28 October 2007

V Is For Vendetta

Nope, Kiddies, don't let the title fool ya. This isn't about either the Neil Gaiman graphic novel, "V For Vendetta", nor its recent film adaptation, neither of which I've read or seen.

Nope, this is about something more important to me, and that's how angry and bitter I can get, and for how long I can hold onto such poison.

This was prompted by a response I made earlier to-day to a poem posted by my friend Pie about a marriage gone very sour on her MySpace blog.

There's an axiom, "Bitterness can be cathartic" in italics on the very top of the entry, before the poem's text begins, and, in my response to the poem, which I rather liked, I said that I couldn't agree with that notion, as well as stating what I liked best about the poem.

In her response to that, plus a couple of later ones, this evening, Pie stated that she found working the bitterness out of one's system, which I had not understood to be the meaning of that axiom, by acknowledging it, getting it down on paper and exorcising it from one's system, can be and is tremendously cathartic.

In my response to that, I said that I agree with that, said that I had not understood that to be her meaning, and made my apologies for having mis-understood that.

In the short time between writing that response, checking out my e-mail accounts, going to two on-line forums to which I regularly contribute, and returning here, I got the notion to write a little piece about my own anger, bitterness and other such qualities, as I don't feel I often give voice to them, which is perhaps a mistake.

I am not going to, however, dish out any dirt on individuals, groups or institutions that I dislike, or have felt hurt by in the past or present.

That would take far too long, and be far too hurtful to others, for me to do that.

Instead, I'm going to write, briefly and incompletely, about my own feelings of bitterness, anger and their associated emotions to give you some idea of what they can be like, and, in a way, to possibly, if only temporarily, unburden myself of some of that very raw, negative energy.

First off, I have a very quickly reactive temper, and, am if not careful, my injudicious expression of it, especially through profanity, blasphemy, personal insults, and, at times, even in the recent past, using physical force on those who hurt and anger, can result in great discomfiture or harm to others and, most especially, to myself.

There's a part of me that likes to think I'm ten feet tall, 300 pounds of sheer muscle, and that can, in the words of John L. Sullivan, the 1890's boxing champion, "lick any son-of-a-bitch in the house".

Ha, ha, ha, don't you be-LI-eve it, 'cos am only 5'10, approximately 150 pounds or so, never been in shape, and am a shitty fighter on my best days.

I can also be a considerable coward, when I want, as I hate either verbal or physical confrontations.

Why, 'cos, with either one, am afraid of being hurt and of losing family members, close friends and even acquaintances as a result of whatever stupidities I might say or do while angry.


Hell, no.

But, I hope, an honest admission of weakness and folly, and, in my book, it counts far more to be honest, especially with oneself, than to present a bright shining lie(to borrow the title of Stanley Karnow's biography of the late John Paul Gann)to the world and myself, have everyone believe it, then take the merited pain, shame and disgrace of being exposed as a bright shining fraud.

There have been so many times in my life where I've often felt slighted, rejected, humiliated, suckered, and metaphorically(never literally, Thank God)spat, pissed and shat upon by family members, friends, enemies and acquaintances, and have been so frustrated and angry about those incidents, even years and decades after their happening, that I can work myself up into a nice volcanic rage, combined with the worst aspects of an adult reaction(aka the grown-up version of a temper tantrum).

I can even do this while watching characters in films or on tv shows saying or doing something that I consider to entirely unjustified, unwarranted and unfair, and I can project myself mentally into the film or show to give the richly merited, and viscerally nasty punishments I feel they so richly deserve.

My heart's pumping,and adrenaline's flowing as I work myself into a lather(Hydrophobia!!!! Hydrophobia!!! Mad Man!!! Mad Man!!!)just contemplating and enjoying the imaginary power I would have to dole out the most vicious imaginary punishments to imaginary suckers who ain't on the up and square, and that's where the horribly addictive nature of that kind of thought and behaviour comes into play.

Adrenaline's an extremely powerful neuro-chemical, as it has to be, considering its vital role in helping stimulate flight-or-fight responses in humans and animals. If it weren't, our distant ancestors would have gone extinct due to being someone else's snacky-poo or din-din on the plains of East Africa long, long ago, and none of us would be here to-day.

Now, I've not read up on what other neuro-transmitters or other neuro-chemicals, or neuro-chemical reactions, do, either separately or in interaction with adrenaline when one's angry, frightened, etc.

But, from the fly-speck of knowledge I've picked up about adrenaline and its role in human neuro-chemically generated emotional reactions(There's a mouthful, if ever I wrote one!!), and from using that dimple on a pimple on a flea's bum worth of information to analyse my own reactions, I'd say what I've read and heard about adrenaline's properties are quite true, and that it is quite addictive stuff indeed.

Could be entirely wrong about the matter, but I don't think so.

Either way, there's nothing quite like the high of either wanting to kick, actually kicking and stomping, or even just imagining kicking and stomping someone's ass right into the dirt, and leaving nothing but a lil' ol' greasy spot behind for me, and that's what makes it so dangerous for me as well.

It's a powerful high that, even more so than most prescription or street drugs, can generate an intense and long-lasting neuro-chemical flow to those areas of the brain affected by it, and can be done so at will, and boy, do I have a LOT of will!!!

But, its aftermath can be pretty ugly too, especially when I realise that, like it or not, I am going to have to live with everything I've thought, said and done while in that state, if not for the rest of my life, then for a long time afterwards, at least.

Self-centred of me???

Yes, it is. But, the fact that I know that am gonna haveta live with the consequences of whatever I say and do, in one way or another, and I like having my self-respect and not having to feel like a complete schmuck, thanks a lot.

I can be one, if I want.

But, ain't powerful enough, in whatever sense of the word you may care to name, to ward off, at least, not for-ever, the responsibility and remorse for whatever deeds and actions I carry out while frustrated or angry.

It's perhaps that awareness, and there are times that I can either ignore it or lose it completely, of the fact that my mind and body can't necessarily cash the cheques my ego(Leggo my ego, you!!! LOL)sometimes likes to write.

Now, as for bitterness and all the rest of the good shit(heavy on the sarcasm there, if you please)that goes with it, well, whether I like it or not, that is my burden to bear.

Does it mean letting myself stew in isolation and frustration???

God, I hope not, as am isolated and frustrated enough for my taste already.

Instead, and I could be wrong here, folks, it means doing the best I can to understand how it works in myself and others, and of finding ways of constructively releasing it in small bursts, rather than letting it build up into a nice explosive mass of pent-up rage that will do no-one any damned good at all.

If am in a romantic relationship with a woman, and in a paternal one with kids, I better make sure that I am aware of my emotional states, especially when frustrated or angry, and better make DAMNED sure that I don't say or do anything that will hurt them.

If it means taking a long walk for a couple of hours so's I don't give into the temptation to give a nice, long, profanity-filled tirade(Fun For The Whole Family!!! Yeah, if ya belong to the Manson Family, that is), that's what has to happen, for their welfare and my own.

Mind you, at the age of 43, and considering that I don't get out of my house, let alone my neighbourhood, very much at all, and I haven't been with a woman in ten years(No, I ain't been in prison, and please don't start with those kind of jokes, thanks, as I can probably make up better ones myself), the likelihood of meeting someone and having a family isn't all that great.

But, then again, who knows, as I've a brother-in-law who didn't meet and marry my sister 'til he was in his late 40's-early 50's, and he's 55 now, and a friend of mine who's now 52, or is he 53, who only recently got married himself.

Mind you, he'd been married and in relationships before(I, on the other hand,have a Helluva time just even getting one started).

But, those examples at least give me some margin for hope for myself. Will just haveta see what comes, or doesn't, as time passes.

Even if it doesn't happen, and one of my greatest fears, that of always being alone, is realised, I hope that I can at least handle that with the maximum amount of grace, and the least amount of self-pity(one of the big seed-beds of bitterness, I think)possible.

Again, will see about that, as only time will tell, etc, etc, etc.

In closing, I only hope that I can live up to the fine words and sentiments that I've articulated here to-day, and that I can successfully master, or at least better control, the anger, frustration, bitterness and hatred that I can sometimes feel, without turning into either a timid little soul a-scared of his, and everyone else's, shadow, or going to to the other extreme, and being a minor league legend in my own mind(Now Playing In Concert At Caesar's Palace!!!! Ba-Dum-Bum!!!), and a minor league arsehole with a major league ego to boot.

The only sure way for me to find out if am doin' it right or not, is to do the best I can with what I have on hand, and go from there.

What I have may not be much, but it's mine, to use an old German(I think)proverb, and it's better than havin' nothin' a'tall.

Don't know about y'all, but I feel MUCH better now, though, after readin' this, some of you out there may have slightly upset stomachs. Not to worry, as it's probably something that a little Maalox, Alka-Seltzer or Pepto-Bismol can't fix;).

If your symptoms worsen, please take two tranquilisers and call your doctor in the morning.

Be seeing you.

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