Archive for the ‘anger’ Tag

Dark Day

I can’t and won’t get into the details of what makes this sunny, warm, beautiful, Summer Friday a grim, dark day. Suffice to say my company hit a wall in dealing with an important legal matter today, and the mood among the executives is bleak. I’m fairly confident that my job won’t be impacted and that the company will definitely recover. But it’s a high stress day on top of a high stress week that followed a high stress month. This is the Monday-iest Friday I’ve had in a very long time. Hence my need to get it out of my brain and off my chest. 

The interesting thing (I can’t yet say “good thing” about any part of today) is the spectrum of reactions to the news among the leaders who know. It doesn’t seem to have had the same effect on everyone, and I m not entirely clear why that is. Some seem to have immediately soaked it in and shrugged it off. Others aren’t certain what the appropriate response is. Still others have had a fairly predictable response. 

Whatever the reaction has been from person to person, the prevailing theme is disbelief or, maybe more precisely dismay, rather than anger. I’m thankful for that. While there palpably is anger, people are still simply trying to make some sense of it before letting anger drive action. That seems a healthier pattern than I expected, I guess. 

Maybe that just shows I’ve misjudged some people. But I won’t lie: I went to my boss’ office this morning after receiving the result with the full expectation of having to ride out a wave of blinding rage. Not directed at me. I know I’m blameless in this and he is fully aware of that. But I am often his sounding board and confidante. He vents to me when he can’t say what he needs to say to others. So, I expected red-faced, fuming, barking anger. Instead, it was sneering contempt and disgust, with a side of simmering anger held in reserve. That’s something, I suppose…personal growth? Or maybe just resigned acceptance. Either way, I’m glad there’s been no shouting. 

Now, all that’s left is to pick up and move on. In the biggest picture, this will be a mere hiccup. In the near-term big picture, it’s a dark mark on a year that was poised to be shining and victorious. I hope we have the leadership and fortitude to refuse to let it be a roadblock for our success. 

In the immediate, small picture that only matters to me, it just totally blows and I can’t wait for this day to end. 

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The Truth Is…

I’ve been going through a period of high stress and anxiety. This often leads to a sort of recurring loop of introspection, dissatisfaction and writing.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sometimes the pattern is cathartic and the cycle breaks about the same time as the stress eases. This makes it difficult to determine cause and effect, or if the two conditions are even related. But my analytical mind says that even if not causally linked, the correlation is strong enough to warrant special attention.

So, lately, I’ve been trying hard to keep a part of my mind open and detached as I view the various aspects of my life and immediate circumstances. I’ve tried to simply catalog the stress, the events, the anomalies and my reactions to them. Tried to be objective and non-judgmental as I view what’s happening.

But the truth is that I can’t be objective about myself. I think that’s the very definition of subjectivity. No matter how good I may be at compartmentalizing different parts of my day, my thoughts, my responses, I am still the ultimate insider to these events and fundamentally subject to the emotions and physical responses to the stresses and occurrences.

The frustrating thing about that is that I don’t have a solution. If I can’t objectively respond to the stress, examine my circumstances or design a plan to cope with it myself, then the obvious answer is to get outside help. Yet, that would require a whole lot of vulnerability and trust. And let’s face it, that’s just another load of stress.

Again, the truth is that I have no unique, Earth-shattering, monumental problems. I have mundane, run-of-the-mill, everyone-has-them type of stresses and anxieties. I’ve got a huge responsibility at work in a high-pressure environment. I have a loving family, who nevertheless have very high expectations of me and who rely heavily on me in many ways. The love of my life lives 9,000 miles and 17 hours (currently) away from me. I’m a non-binary, gender nonconforming person who is, apparently, an enigma to many of the people I work with, causing their confusion and fear to sometimes translate into pressure and strife on top of the already high demands of my job. And I constantly labor under people’s false assumptions about me, my personality, my attitude and potential for violence, due to the strange synergy of my ethnicity, gender presentation and size.

All these are problems that thousands of people deal with every day and none are insurmountable or irresolvable. They’re nothing in comparison to the tragedies and sorrows that queer people in other countries have to deal with. They’re nothing like as horrible as freedom fighters and activists are facing in Ferguson, in the Middle East, in Uganda, in Russia and other countries. I at least am free, reasonably safe in my home city, comfortable in my home, and blessed with home and family and plenty.

So what am I belly aching about? Why should my little troubles cause so much bother?

The truth? Because I can’t think my way out of them. That’s what’s really sticking in my throat.

These are ordinary situations that should be susceptible to logic and reason. Those are tools I’ve prided myself on developing and using well. Yet here I am, stymied.

So why am I even writing about it? Back to the cycle: I’ve looked into myself and am dissatisfied with the inability to be objective and fix it, so I write, chasing that elusive catharsis and, possibly, an epiphany. I’m hoping that the process of writing out the futility will unlock some line of thought or reasoning that will lead to a solution.

So far, I got nothing.

From the gut

Stretched. Pressured. Burdened. Constrained. Laboring under expectation. Pulled in every direction. In demand. Responsible. Needled. Tightly wound. Everything is too loud, too bright, too demanding. Swirling. Dizzy. Confused. Irritated. Annoyed. Anxious. Unsettled. On edge.

These are some of the things I’m feeling right now.

“Why” doesn’t matter. “How to fix it” isn’t the aim of this post. Sometimes you just need to say some things “out loud” (as it were), to take away their power by admitting that they exist.

My life is good, blessed, full to the brim with great things–love, family, friends, health, plenty, to name a few. But, like all of us, I have challenges, obstacles, stressors in my life. From time to time, I get to a point where the stressors swamp my brain’s ability to balance them against the always more numerous blessings in my life.

That’s when I begin to feel too much. Noise and light and smells and people’s voices and insignificant irritations (wind, dust, cold, scratchy clothing, inane remarks, intelligence-insulting tv commercials, etc.) all become needles that prick at my skin and psyche and sense of equilibrium until something breaks. It’s usually my temper and it’s usually at the least significant thing.

Most times that breaking of temper manifests in me shouting or throwing something in the solitude of my car or office or bedroom. Aside from the occasional snapping at a sales guy or speaking more sharply than I intend in making a point, I am usually pretty good at not taking my temper out on others, especially innocents. But the irrational temper tantrums nevertheless happen.

They shame me. I despise that loss of control. Worse is if someone does get an unintended blast of that temper; I’m doubly ashamed of the lapse and the unwarranted discomfort inflicted on the innocent. So I actively suppress my emotions and consciously control my reactions. But I don’t always succeed.

There’s no neat and tidy resolution to this post or the conditions I’ve described. Taking time to be silent and solitary is rarely possible as, like most of us, there are people who depend on me and who need my time and attention. Sleeping more is a pipe dream for the same reasons. Vacation, travel, spa days, all suffer the same shortcomings: time, money, competing priorities. And drink and drugs (of all kinds) are out of the question for me.

So, this is my stop-gap, to vent my frustrations into the ether via this blog. I’ll survive and get past the fug of this bout of stress-induced meh. It does help to just say it to another person, to know that there’s at least one other soul in the universe who knows that a struggle is happening, even if no one can do anything about it.

Therefore, consider this my confession to the sisterhood of unresolved frustration: I’m irritated and fighting to not let it rule me, even if the irrational 2 year old in my head is screaming to throw all the things in reach and take temporary satisfaction from the shattering.

Butch hissy-fits aren’t pretty

I haven’t blogged in a long time. Tons of good reasons and even more excuses as to why. But now is not the time to get into all of that. There are things banging around inside of me that need to get said, explored, examined, tested & debunked. Again, though, this isn’t that post.

Actually, at nearly midnight on a weeknight, when I should be resting for another long, challenging workday ahead, I shouldn’t be blogging at all. Rest & recharging should be my priority. I’m instead lying in the dark fuming about something I shouldn’t even be upset about.

My bed was stripped & linens washed without warning while I was at work. I didn’t see it before I went to get ready for bed and had to scramble, at 11 o’clock at night, to find bedding & make the bed.

Yeah, I know: lucky you to have someone do something so thoughtful, so what’re you complaining about?

I’ve railed and ranted inside my head about why this pisses me off. I’ve internally lived out the most likely discussion that would occur should I address this irrationally irksome situation to my well-loved family member who precipitated my thoroughly bad humor. And I’ve had a stern, frank, bracing argument with my inner-complainer about why this is not the battle to pick and how trivial and unworthy of my energy this issue is.

Yet, here I sit. I’m still ticked off that this stupid thing happened. I’m still baffled at the rudeness and presumption I feel has been shown by someone I never expected had the capacity for such carelessness. And now I’m also ashamed at myself for feeling so strongly about something so minor, insignificant and, in all likelihood, unintentional.

Honestly, how was she to know that her helpfulness would so thoroughly piss me off?

So what’s my real problem? I miss my Lulu so badly that suddenly losing the scent of her hair on the pillowcase stabs at my heart so painfully that it’s either rage or bawl like a baby. Neither is a rational, sane, mature adult response to so small a thing. Yet that’s where I am.

I know that it had to happen eventually. I was planning to clean up the room, do laundry & all the rest of my neglected chores this weekend. But I’d also planned to hang onto that pillowcase for a little while longer. And now that I don’t have that option, or the scent of her hair to fall asleep with, I’ve lost a bit of my grip on rationality.

Sometimes being a strong butch really bites.

A Lament (because venting prevents violence)

Gut-boiling, teeth-grinding, head-pounding anger is something I try to avoid at all costs.  It is impotent to resolve its cause and damaging on so many levels.  Ordinarily, I much prefer reasoned argument, persuasion, logic, compassion and active listening.  These things present better opportunities for peaceful, equitable resolution.  They are tools with purpose and utility, where blind rage and seething indignation is useless.

However, there are those times, thankfully rare in my life, when my sensibilities are so outraged, my logic and intelligence so affronted and my sense of justice so injured that such anger is the only response available to me.  Active, purposeful efforts to control emotion, maintain objectivity and professional decorum are unavailing against an avalanche of injustice.

This week has been full to bursting with professional injustices that have me overwrought.  I am so disappointed in the lack of leadership and support from my boss, a colleague I’ve so long respected and admired. This, I think, is the greatest blow of all that have fallen this week, that his heretofore unassailable logic, intelligence, professionalism, fairness and personal integrity are utterly absent. I expected to rely on him to provide guidance and a calming influence in this struggle, while supporting me and the decisions I have to make to manage my team. That is the role and duty of a senior executive. I have never before doubted his leadership and it is a bitter, burning disappointment to find cause to doubt in the midst of a storm.  I am angry…and sad…and frustrated that the vacuum of personal integrity of certain business leaders is condemning me and my team to a Sisyphean labor of futility.

Positivity and hopefulness have never felt so out of reach.

In Which I Rant About Rants…

I’m bound to make myself unpopular (too late!) with this post. So be it. Everyone else seems to go on these raging rants on Twitter and Face Book, spewing vitriol and expecting agreement and support. Well, here are my thoughts, as cogently and calmly delivered as possible, and I expect nothing from anyone. They’re my thoughts, posted on my blog, for my own personal gratification. I hope you read and appreciate the thoughts, even if you disagree. But I don’t ask for or expect anything of you. This was on my mind and I’m sharing it.

Oh, and for those of you expecting a post updating on my coming out to my family and my visit with Lulu over the last month…be patient, please. I’m working on it. 🙂

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Despite my undergraduate degree in Political Science and my Juris Doctor degree and my 15+ year practice as an attorney, I am not a political creature. Believe it or not, I really don’t care for the angst, tension and drama surrounding American and world politics at every level like a poisonous cloud. It’s nature is anathema to my peaceful, quiet-seeking mind.

But you can never truly get away from it. Even eschewing traditional media sources that focus on political issues and commentary, it’s ubiquity is unavoidable. Looked at ESPN or FoxSports lately? Full of commentary on things unrelated to team sports in anything but the most tertiary fashion. What about prime time tv? Can’t even watch a sitcom without a dose of ‘agenda programming’ by at least one pole in the spectrum. And social media? Forget it. Scroll through your timeline on any given platform on any given day and if you don’t see posts and tweets and retweets of every political cause going, count yourself lucky.

What’s my beef with it all, you ask? It’s news and current events, don’t you want to be informed and activist for your causes?

Yes, I want to contribute to the interests that concern me or resonate with me. And no, I don’t have a problem with news reporting by anyone, or even expressing editorial or personal opinion.

What I really object to, especially in the rants I see on social media, is the critical judgement imposed on those who question, are skeptical until convinced, and probe for deeper meaning or clarity of argument. Those who don’t simply nod in agreement, jump to catch the bandwagon and fall into lockstep with the ranting professor of opinion are vilified in the cruelest way. And the base tactic of implying insanity, low intelligence, even malice or evil when stating these polarizing opinions , I find repugnant.

The latest issue to catch my eye is the fad of demonizing anyone who has more than a few dollars in their pocket and even hints at any form of conservative viewpoint. It doesn’t matter the core issue or message, if the person speaking/writing/performing is perceived to have money and has conservative opinions, they’re the devil. Even those in marginal groups. If you aren’t living from paycheck to paycheck and don’t believe in forced redistribution of wealth, your opinion on anything, even your own field of expertise, is questionable at best, and your personal value as a human is nil.

The existence of wealth of any level seems to have become a disqualifier for being valued as a person. Even if the wealth (or perception of it) is totally unrelated to the matter at hand, it’s trotted out as a reason to question the person’s motives, integrity, veracity, intelligence and humanity.

Sound familiar to anyone?

The same thing has been done relative to every form of differentiator of human condition over time. Race, creed, color, nationality, gender, sexuality, you name it, it’s been used as a foil to hold down an entire population.

But economic status is no more linked to inherent value of persons than any of those other attributes.

I don’t understand why we allow ourselves to be gulled by media and social pressure into devaluing our fellow humans on the basis of these un-related attributes and characteristics. Focusing on the words and actions of each person individually is the only way I know of to avoid the fallacy of collective, stereotypical prejudice.

Please…do have your opinion, and make it a strong one, on any issue you like. Cultivate views on every condition facing this world today and into the future. Even form preferences and affinities for or against any given thing or idea.

But please…judge your fellow humans individually on their personal merits as demonstrated in their action and speech, not collectively based on any arbitrary characteristic or attribute associated with any group or population.

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