What am I doing?
That’s a rock-solid question to ask yourself periodically when you feel lost. That is, the bad kind of lost. I’m currently lost in the sense that my lack of direction has taken a cloying turn. I blame no one but the moment, and even that I cut some slack. I am eternally unresentful of things.
It can be a challenge.
Hating nothing is impossible, this much is more or less verifiable; but it is always possible not to act on anger. If you get angry, you can hold it in, you can focus on it, you can restrict and vent, and shift. You do not have to get angry.
I don’t know what I am though, and that is Ok.
That non-sequitur is due, in part, to mal de vivre that people seem to be indulging in re: losing your shit over the tiniest little things repeatedly and outrageously. It would be callous for me to say that people flying off the handle is a bad response to things. I’m too amoral and morally relative to believe that expressions of Anger are “Bad”.
But man, there are, in point of fact, better ways to deal with these things.
Because the shitty truth is that people react to anger with a sense of fear; they react to it on the assumption that their life is threatened meaningfully: people react to anger with anger, to protect themselves. Even if it something as trivial as the fact that Bob Dylan’s music is fucking annoying (just an opinion, bro) and pretentious; to the more serious issues like “Black People have voices, fucking listen”.
When faced with someone yelling, the go-to is not “Oh, let me hear what this person has to say, parse it out thought by thought into its basest meaningful elements, and develop a cogent response that both factors in their feelings, and also re-iterates my level of agreement”: that is a trained response. You have to fight to learn it.
No, most people’s response to someone getting outraged is to what? Get defensive as hell. Even when their argument has no water.
I love humanity for the fact that it’s optimistic about the abilities and function of the brain. But most of our neuronal function is autonomic, and the parts of our brain that directly act against things like Anger, and Danger, and Threats is part of that autonomic segment: the part of your brain that doesn’t think consciously.
I get immensely frustrated, and exhausted, and drained by the attempts at rationalizing why anger is the only way to handle these things. Sure, the point may be accurate – it may even be necessary – but reacting with rage only induces a Fight or Flight response, no matter how fucking stupid Bob Dylan’s music is.
If anyone read this, I’d likely have a queue of 14 point comments about why the above statement is completely untrue, even though it is a.) my opinion, and therefore not an observable, falsifiable fact and b.) arguing about such trivial things is silly and non-sensical.
And this shit impacts me daily: I absorb anger and feeling like a sponge. Being around the enraged people is sort of like having someone sit on my amygdala making me want to shout. I don’t, because I have a modicum of self-control; but the point remains.
And that anger wheel, much like a child-star’s hedonic wheel – presses over its point of diminishing returns quickly, and leaves me exhausted. And then I get the shitty kind of lost.
Because when you’re tired, you wander, but you don’t control it.
There is beauty in getting lost, a fact on which I rhapsodize regularly, and passionately; there is beauty in asking questions; there is wonder in healthy skepticism; and there is value to the scientific method.
But god man, I’m growing to despise it all.
And it’s even worse because I know the fucking necessity of it. If I thought that all this anger was useless, I would probably have a legitimate hissy about calming the fuck down. But, I can’t. I can’t engage with it, because getting angry at people is not something I’m particularly good at, or find particularly useful.
Hell, I’m not even mad at the angry people. I’m just protecting the sense of ego that is under constant assault by the perpetual pessimism, and outrage.
Maybe that makes me a bad person, I don’t really know. And I get this way sometimes, so maybe I’m just in a bad mood; I freely admit that I am a contradictory creature of meaningful impulse, pulled in opposite directions practically daily.
But I know that Anger isn’t as useful as we want it to be. It’s too drug like, it feeds too many unquenchable fires.
I prefer, instead, compassion, and kindness, and empathy.
I prefer listening, and feeling what someone is saying. I prefer accepting the person as they are. I prefer finding a solution from my vantage that accounts for theirs. It can be done, I do it regularly, it’s part of my day job.
I don’t even know why I’m writing this, outside of a sense of redundance and exhaustion, which comes from the wrong kind of lost.
The sky is grey, and I’m walking somewhere, and I’ll be fine when I find the wrong turn I’ve been looking for. But for now, I’m just floating along in a perpetual state of exhaustion.
And I’m not sure why I’m doing it, but I know that I have to.