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Anger, Pain, and Love. Always Love.

Sometimes people hear my story and they ask, "How can you not be mad?"

Well, I think I was angry, for a long time.  For at least a couple of years.  But I didn't know how to feel it, much less express it.  I was terrified of it at first, terrified that it would take over my rational reasoning and lead to impulsivity - not something I deal with very well.  I was terrified that the person with whom I was angry would return my anger with even more anger and rejection.  And I was terrified that if I opened up a box of anger, a volcanic eruption of anger would spew forth, and for me, anger is such an disconcerting feeling.  I feel myself becoming increasingly negative and inevitably it spills out sideways.

And when I finally realized that this unsettling feeling that had been plaguing me for so long was anger, I was so angry.  So unbelievably angry.  And I could feel it needing to be released, it was if it was at my fingertips, just aching to be let go.  So I journaled, wrote letters that would never be sent, raged to my loved ones and tried to Get. It. Out.  I wanted out of that uncomfortable space so badly.  To get beyond the rage, beyond the negativity, and to leave that angry place unscathed.

But it didn't dissipate instantly.  I didn't realize that in trying to force it's release, I was still running from it.  I had to let myself be angry.  Just be.  To sit in the anger, sit in that uncomfortable space and accept it.  I had been betrayed at the deepest level, and I was angry.  Red hot raging mad angry.  Scream at the walls angry.

But when I finally quieted myself enough to try and listen to that anger, I realized that it had been my friend.  It propelled me to make a necessary change that I was too scared to make on my own.  It thrust me into action.  Usually I don't like to make emotional decisions, but I think this one saved me.  Because the more I tried to find a calm, well thought out plan to change or leave, the more I rationalized and made excuses for unacceptable behaviors.  My anger gave me the strength I needed to stand up and say two magical words.  No more.

So I made peace with my anger and I thanked it for it's service.  I didn't need to wallow in it, or to plan some sort of revenge, or let it turn into cynicism and hatred.  I just needed it to move me forward.  To leave something and someone behind that I had so desperately wanted to work out differently.  To leave an unhealthy situation that had wounded me so deeply and was tearing me apart.  And so it had served it's purpose, and it was in recognizing and acknowledging that anger that I was finally able to let it go.

Peace did come, but only for a moment.  Because that anger was protecting a precious, precious treasure.  Pain.  Hurts.  Sorrow.  It was as if in peeling back those steely layers of anger, my vulnerability was revealed.  It didn't come screaming forth and flooding me with sadness like I thought it would, but it was just there, purified from anger.  Waiting for it's time to be recognized and felt.  It was if it was saying, "I'm here, and you don't have to protect me or run from me anymore." Almost gentle in it's being.

And that is where I find myself these days.  Sometimes it surfaces as quiet tears, and sometimes heaving sobs.  Sometimes in the quiet moments when all distractions are gone, and sometimes unexpectedly in the form of memories of unrequited dreams.  Sometimes it fills me with questions, questions that aren't meant to be answered at this time.  And sometimes it is an aching so deep, it steals my breath and leaves a heaviness in my chest.  But not all the time, only sometimes.  There is still room for joy and hope, even in the pain.

I think pain is part of the journey.  Not a stop along the way like a roadside park that is visited before moving on, but an actual leg of the journey.  Part of the path we embark on, engrained in the very soil we trod upon.  And in it's purest form, cleansed from hatred, anger, and denial, it becomes a sacred part of us.

So I am walking with my pain, hand in hand.  And now that I'm here, I'm finding that I need to walk slowly through this part of the journey instead of racing through it to get to the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.  I am learning to allow my pain to set the pace, taking however long my heart needs to heal those wounds.  I am learning to embrace it, not fear it.  And I'm finding that it's not a frightening part of the journey.  The scary part was stepping out of that anger into the pain.  This is a time to love and be loved.  Time to rely on the support of my friends and family.  Time to discover that which makes me human, and that which is teaching me compassion for others who find themselves in their own pain.  A time to let love heal.


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