Mostly, I found that through my adolescent life I was stressed and generally angry about something or another. The person on the bus who took up two seats with their bag so I had to stand. The guy who swerved right into the puddle, causing it to avalanche over me and soaking me head to toe as I was walking the already painful hour trek home. The old woman who tugged at my skirt and whispered that I had a ladder in my tights and that I should probably go and change as I look like a prostitute. The builder older than my dad wolf-whistling at me in my school uniform and my unsympathetic lazy boss who blamed all her mistakes on me whilst she sat and gauged herself in food behind closed doors whilst slapping our hungry over-worked hands away… It seems my life was full of deep breaths and resting bitch-face syndrome as I pitied myself similar to the parody twitter account ‘Bad Luck Brenda.’
Bizarrely, as each dreadful day passed it became extraordinary when something DIDN’T rage my sarcastic alter-ego to rant off in my inner monologue. My friends would laugh at my cynical ‘why me’ whinge at life on the regular or rather, “nothing bad has happened to me today!” exclamation mark, exclamation mark, with a surprised awe on my face… Until I realised I’d crucially missed the ‘yet’ part in my conversation when it just so happened that I’d traipsed all the way into college for my one lesson to be cancelled or for the disappearance of my last bus home, causing me to follow up with a text, “SHOCK! Life ISN’T so great today after all!”
Nevertheless, my late teens and early 20s has taught me a minor lesson in life:
Only bad things occur when you go looking for them.
It’s simple, really. My fed up attitude to life was only enhanced further when the everyday natural flow of things pull you out from under your feet. I was waiting for it to happen if it hadn’t already. Woke up too late? Life. Car won’t start? Life. Actually completed my essay for once but discovered all too late that it’s on the wrong question? Life. Why did I hate life so much? Were these things happening to me BECAUSE I were expecting them to, or was bad luck legitimately following me?
So I tried a new approach. I told myself to stop sighing and frankly, suck it up. I look at my parents particularly for this attitude. They know only too well about how life can get you down but they just get on with it. I used to fantasise in hope of my ‘big break’ that would come cracking down on a lightning bolt from the heavens and swoop along on a magical carpet, equipped with some hulk-type Goddess that would reign hell-fire fear into those I disliked and make them see the errors of their way so that they’d apologise to me and I’d be this totally moral and humble person, glorified for being pretty average in a world of morons. The world is just so against me, you know? And then I’d be invited to sit on this magical carpet and leave this world full of bastards behind and live with the Gods and Goddesses and watch whilst all the bus drivers, snotty teachers (yes, you Mrs. Howells), close-minded bullies, arrogant customers that shout at waiting staff, and prejudiced know-it-alls with undeserved wealth and status eternally suffer, knowing that they should have treated me and everyone else better. Knowing that they were wrong and they ought to be forever in debt for the many hours I spent catastrophically pissed off about whatever it was that they did that I thought was unfair.
Now, however, I realise that in reality — they ‘won’ and I wasted days of my life carrying around all this negative energy only to annoy myself.
I used to think my step-mum was quite blunt with me as a kid. If I’d complain about a teacher being totally unfair and how the rules of the school were corrupt or outdated she’d stifle my whines with a simple “So?” I hoarded all this sensitivity and anger inside of me instead of rising above it. I look at my step-mum now with admiration as she somewhat strangely reminds me of the famous YouTube clip that famously quotes, “ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!”
As I come to this realisation I am generally a lot happier. Sometimes things will piss me off, inevitably, but instead of sighing I just take a deep breath and calculate how to tackle it. Can’t do anything about it? Drop it. CAN do something about it and is WORTH doing something about it? Go for it calmly as possible as anger in an argument is never a good validation, so take a chill pill and come back to it constructively.
I think this way of life, however, has caused me to bluntly react to those who act out in violence or ‘wasteful’ anger. I often find myself rolling my eyes at those who rage in extravagance, dismissing that they truly feel that way and instead wanting to tell them that anger is a CHOICE and choosing to be this damn angry makes you look, well… stupid. This is sort of double-standard for me as I’ve gained zero tolerance to angry people, forgetting that I once was one of those. I want to tell them to get a grip! Choose your battles wisely! Forgetting that not long ago a rogue shoelace that kept escaping would ruin my day too.
On the flip side, I like to think that when I do get angry about something, it’s usually because someone is being downright unreasonable. Compromise makes the world a better place so can’t we just coexist peacefully?
Who knows. Maybe someday people will realise that the raging flame inside of them is self-inflicted and convert to a (generally) peaceful and happy life. Or they won’t and I need to stop making it my problem if they’re too stubborn to do so.