What You Gonna Do With The Simmer?
A few mornings ago I woke up feeling like I was still caught in that land that hovers between sleep and waking.
It was pretty early and we’d just come off three weeks of holidaying, so my body wanted to tell the alarm to go shove it. My limbs were moving but my consciousness was still on my pillow.
We were driving into the beach for an early morning walk. I slowed down for some lights… The rising sun was directly in my eyes so I had the sun visor down and didn’t see right away that the lights had turned green.
But the dude behind me brought this important information to my immediate attention with a loud honk on his horn.
I have a feisty streak which horns definitely ignite, but…
A couple of years ago I honked my horn at a car that was merging and almost crashed into me. The honk was mostly intended as an alarm. A, “Hey look out I’m here and you’re about to crash into me.” But if I’m really honest it was also a, “Hey get out of my space man.”
I watched aghast as that car over-corrected, swerved off the road and head-on into a pole.
I pulled over and saw an elderly man in the drivers seat with some blood on his forehead, a shattered windscreen, in a daze.
I called an ambulance and waited with him until he was in their care. He had been on his way to visit his wife in a nursing home.
I felt like a total asshole.
I told the ambo what had happened. He said the guy had possibly had a mild stroke as he had no recollection of the few minutes leading up to the crash.
I still felt responsible and vowed not to honk my horn ever again.
Since that day I make a concerted effort not to get sucked in to the road rage of others, or fly to anger when drivers do idiotic things on the road. I try to breathe through it, stay calm and give gratitude that I am in the space I am in and not in the flames of anger that they are.
Okay and sometimes I hope they’ll get pulled over for being stupid. Which actually did happen once after a driver had been sitting hard on my tail and then finally overtook me and sped down the road. A couple of minutes later he was on the side of the road with a police officer at his window. Not gonna lie, I felt pretty smug, and may or may not have given a petite air punch.
Anyway, back to Mr Honky this morning… Normally I would just breathe, and let it wash over me.
But this morning before I could even think about it my middle finger was up along with a f*ck you man. Little Miss Potty Mouth was in full flight… And I am handy with a four-letter word.
In that instant I felt so angry… And it felt good. It felt so satisfying to give him the finger and swear out loud. I hoped he had been taken aback… And I even slipped into Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) mode and fantasised pulling over, and going at him fists up… “You wanna piece of me?” It was an enjoyable fantasy. I hoped he was feeling scared… “You should be scared!”
Now I am in no way a fighter, an arguer yes, but physical violence, not me. Plus I have a head full of peaceful Yoga philosophy and a circle of wise and wonderful friends and family...
And still honestly I was fantasising about punching that dude in the face.
But of course none of that happened. He turned off and we both went about our day.
I went walking on the beach in the sunshine and reflected on that surge of anger.
There I was strolling down the sand, waves lapping at my feet, people smiling at me and me smiling back, and yet a few minutes before I’d wanted to go into bloody battle with a random dude that did nothing more than beep his horn at me.
Yep, it got me thinking. Got me understanding. Got me empathising… About people, conflict, wars and all manner of crazy stuff that we lament about the world.
If I, with my relative wealth, health, options and opportunities can fire up at a moments notice, what is life like for someone who doesn’t know another way? Whose family and peers celebrate aggression as strength and success? Someone who hasn’t learned how to self regulate?
No wonder there is so much anger and hate in the world. It’s there, always waiting… It’s the old can’t have the light without the darkness chestnut.
So now as I now go off to teach a yoga class, I’ll giggle a little at the irony of it all, celebrate the unique, contrary mess that is being a human, and integrate that data into my psychic computer in order to channel my inner Travis Bickle for good stuff…
Because the simple fact is… There is anger, aggression and f*ck-you in all of us… You may be introverted or extroverted about how you process that. You may swear like a banshee or remain closed lipped… But the simmer is still there and the point is what do you do with it?
In the most humble of tones… I hope world leaders and warmongers will read this… We’d all like to indulge our fantasies and satisfy our cranky moments… But look where that’s gotten us? Generation after generation? How’s about we use that raaaaaah energy for creation instead of destruction.
So, now You… That’s right I’m talkin’ to YOU! I’d love to hear about your latest cranky moment, how it came about, how you acted upon it and where you went with it. Thank you for sharing… I know we all want to appear serene and ‘sorted’ but let’s be honest… It’s bullshit isn’t it!
Leonie Orton is a writer, editor and marcomms consultant. She'll create communication mediums in the shape of words, graphics and webs for your business, connecting you with the people who need you. When she's not head down with this, she's teaching yoga, creating floral artworks, running a Harvest Swap and adoring two spirited sons... Get in touch by email, facebook or subscribe to her weekly blog.