Dear angry people, I know how you feel. Today, as I was getting ready to write this piece, a wave of rage washed over me. I didn’t see the wave forming in the distance. It seemingly came out of nowhere and walloped me. It was disorienting. I felt accosted by my own emotions. But I have a feeling … it was a long time coming. For years, I’ve felt like I’m just fighting a losing battle. It’s a fight just to feel understood. It’s a struggle to be accepted. And let’s just be honest … life is just freaking hard. If you’re able to tread the angry seas of life without swallowing copious amounts of salt water, while being repeatedly baptized Nacho Libre style by the crashing waves of daily disappointments, then you’re doing better than me. The funny thing is that I’m not normally an angry person. In fact, I hate being angry. I would much rather be sad. Listening to melancholic music is my jam. Being emo and crying while eating my morning tacos is my native element. Side note, for those of you who used to envy me, I’m pretty sure that’s why people kept buying my breakfast years ago. So, when I finally do get angry, it feels weird and foreign. I don’t like it at all. I just want the feeling to pass, but it lingers like a stubborn kidney stone. Anger is just so … infuriating. Like, have you ever been angry at someone else for being angry? That is the absolute worst, and it’s frustratingly ironic. Like a rogue feedback loop running through a church soundboard, you are forced to find the offending frequency before you can regain any semblance of peace. Anger … am I right? Don’t answer that. It might make me mad.
Everyone seems angry these days. Things are off the charts. Maybe that’s because their economic backs are against the wall. Maybe it’s because the social media they consume is saturated with political spin the same way an egg roll gets drenched in soy sauce by a child who has underdeveloped taste buds. Maybe foreign powers have infiltrated our society and are secretly turning us all against each other to destabilize the one thing that stands between them and world domination. Who can know these things? Well, I probably can … but that’s beside the point. Whatever the cause of our flaming furies, and whoever the pyromaniacs are, we’ve got to figure out how to put these fires out.
As trite as it may sound, we are all in this together. A genuine sense of community does well to quell the angry embers of our souls. Locally, globally, and otherwise, we’ve got to work together for the common good. The Bible tells us to be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger. Yet, I would also add that we need to be very discerning in what and who we listen to. So much of the “facts” being spread around are nothing but butane torch bunk that ends up sparking social wildfires. So, the next time you start seeing red, instead of punching someone in the face or dropping belligerent comments on someone’s Facebook post, maybe look for ways to bridge the gap and bring us all close enough to see … that we’re all really on the same team.
PAUL MICHAEL JONES is an artist who currently dabbles in music, photography and creative writing.