundaries that I allow people to do things that cause me such anger?
The answer is yes.
I'm a people pleaser. I just want to make you happy. I want you to like me. I don't want to make any decision that will hurt or upset you. I'll give you everything and leave nothing for myself. It's just how I am. It's a defect in my character. Now that I am a mother, often I am forced to make decisions that will upset someone. (Cue the big anger.) But I am working on it. I acknowledge this about myself and that truly is the hardest part of the battle. How do you maintain a loving, giving nature and yet be able to set strong enough boundaries with people you love and with people you work with so that everyone is happy??
I intellectually know you can't please everyone but my dosha (Ayurvedic constitution) wants to do something else. It has only been in the last couple of years where I've begun to take care of myself and worked on not feeling guilty about it. But there is still the boundary issue. I'm working on that too. I promised myself that when my husband gets home I will "calmly" ask him to not take the trash out like he did last night (piled on top of my Yoga gear in the back of my car). We'll see how it goes.... Part of the issue is my Sicilian temperament compiled with my kaphic dosha. Sicilians are not typically known for their level headed-ness....ahem. And kaphas tend to be people pleasers. Kaphas are made up of the earth and water elements. When you put earth and water together you get mud. When you step in mud, you go squish. There's the boundary issue. Are you following me here?
So the bottom line is this: I know I have this challenge in my life. I'm working on it. And that's the best most of us can do. We all have our challenges. I'm sure I'm not alone with the anger challenge. I'm going to work on not beating myself up after one of of my "past the point of no return" episodes. I'm going to reflect back after one of these episodes to see what caused the issue to start with. I'm going to work on taking care of me, too. I'm working on letting go of guilt when I do take care of myself. I'm going to work on setting boundaries with people that give me room. I'm going to work on letting go of guilt when I make a decision that is in my best interest and not yours. And I'm working on learning to feel good when I'm not angry.....
Damn! I've got a lot of work to do....but I'm still smiling!