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do you rant?

August 3rd, 2007

“Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.”

— Lucius Annaeus Seneca, philosopher (BCE 3-65 CE)

Seneca, you were smart! You philosophers — isn’t that the way it always goes? I am smart, too. I am trying to be 1) consistent 2) not angry 3) more patient. With the traffic, with the kids, with the weather, in my relationships. With the stuck-up pool ladies. (No, I’m not saying which pool. But here’s a clue to help narrow it down: The one with the most Stepford Wives. “…one of these things/is not like the other/one of these things/just doesn’t belong…” Can you guess? The thing that doesn’t belong is me.)

I’ve been staring at this blank page for about an hour now. It’s too hard, writing about stress and anger. It stresses me out, writing about stress. It angers me, writing about anger.

“Don’t take away my rage-ahol!” — Homer Simpson

So, my anger-reducing techniques:
1) I’m trying not to yell and shout at people, even though they’re dumbasses. (Next step: Being More Respectful of People and Not Calling Them Dumbasses. Or Asshats. Or Assclowns.) (God, anger problem or what? Argh.)

2) I go the speed limit in town. On the freeway, I tend to speed. So I’m watching it. But in town I’m pretty good about going the speed limit. It keeps me sane and my blood pressure down. Other drivers are not pleased, especially in school zones. Why go 20-30 when you can go 50? They also don’t like when I let pedestrians have the right of way, or stop to let other drivers get into traffic. (No, I don’t stop every single time I could, but I do stop frequently.)

My take on it: If you stop at pedestrian crossings to let walkers walk, if you let in other drivers at side streets, if you don’t run over moms, dads, kids and pets — it brings you good juju. You actually get we’re you’re going faster than if you’re speeding along, shaking your fist or your finger at other drivers.

(I have been driving a lot this summer.)

(It’s not my favorite thing.)

(And yes, of course I can see the other drivers’ point: School is not in session! Drive fast through school zones! But we have some year-round schools here, and summer school, and people playing at the school playgrounds, and having free lunch, school pools, and Stepford Wives… Year-round, schools attract kids.)

3) Eating right, drinking enough water, exercising. Boring and simple, but it works.

4) Taking deep breaths, pausing before speaking, asking people to clarify if I misunderstand.

5) I garden. It’s a good work-out and I like when our yard when it looks pretty. It’s therapeutic, being around all that soft, soothing green. The honeysuckle, the hummingbirds, the 7-foot-tall corn… it’s relaxing.

6) I’ve been to the chiropractor a couple of times recently, for my banged-up neck. I also went a few times, a few months ago, but I really do not like going to see any doctors. Not even when I desperately need to. Between the thyroid problems (I have to get my bloodwork done every two months or so. I hate it), and the pregnancies, and the increased thyroid freak-outs because of the pregnancies, oh, and there was all the nursing and the huge weight loss (see: thyroid problems and nursing)…

…the kids’ pediatrician visits, the dentist visits — I really hate seeing medical health professionals. I also dislike picking up prescriptions now, too. (Pharmacist: “You had prescriptions? I don’t see them on the shelf, but we can call the doctor for you…”)

And taking the kids with me to the doctor’s, for my own visits? Ha. Talk about stress. It seems a little unreasonable to me to ask my husband please pretty please will you take half a day off work so my chiro can play with my neck or I can go for a physical so they can tell me I’m too stressed. And that I need to lose some weight. (I dropped it after I had our daughter — fifty pounds in two months! Ask me how! Then gained it back.)

I was trying to see a counselor for awhile — Sorting Out Issues Involving Family. (Subtopic: Are All Families Crazeee? Sub-sub topic: Is There Any Hope?) That was a joy. By the time I dropped the kids at school/sitter’s/playdate and raced across town and found parking/ran up stairs/or waited for elevator, I was more stressed than before I scheduled the visit.

(And honestly? When your family has a history of suicide, you should see the way therapists’ eyes light up. It’s a little creepy.)

Then, ahhhh — an hour of talk-therapy. All good! Then everything in reverse — race down stairs/or wait for elevator, remember where I parked the car, run and get kids… whoomph! Stress back again. Do/undo. Undo/do. Pick up the toys/toys get scattered. Toys get scattered/pick up toys. Rinse and repeat. What is the point? I know, I’m making excuses.

“Marge, don’t discourage the boy! Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals! (pause) Except the weasel.” — Homer Simpson

(Is there anyone more quotable than Homer J.?)

Where was I? She’s a miracle worker, this chiro. Did I ever blog about this business with my neck? I have sinus problems, so I had a CAT scan done to make sure everything was OK. It was — but the techs hyper-extended my neck while they were positioning me for the scan, and it sprained my neck. That was a year ago in June and it still hurts like a mo-fo. And it makes me angry, because I hurt, basically, all the time. Yoga helps, the exercises the doctor gave me, those help — when I remember to do them, acupuncture helps… Advil helps. Not being angry and tense and holding it all in my shoulders and neck helps.

What do you think? Does anger help sometimes, or hurt? What do you do to avoid it? Or do you let it loose? I don’t mean violence, or shouting. I mean ranting, I guess. Venting. Being so frustrated you can’t find your words.

Does anger make more anger? Does it help? It seems like anger just makes me angrier.


(PS — I’m reading a great book, courtesy of the Lovely Suzanne. “His Lovely Wife,” by Elizabeth Dewberry. It’s about a woman, staying at the Paris Ritz with her husband, who is confused for Princess Diana — who is there with Dodi Fayed.

a short excerpt:

Several of them were still taking my picture. Maybe they were just bored, or maybe every man who was photographing me — and they were all men — was doing it because he figured the other photographers knew who I was and that I was worth photographing. But the attention felt different now, like the difference between being elbowed by a stranger and being bumped accidentally by a man you know, but not well, and you say, I’m sorry, as if you didn’t mean for it to happen, which you didn’t, and he touches your arm and says, Are you okay? as if he did. You’re fine, you tell him, looking him in the eye. And he smiles as if he’s thinking that yes, you “are” fine, and you realize he’s still touching your arm, and you don’t pull away.

Later, when you look back on the moment, you smile to yourself and think, — Nothing happened.

Which is only partly true.

Give it a read, it’s good.

And comment about the anger thing, if you’d like.


  1. LIB says

    Something I read that has stuck with me: ‘FEEL-DEAL-HEAL’. When there’s an issue to deal with-a lose, difficult person, etc. one must FEEL whatever it is (anger, sorrow,etc.); then DEAL with it (in a healty way: journaling-blogging counts, screaming into a pillow, exercising) ; then one can HEAL. But one needs to feel & deal before one can heal.

    BTW, I’m reading with DearReader also. I really like ‘His Lovely Wife’.

    August 3rd, 2007 | #

  2. Worker Mommy says

    Do I rant ? What kind of question is that! It’s what I do best ;)

    I guess I should heed some your “advice” here.

    August 3rd, 2007 | #

  3. megs says

    My advice: It all gets better after menopause. Oh…and stop listening to KISS! What do you expect? They get you all riled up. And they are so passe. Gypsy punk rock…now that’s where it’s at. Gogol Bordello is coming to Portland August 31.

    August 4th, 2007 | #

  4. Hope says

    Anger can be good. More people should be angry about some of the things that we could change, like the policies of our school board and the Portland Schools Foundation which result in a racially and economically segregated public school system. If more Portlanders were angry that our school district provides a lower-quality public education for low income and minority kids than for the richer white kids, then the school board and other leaders would have to improve the system.

    I like your anger remedy list. For me, I put reading at the top of the list. Books and your blog. (Thank you for your blogs about schools.) Actually though, one of your blogs did trigger a minor panic attack. It was the one about all the housecleaning tasks we’re supposed to do before having overnight guests. It was a looooooong list of all these essential tasks, and you made it sound so routine and simple. I felt like absolute failure. But generally, your blog is a good stress-reliever.

    Also to reduce my anger and stress level, I’ve learned not to waste time trying to reason with Portland School Board members, Portland Schools Foundation staff, or middle class white parents who think their children deserve a better public education than minority or low-income students who live in the same schools district, or sometimes even the same neighborhood. I put my energy directly into the public schools that need it instead.

    August 4th, 2007 | #

  5. Daisy says

    I rant. And I garden. Gardening is very therapeutic.

    August 5th, 2007 | #

  6. trope says

    ranting is good for the soul. trust me.

    August 5th, 2007 | #

  7. My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving says

    Sigh, yes I rant. And I spew. Ranting isn’t so bad, but the spewing hurts those around me. I am working on it.

    August 6th, 2007 | #

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