Find your rage! 👿 and other things I’ve misheard

Apr 10, 2022
Knight kicking a dragon in the butt, with the caption,

The second my friend picked up the phone, I blurted out, “I need you to talk me out of calling my ex and ripping him a new asshole.”

This anger is swirling in me right now, in fact, as I type. My heart rate is elevated, my fingers are banging the keys so they’re clacking in a satisfactory way. With some deep breathing I can articulate lyric insults like Prince Harry in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, shaking my fist and shouting alone in my apartment, “Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool!” Yet that high-brow stuff doesn’t last long and I soon devolve into my three-year-old nephew’s vocabulary — eventually all I can muster is, “gah, he’s a stupid head!”

Anger makes me “hear things” too. Take for example, the exercise class I was in a few years ago. I was still deeply in the emotional armpits of my divorce - we’re talking crying in hopeless despair one second, spitting tacks the next. The instructor stood at the front of the mirrored room at 6:15 am demanding deeper lunges, another thirty squats. My leg muscles were strained to the max after months of self pity and lethargy, the music was blaring, my face was beet-red from exertion, and she barked out over it all, “FIND YOUR RAGE!”

I dug into the depths of my soul and did one more squat, yelling right out loud cause I DID HAVE RAGE and HOW DID SHE KNOW?!?

Except.

The instructor didn’t say rage. She said range. “Find your RANGE.”

Well. I guess that revealed my state of mind, eh?

Which brings me back to today. The story I’ve been telling myself is that I’m mad as hell about this specific thing that happened. But what am I hearing through my red-with-injustice ears that might not stand up to scrutiny? I think the word I need for this feeling is more nuanced than anger.

It’s disappointment.

Have you ever been disappointed by someone? When someone you respect acts in a way contrary to what you thought their values were? It jarred me. I am upset not just because of the immediate action, but what it implies about this person’s character.

And then comes the self-reflection… How did I miss the clues? Have they been like this the whole time? What else have I been missing?

From my limited time on this planet, I’ve concluded that disappointment is worse than any other feeling. It’s so complicated and for me, it lasts a long time. How to proceed from here? Should we write someone out of our lives because they do something that hurts? How many chances do they get?

For now, I’m accepting that these are my emotions. Naming them has actually helped quite a lot. Also, I hope you’re as proud of me as I am of myself: I did not call my ex. It would not have resulted in a good outcome, and he would have been distracted from the matter at hand by my calling him a “stupid head.”

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“Divorces are 80% emotional, 10% legal, 10% financial,” divorce attorney Nanci Smith tells us in my course Fresh Start. We hear from a financial planner, a marriage and family counselor, and a psychologist about what we need holistically to move forward in our divorce journey. I invite you in.

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PS: It’s weird to be holding space for my strong emotions and feeling proud of my business, but here we are. I am ecstatic that Vermont Women’s Fund featured PurplCouch this week: check it out.

PPS: What to do with this rage-turned-disappointment? Hell if I know. Write me back if you’ve got the answers, or a story of your own.

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