It changes him. Changes him beyond recognition.
I look back at the man I was ten years ago and I hardly find any resemblance, any similarities. Who was that person? Who is this person that I am today?
I was filled with restrained, suppressed anger. It felt like a fire burning in the pit of a volcano’s stomach, awaiting eruption.
I could be the most calm, quite, nicest person one minute. And a switch would flip and I’d become this scary, destructive agent of anger.
Mind you, I never hurt anyone physically with my anger bursts. Only emotionally. Which I realize now that it could be worse than the physical damage.
I’d punched walls, kicked in doors, smashed windows, broken things. The only bone I ever broke in my body was when I throw my fist at the wall. I was in pain for days but I never said anything, didn’t even realize I’d broken a finger under I finally caved in and went for a check up at the hospital.
Another time, more recently, I’d smashed my hand against a table so hard that it left a wide gash open. I sat down fuming, with my hand trembling, until my terrified mother noticed the red liquid dripping out of my hand and into the carpet.
My dad took me to the hospital that day. And I could sense the pain and concern in his voice. “It’s not worth it, son,” he kept pleading, “Nothing is worth a drop of your blood. Nothing.”
I wanted to calm him and tell him it’ll be all right. I kept whispering sorry, but I don’t think he heard me.
My hand needed four stitches. When the doctor asked me what happened, I hesitated and came up with a lame lie about an incident with a door. It was very clear that he didn’t buy it, but played along regardless.
But in all my fists of rage and anger, I never once laid a finger on anyone. I never even had the urge to hurt anyone. It’s because I now realize that I was always ever angry at myself, for failing myself, for not being in control of the situation. And it’s that feeling that drives me to doing things that hurt me instead.
What did that teach me? Where did all that go?
In comparison, I now feel tamed. Like a wild beast that’s been broken by a beast master for his final circus act. The burning fire reduced to nothing more than a fading flame. Was that what drove me? Passion? Fire? With it gone, am I not the same person?
On the other hand, with the anger gone I can sometimes see things more clearly. In a sense, I am now more confident, more aware, of myself. I am now okay with not having control over everything. I am now okay with letting things go. Often, it feels as if a part of me has died inside. But now, for better or worse, I can simply dismiss such a feeling and move on.
Maturity? Is that what you would call it? Perhaps. You can see it as defeat, or victory. As hope, or despair. I no longer care. It no longer matters.
I have the scars of anger to prove that it had been part of who I was.
Once you accept that you cannot control everything. The people you love, and who love you. Your future. Your day. If your boss likes you or not. Or if you have the right job to begin with. If you accept that those are things that do not define you as a person, you’ll come to the conclusion that everything you thought was a fundamental part of who you were, is truly not. That every rule you’ve imposed on yourself, you yourself can break.
I will drink what I want.
I will smoke what I want.
I will sleep with whomever I desire.
I will pray for whatever god I believe in.
I will beome a good man.
The right man.
The last man.
The only man.
And if the day returns wherein I find myself corners and out of control, my repressed anger about to unleash itself upon the world around me, I will close my eyes, open my arms, and fall into my own peaceful abyss.