Planet Angry

This week was a mindfuck. Forgive my crass language, but no other word captures the range of emotions that trampled me over the past couple of days.  (I am not going to go into specifics, but suffice to say, I was challenged in a manner I did not agree with, in a setting I did not agree with and, perhaps most importantly, on a premise I did not agree with.  As tempting as it is to share the details, I do have some parameters in my sharing that I must respect.)  For the first time since George has become Jessie, I allowed someone to put me in a position in which I began to question not only myself but, in classic Julie style,  every decision I have ever made in my entire life.  What if, what if, what if.

In the throes of this Valium necessitating episode, I went from sad to angry to self doubting to depressed to panicky and back to angry where I ultimately stayed.  This is highly unusual for me as my “go to” emotion (which often includes something fattening) is more often sadness than anger, particularly toward people who have, historically, anyway, been ardent supporters of me and my family.  When I realized that anger was prevailing, it was oddly comforting.

Over these past few days I have been thinking (mostly at three in the morning) about the various events which have landed me on Planet Angry.   I have shared the details of what happened with some of my closest confidants who, to a person, have agreed with my reaction.  It is important to note that each of them would have set me straight if they thought there was any setting to be done.  None of them did. Innately more self-confident than me, each one responded that they couldn’t imagine any emotion other than anger.   Hmmmmm.

I am as imperfect as the next guy.  I put up a good front and manage to pass myself off as being far more comfortable in my own skin than I really am.  It is a quality that drove my parents (and now my husband, brothers, and close friends) crazy.  (Not the good show, rather the internal struggle.)   I know because they have told me.  More than once.  On the flip side, I have always taken pride in my integrity and good judgment.  They are the two parts of my complicated self that I have never questioned and always maintained a high degree of confidence.  That is not to say that I always do or say the right thing, but I never jump into something without (over)thinking and/or (pre)worrying about it.  It was my brother Rob who pointed out to me why I was reacting with anger – it was because someone dared to do something that no one does to anyone in my family (we all pride ourselves on this) and lives to tell the tale:  they called into question both my judgment and my integrity and, worse yet,  as it relates to my kid.  Gloves off.   This is war.

I calmly confronted the person, addressed the situation and, in an uncharacteristic showing, never wavered on my position.  I held my ground and had the courage of my own convictions which is something my father used to drill into my head, but I never managed, until now, to master.  The good news is, I have come out of this feeling empowered and stronger.  I have not let someone else bully me into believing something that I don’t believe to be true.  I stopped questioning myself and, perhaps for the first time ever, am actually questioning someone else.  I stayed on Planet Angry without any excursions to Plant Sad or Planet Self-Doubting or even Planet May I Blew This One.  All were offering good deals, but none enticing enough to get me to visit.

I would imagine it sounds odd for me to be patting myself on the back for finding and holding onto anger, but it helps me to appreciate that I might just be achieving the only thing I have ever sought to accomplish: not only doing right by my kids, but knowing it.

I have packed my bags and am ready to leave Planet Angry and head for brighter spots.  But, unlike my arrival, my departure is on my terms, on schedule and no extra charge for baggage.  I plan on sleeping through the night without the benefit of a Valium and have a new level of comfort with myself that I hope sticks around.  And while I don’t have any immediate plans to return to Planet Angry, I know now that it is a fine place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.


21 thoughts on “Planet Angry

  1. I have always thought that anger gets a bad rap.if you’re right and you’ve been wronged you get to be angry… simple as that.. i find a little righteous anger feels mighty good every now and then…and you know i’m not an “angry’ person either.

    you know this shit is going to push lots of buttons and freak people out….gonna be a long ride…..
    Rock on Mama Lion
    Boots tomorrow or sunday?

  2. Even without knowing specifics (which of course no one else needs to know), It seems to me you reacted appropriately and within your personal and parental rights. It is just too bad you have suffered over it, for days & nights. Here’s hoping for fewer and fewer such episodes in your life. It probably made you stronger, as cliche as this sounds.

  3. As I’ve said, I don’t usually like to reply on these things. (Although I was tempted to post a response to Rick Santorum’s stance on birth control.)(Wherever I could.) Anyway, I’m calling you. Now.

  4. brilliant. absolutely brilliant. your heart is huge, your gift for writing phenomenal and your ability to express yourself moves me to want to do better in my own life.
    Thank you for sharing the pearls with all of us who cling to our own anticipation of reading and living your journey with you as we have courage to maybe do the same.

  5. Keep in mind that anger is a chemical response as well as an emotional one. My therapist has a big speil about the response of the amygdala in situations when one feels “threatened.” Nothing makes me more angry than something that threatens my kid. Nothing. I go from zero to sixty in a split second. My blood pressure goes up and suddenly the blood is coursing through my veins like millions of grains of sand. It takes most of the day for me to come down from this. Why should it be any different for you? It’s natural, it’s instinctual, it’s even healthy in some ways, and it’s your job. I think you should get a raise.

  6. I agree with all of the above. We feel a certain way and we get angry for a reason. It’s an honest and pure emotion that comes from a deep place. I never apologize for being angry though I may apologize, if it’s warranted and especially if I say ome really mean things. To get angry means we are human and more importantly because it means we deeply care about someone or something. I may not know what happened but I do know you … and I’d have your back too. Breathe in, breathe out and know it comes from a good place and move on. Xo

    • Fortunately, I kept my mouth in check which, admittedly, is not a given. I feel no need to apologize which seems to me a good sign…

  7. A therapist told me that Anger and Sadness are twins, which I totally get. Anger, I think though, is outward facing — and righteous anger a good thing, as Ellen points out, because it leads to action as yours did. Sadness though is inward facing — perhaps good for reflection but not change.

  8. Anger is an active emotion, and used appropriately, becomes the strength of assertive courage to stand in conviction against any challenge from the bullies in our lives. The latin root of ‘courage’ is ‘cor’, meaning ‘heart’. Your anger enabled you to act in a whole-hearted manner and in so doing ultimately gave you more strength and awareness.

    Well done and well written. Thank you for sharing your journey with the world. Vulnerability is also the trait of the strong and the whole-hearted and without it no connection is possible. Your blog, at first glance, may seem to be about one thing – the journey of being the mother of a transkid – but underlying it all, is the journey of a deeper awakening.


    • I agree wholeheartedly. The deeper I get into the blog, the less it is about transgender and the more it is about life. I have said in a few posts that one can replace the word “transgender” with any other issue they are facing and the truths stay the same.

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