Reassurance

I don’t really know a lot about anger.

Not the simple kind—pure and uninhibited, such as road rage or the type of angry you get when you see an animal in pain for a senseless reason.

Nor the complicated kind–twisty and confusing, such as homicidal ideation or the type of angry you get while standing next to a hospital bed occupied by an ill child.

Sometimes I think that if I were given an MRI—you know, the kind of brain scan where the patient is presented with various stimuli in order to see the location and intensity of neural activity– the part of my brain that’s responsible for anger would lie dormant, regardless of the stimuli.

The part of my brain that processes feelings of hurt or isolation or disappointment would light up like a football stadium in Texas on a Friday night, however. So bright that if I opened my mouth you’d see the glow from my brain as these feelings ricocheted around in there aimlessly, forbidden to escape.

The part of my brain that understands forgiveness and joy and the love of desserts would light up too, I think. Fiercely. Probably at the same time as the unsavory feelings described above.

I’m a person who, even in the darkest times, keeps hope and contentment and laughter about as far away as a frazzled mom keeps her bottle of wine.

Anger–for me–tends to manifest itself in the form of hurt feelings. Or disappointment. Or, on days I’m not particularly proud of—self-blame.

On the rare occasions I feel a flash of anger, justified or not, it’s quickly followed by a wave of guilt. I think of all the reasons why my anger is unwarranted. I think of all the ways I contributed to the situation. I usually then decide that my expectations for the person at whom I am angry are too high. I step back, remember that I can’t control anyone’s behavior except my own, and remind myself that no one actually owes me anything, despite the stories I tell myself sometimes.

I’ve also come to understand that for me, anger is better defined as a need for reassurance from someone.

Reassurance that someone hears me, even if they don’t like what I have to say. That I’m valued; worthy of support and loyalty even when I’m tired or grumpy or stressed or humorless. That I’m respected and will not be diminished by words such as “bitch” or “crazy” or “selfish” or “stupid”.

That I’m loved and wanted, even if it’s conditionally, and only for now.

Reassurance that I’ll be welcomed back tomorrow. And maybe even the next day. Willingly, without a sense of obligation.

So many emotions experienced by people–despite how they manifest–originate from anger.

Jealousy. Spite. Self-doubt. Exasperation. Criticism. Irritability. Insecurity. Resentment. Shame. Disgust.

I think most people, when angry at loved ones especially, need reassurance.

The jealous husband needs his wife to tell him that she loves him one more time before she leaves for work. The insecure girlfriend needs her boyfriend to notice when she’s hurting. The overwhelmed mother needs to see that her son can show compassion toward others. The guilt-ridden child needs to know that his parents have forgiven him.

Reassurance.

I’ll take that over an apology any day.

Sometimes I’m Less Talented Than My Friends. I’m Cool With It If They’re Funny.

Y’all remember Mer from Tiny Bit of Crazy.  You know, the un-superhero.

She’s the Gail to my Oprah, if you recall.  The Kelly Taylor to my Brenda Walsh.  The Sooki St. James to my Lorelai Gilmore.

Anyway, I’m wildly jealous of the fact that in addition to her being super funny on the internet, she’s also funny in real life.

I’m so un-funny in real life that I can’t bear to schedule the sleepover I offered to host so many months ago for fear that my readers will be all, “Um, you’re lame, Tara.” and then take back the snacks they brought over with them when they leave.

Anyway, in order to channel her real-life funniness into something awesome and real, she took a couple of improv classes.

Well, since she’s an amazing writer, the natural progression was:

improv + writing = storytelling

(The irony of this blog post is that she’s absolutely terrible at math, and therefore, she’s probably all, “Why are you talking about me behind my back using math-language?  Jerk.”)

And the storytelling she does is not the sitting-around-the-campfire type of storytelling, either.

It’s the stand-in-front-of-a-microphone-while-tons-of-people-look-at-you kind of storytelling.

If I did that, I’d probably pee my pants in public, y’all.

Or vomit.

Either way, it’d almost certainly be unbecoming.  Unless you’re into that sort of thing.

Anyway, she’s a storyteller for SpeakeasyDC, located in Washington, DC.  She’s been storytelling for about seven years, and has all these funny, artistic friends who probably smell like patchouli and pay their rent only after they search their couch for quarters.

(That’s my starving artist joke, did you like it?)

Oh, wait, she’s even part of the faculty at SpeakeasyDC, and teaches other people how to tell stories.  This makes her practically a professor.  Like, Professor Mer-the-Storyteller.  Like, people pay her to tell them all she knows about storytelling and then she calls me and tells me all the really dirty ones that people write.

Anyway, their website is http://www.speakeasydc.com.  If you are ever in the DC area, I HIGHLY suggest you consider checking out their shows.  In addition to Mer, I also adore stories told by Vijai Nathan, too.

Here’s Mer’s latest.  Her story reflects the theme “Daredevils and Yellow Bellies:  Stories of courage and cowardice”.  It’s hysterical, and every word of it is true.  It’s approximately 7 minutes long, and she uses the f-word very appropriately.

(When I saw the video, I sent her a text that said, “Omg, just watched your beach story.  F-ing hysterical.  So proud.  Damn, you’re good.  Can I post on my blog?  Excellent use of the f-word too.  Not too much, not too little.”)


(P.S.  Sometime I’ll tell you the story about how Drew almost killed her by paddling our canoe directly toward the dropoff for a waterfall.  I’m pretty sure she’s okay with me getting divorced just because of this incident.)