I have a temper. Oh, I hide it almost all of the time, and unless you've seen me let my guard down, you'd never know it. I'd like to believe I got it from my father, but truth be told, after their divorce was finalized and he was thankfully gone from our lives, my mother's ire was quick. She tended to express herself in biting commentary, which wasn't fun to be involved in, but did teach you how to think fast. My father's temper can really best be described as explosive rage. You learned how to hide and make yourself small, so as not to get the brunt of it.
Throughout my life, I've often been worried that if I let my anger out, I might turn out to be like him. There have been glimpses to what I could be. I remember being in the back seat of the car when I was eight or nine when he was driving us somewhere. He was going on and on about how horrible Mom was, how ugly, how stupid, how this, how that. And we had to sit there and take it, like she did. His boots were in the back seat at my feet - big, heavy cowboy boots. I remember looking at those boots and thinking about bashing his skull in. I realized that a rock would do a better job. Then I thought that we would drive off the road, and it might hurt Mom since she was in the front, and the moment passed.
Later in life, when my brother would drive me out of my mind, as little brothers sometimes do, I worried about how I might hurt him if we started smacking each other. We were entirely too rough with each other when we argued, which I know was related to the violence we were frequently witness to. I would take my rage and shove it down inside me, because the thought of potentially hurting him made me sick to my stomach. I've done that for decades, smush it down tighter and tighter. You know that part in the Avengers movie where they're in a bind and Captain America suggests to Bruce Banner that it might be a good time for him to get angry (thereby turning into the Hulk for the 10 people reading this who don't know the connection). And Dr. Banner says, "That's my secret, Captain. I'm always angry." It might be dampened as so much in my life is by my mother's death seven years ago, but that may be my secret, too.
I share this insight with you, to tell you this. Someone I love with all my heart has recently been betrayed. I'm so sad and worried about what the next few months will hold for them, the tremendous changes to their life and their routines. We will help and love and comfort, because that's all we can do.
Mixed in with my sadness is tremendous anger. I can feel the heat rising up the sides of my neck and resting in my cheeks. There's only so much intense cleaning that a person can do to work this rage out to an even keel. I tell the children that I'm trying to find my creamy nougat zen center, but it's difficult.