I was under the impression I was going to have a very productive summer. I was full of way ward optimism. So, here we are banging on the door of autumn and my summer was pretty much shit. I wasted a good portion of it being angry. I was so upset and obsessed over my personal issues, I didn’t feel creative enough to write about positive, healthy things. So, it dawned on me that in my attempt to help others, perhaps I could help myself.
Much of my summer was wasted on resentment and frustration. I had to learn the hard way that someone I thought was a friend is a selfish, lying, conniving, cheating whore. It’s a difficult pill to swallow when you’ve known someone for nearly ten years only to be stabbed in the back. I’ve had to deal with the anger of betrayal and anger at myself for walking into this situation and allowing it to happen. I’ve had many people warn me over the last year about this person and I tried to ignore all the signs, because I’m always searching for the good in people. The bullshit I’ve endured and witnessed over this past year is pretty jaw dropping to say the least. Anyone in my position would be tempted to rearrange the face of someone so manacle, but jail time doesn’t appeal to me so I’ve had to find other ways to relieve my anger and anxiety associated with one of those most fucked up human beings I’ve had the displeasure of dealing with. I can’t allow this person to take center stage in my very busy life any longer. I’ve wasted enough time and in the spirit of moving forward, I had to focus on coping mechanisms and admit they’re working quite well.
Carrying around a bunch of anger with no outlet is just plain bad in many ways. Anger itself breeds stress and anxiety and vice versa. We all know that stress and anxiety is really bad for you. In fact, I’m sure after all the years of stress and anxiety I’ve endured; I’m probably pretty ripe for a heart attack by now. Unresolved anger is associated with all kinds of health risks and after reading about it, I’m convinced I’ve experienced every symptom possible (except for the heart attack). In case you were wondering, here’s a short list of some of the things that pent up anger causes; high blood pressure, heart attack, depression, anxiety, insomnia, impaired immune system, tension headaches and digestive problems.
So in an effort to get better control over my issues, I decided to research ways to handle my anger, because just being angry all the time wasn’t working. I think that the coping mechanisms I’ve been using have actually worked quite well, so I’m sharing them.
There’s a fun little bit about anger I stumbled across here: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/controlling-anger.aspx First of all, I like this site because it’s from the UK. I love their accents. Someone could tell me I have two months left to live and I won’t mind as much so long as it’s delivered with a delightful English or Brit accent. The thing I like most about this site is the video. It’s got an angry man driving around with road rage while this pleasant British woman explains the process of anger and how our bodies manage it. Also, psychology today has some pretty solid advice: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindful-anger/201405/the-five-steps-mindfully-releasing-anger
One of the articles I found most interesting was this one: http://www.realsimple.com/health/mind-mood/best-manage-your-anger I liked it because it breaks down different personality types of anger. I’m convinced that all of them apply to me.
If you’re not interested in clicking the link to read this for yourself, I will summarize some of the advice I’ve read on multiple sites because all the coping mechanisms are similar: So, below is a list of the basics.
- Exercise: Your body builds up chemicals to deal with anger. Those chemicals need release. They can eventually be damaging to your system. It’s the whole flight or fight thing. Unfortunately, in today’s society, we can’t expend extra chemicals, hormones and energy in the ways we would prefer. Nature dictates that there needs to be some sort of release. For example, when I want to punch in someone’s stupid, bitch face, but this isn’t socially acceptable. I have to admit, after about 15 minutes of busting my ass on the bike at the gym;I feel way better and don’t mind her presence at all. I cannot stress how much help exercise is for everything.
- Talking it out: This is one that’s supposed to help. I’m going to list it, because it does help some people a lot. For me, I just get more frustrated when talking about topics that piss me off, but sometimes keeping things all to myself can be even more enraging. There have been a few times where talking with friends has temporarily tamed me. I’ve always got an open ear for good advice. I suppose talking it out is better than stomping a bitch in the head, but it might not be as fun.
- Creative outlets: As artists, I think for most of us our release is to draw, paint, and create something no matter what our state of mind is. One of the most recommended suggestions is writing is down, starting a journal, ect. Since, I have a propensity for writing; you better believe that I’ve had many late nights typing feverishly into my computer. The feel of little plastic buttons beneath my fingers isn’t nearly as good as delivering a good, solid cunt punch, but it will have to suffice. I haven’t recently delivered any cunt punches at this point. See how well I’m dealing with my anger?
- Meditation: This is just good all the way around. Even if you’re not angry, ten minutes of mediation daily can change your life. My problem is that over the course of the summer, I’ve had insomnia over this useless drama, so I’ve found myself falling asleep during meditation. I’ve been able to overcome this obstacle over the last month by making sure I’m tweaking pretty good on some caffeine before I meditate.
- Breathing exercises: Taking deep breaths in through your nose and out though your mouth is great to calm down. When I get the urge to wrap my hands around the throat of some asshole, I take a step away and take ten deep breaths. It helps immensely. No matter how deserving, I haven’t choked anyone.
Another thing I’ve been doing to cope with my resentment and disappointment is looking forward to the future and just getting over it. Some people hold grudges, but I’ve never been one of those. Life’s too short for that shit. One of the best ways for me to cope personally is that I’ve just decided to get over it and not be so angry any more. The thing about anger is that it can eat at you like a cancer and not only affect you physically, but psychologically. Walking around angry can adversely affect every decision a person makes. The problem is that when a person gets angry, it doesn’t make anything better. Anger is something that belongs to each person individually and you can’t just give it away like an old jacket. You have choices here. Keep that shitty old jacket hanging in your closet, taking up room or take that fucker outside and burn it. You can’t change the shitty stuff that people do, but you can control your reaction to it. Sometimes, just letting the anger go and moving on to bigger and better things is therapy in itself.
I can be pretty hard headed. I’m not the kind of person to back down from a fight. I have a pretty rough time navigating the socially acceptable adult world with their strange codes of conduct. It’s much easier to give into knee jerk reactions and just pummel the shit out of someone. Honestly, using some of these coping mechanisms above has helped me and it’s my goal in writing “Under the Gloves” to share my knowledge with other tattooers, because I know that every little bit helps.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn this summer is that it’s o.k. to take a step back in order to move forward. This is where I find myself now. Moving forward, I’m about to head to the Steel City Convention in Pittsburgh. I had a great time last year and can’t wait to return. In the spirit of taking a step back, I still haven’t posted up about the Asheville Tattoo Convention I attended last March. My next entry will be reminiscent of a better time. A return to last spring before all of the crappy stuff going on behind the scenes of my life were spilled out in front of me like a kid puking all over my shoes. Also, I would like to get back to doing my Eternal color of the week which will now be the Eternal Color of the month and include a giveaway of that color to one lucky winner.(details will be posted on the Eternal Color of the month blog)
Keep a look out for more useful information, hints, tips, tricks or what have you in my efforts to make tattoo life a little bit better than it already is. As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated. Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.