you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry

I'm the green one. This might be what is referred to as foreshadowing.
I’m the green one. This might be what is commonly referred to as foreshadowing.
At Pioneer Camp, we dipped candles and churned butter and made salad from day lillies. In the root cellar of a 200 year old mansion, we dribbled red wax at the V of an envelope and eased a stamp into it to form our own seals. I also blindfolded Gigi Dixon and sent her tumbling down a scrubby hill, so it wasn’t all bad. I’ll never forget how perplexed she looked climbing back up with all those briars and brambles in her hair.

I’m pretty sure that was the same day  another girl and I had been squabbling over something (candles? stamps? whether or not one should actually eat day lillies??) when prissy Gigi admonished us with a “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” The counselor smiled and patted her head so that her perfectly curled pigtails shook like they were snickering. I seethed and noticed the strips of torn bedsheet we’d just dyed with boiled elderberry would make perfect blindfolds.

There was also the great bookbag fight of ’81 – which I totally won because a  Strawberry Shortcake bookbag weighted with matching lunchbox wins everytime against someone who buys lunch – plus that unfortunate phase in middle school where I pushed friends into trees. Do I need to go back as far as the biting episodes in nursery school or doesn’t everyone go through that?

Anger and I are old friends, though I thought I lost him around the time I discovered alcohol, which seeped into and soothed the jagged cracks of my psyche. After alcohol came cookies. God bless the cookies.

The thing about addicts is we’re always addicted to something. Alcohol, cookies, blindfold tricks and bookbag fights…even Recovery. We’re hooked on the thrill of altered states, and the more painful the better! Anything to take the edge off excruciating boredom and loneliness and the dreaded feeling that yep, maybe this is all there is. And so the next bandaid gets ripped off and the festering wound underneath gives us something new to focus on. If I don’t wind up a perfect human being by this time next year, I’m going to be really angry.

Just kidding. But I have been addressing old issues with sugar and last week I felt terrific and this week I’m looking for things to use as blindfolds. Writing is a nice release. Phew. I feel much better. Thanks for reading.

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13 thoughts on “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry

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  1. Do people still do the what season thing are you, you know a person’s skin palette and what looks good with it? Obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about but I wanted to say the purple seems to work OK with your green color Frank. That said, yes I like cookies, a lot, and at this point in life I do not plan on giving them up, ever. I don’t want the beer anymore but you can have my cookie when you pry my cold dead fingers off it.

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    1. Funny you should ask. Yes. Apparently it’s $200. For the bargain price of $0, I advised myself to stay away from chartreuse, homemade shoe covers and hobos and/or hillbillies, no matter how well groomed they appear. You can keep your cookies. I’d eat them all anyway.

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  2. This was so good all the way around–I love the imagery in your writing as well as reader accessibility. Anger and I are old friends, too. I was never allowed to show, so I’d push it down and down and down until it exploded. You can only hold the German and Irish insides for so long. Today? I’m much better at expressing it when it happens. God bless the cookies. xo

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  3. Thanks very much – really got me to thinking. I just watched a Netflix streaming film “The Road Within” where the protagonist with tourette (sp?) syndrome had these outbursts and I thought yeah – I could really relate to the outbursts of anger from early on, just without the twitching. I have noticed more of late that my patience with what I consider to be stupidity (not meeting my expectations) is considerably reduced.

    Interesting about your comment on always being addicted to something. I have just started what I am certain is going to be a regular google hangout for a while with a friend whose primary addiction is eating disorder and secondary alcohol and mine is the reverse. We kicked off our conversations with the addiction is addiction thing and it certainly resonated with both of us. It does seem that is the lifelong struggle then did not tell me about during my 30-day alcohol/drug inpatient (interestingly I originally typed that as impatient) program a bunch of years ago.

    But as you note, I am truly grateful for that realization today. And we know that if we hang around and continue to address the issues, life continues to get better.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

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  4. Thank god for cookies.
    And for writing and for reading, especially for reading fun poignant pieces written by friends that you feel you must have known in a past life.

    Alcohol opened the door for my hulk to come out. I’ve since made a lot of peace with those issues, but the temptation to cling to old anger and resentments is always there lurking.

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  5. It is crazy that we always tend to replace one addiction with another – very hard to break, but progress, not perfection – my journey is at ChristopherKarl.com , follow along!

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