Finding the Purpose of Anger

It’s a new day friends and if you’re like me you have an emotional hangover from what some call a presidential debate. I personally like to call it the ‘old white man say/yell things show’™ and you are welcome to use that if you’d like. I had so many emotions just from that hour and a half that I could probably write several blog posts on this viewing alone, but I’ll try to make it brief.

The biggest emotion I felt last night was anger. Anger, for those who have not been following this blog for a long time, is one of the most difficult emotions for me to process, accept, and display. I avoid it all costs and it typically results in me crying (which I did last night) and wanting to run away, trying to do whatever I can to make it stop. So, as someone who is constantly trying to improve and be better, I made it a point to stay; stay in my anger and feel the ways in which this anger is helping me. I was angry for a lot of reasons, and I am not going to sit here and try to explain why it hurts to hear people debate human lives or attack someone who overcame a drug addiction. What I will discuss is how such anger is helping me grow.

Last nights anger was felt in the pit of my stomach. My therapist has taught me to visualize where I feel my emotions so that I can really sit with it and work through it. It been a real game changer with the emotions I find more difficult. In my stomach there was a burning sensation and when I closed my eyes I could see yellows, reds, and oranges- there was a fire burning. My first instinct was to put the fire out, which I attempted to do with ice cream (Ben and Jerry’s half baked, obviously). That sort of worked as a short term solution, but as soon as I stopped the fire grew again. I thought to myself ‘how do I make I stop’ and then I realized I was asking the wrong question. I didn’t need it to stop I needed to listen to it and that is what I did.

I sat in my room after getting ready for bed and reflected for a minute on the heat. I unpacked some of the emotional abuse that occurred on the stage as it brought up memories of my own experiences. I validated the feelings of anger as right and fair, instead of a burden that needed to go away. I put my hand on my stomach and thought about the anger others must be feeling in this moment and what pain people who were literal topics of debate might be feeling. I thought about the kids that were and/or are bullied and how it would feel to watch that debate with the harsh words used. I thought of all of these people as my clients that have and will sit with. Then, with each thought and validation the anger dwindled, not to be mistaken with the anger going away.

Feelings don’t disappear until the job they were created to do is done. There is a good reason for that- we need them to create change. For example, if I got sad and never dealt with the sadness and pretended not be sad, that doesn’t mean that sadness is gone, it just means it’s hanging out somewhere else. Typically, this is a place where we tried to lock it up in, but instead it comes out in anxiety, alcohol use, cutting, unexplained anger, etc.. However, if we keep it where it’s supposed to be and we work with it and do what needs to be done, we get a healthy goodbye. Like when I was really depressed and went to therapy and started medication and sat with my sadness for a long time, not letting it go until I was ready. I want a healthy goodbye like that with this anger, so I am keeping the embers burning to help me remember why it is I do what I do.

What I do as a social worker, involves advocating for people and I care about people a lot. I’m a cancer moon, ya know? Advocacy work is political in nature and this fire is a direct result of who and what I care about. These embers will burn until I see people are given justice, fairness, kindness, and the right to live regardless of health, the color of their skin, their differing abilities, their gender, their sexual orientation, and the list could go on. I’m not sure the embers will ever truly go away, but I am going to keep them with me as a reminder that there is work to do, nitty gritty hard work.

I am currently in a space to do the hard work. I have gone to therapy and processed a lot of my own trauma’s and experiences. I feel safe to do this work right now and that could change. If you are not in that place, please know it is okay to lock those feelings up if that is what feels best for you right now. I am not here to tell you how to process your own reactions/feelings. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel safe. Perhaps it’s holding space for it and perhaps it’s watching 6 hours of Real Housewives of New York. I’ve been both people (sometimes in the same day) and that’s okay.

If you’re reading this and angered (or any other emotions) by any of the words I have said here, perhaps reflect on where in your body you’re feeling it and why these emotions are coming up for you. And please, please, please use the contact link to chat with me further about this or any other post.

I love you all, including my anger.


flames dance

across the lining of my stomach

and i pray for rain

that only comes when

the embers are ready for it

-finding the purpose of anger

To all the things I’ve loathed before

This post has been hard for me to talk myself into writing. I know I’ve written about my depression before, but I’m currently dabbling in depression mixed with heart break. It is quite the cocktail for loneliness and overeating. I don’t want to get into the messy details of said heart break. My brain has gone over it enough for the rest of us.

I digress.

My rose colored glasses are currently smeared with crimson red, as if I am the next PETA victim. Anger is an emotion that I will openly admit I don’t feel comfortable with. In fact, I joined an anger management group in middle school because I was so worried about my inability to express my anger. Perhaps, this is the reason I give 2nd, 3rd, 5th, chances to those that may not  deserve it; I cry when someone yells at me; my heart races when I even think I have upset someone in any way. It’s funny because as I write this, I think of all my posts I have about how we, as a society, need to sit in our feelings. Yet, when I would say feelings I meant sadness. Sadness I feel comfortable with. Sadness is a close friend of mine.

I have not shown the same appreciation for anger. Anger, a natural emotion, has somehow become my enemy. The Nicholas Cage of emotions if you will. I need to learn how to sit with my anger and then I might be able to move on from it. Even if we don’t think we are expressing our feelings, they come out in other ways.

My anger tends to come out, inwards: “You deserve this. You did something wrong. Look at all the mistakes you have made. You are gross and you don’t treat your body well. No wonder nobody likes you. Your skin is disgusting. You shouldn’t even bother getting up today.”

This list could go on and on and on. This horrible, horrible list. “Would you say these things to your friends?” No, I reply. “Why do you feel okay saying them to yourself?” Because I can. I can be so angry at myself and beat myself up and at the end of the day the only person I hurt is me. I don’t hurt anyone else which feels that safest to me.

It isn’t though. It isn’t safe to have these thoughts. These thoughts are harmful to us as a society. Anger is okay; anger displaced is dangerous. I need to find a way to take my anger out, without harm to others or myself. I know what these things are, but then depression comes swooping in making it hard to move.

What I really need is to get back into running. It was the one space I could feel the anger drip away. Not just the anger, the sadness too. I felt safe when I was running. I also need to get back into writing, starting with this post. Blogging is the place where I feel like I can sit with my emotions and not run from them, but face them. I can look my anger in the eye and tell it to give me a hug because that is exactly what it needs. I need to type it again: Anger is okay.

So, to honor my anger, I would like to write a letter based off the latest trending teen rom-com, coming-of-age movie: To all the boys I’ve loved before (but with a twist).

To all the things I’ve loathed before:

I need to express how absolutely pissed off I am. I am pissed off to the point of wanting to throw glass plates at brick walls. The red that I am seeing is allowed. I don’t want to see rose color all the time [unless it is rosé, okurr]. I also don’t want to see red all the time. So, let me just get these specifics off my chest:


one-two punch.






front kick.


Okay, that last one wasn’t actually something I am feeling, but Samuel L. Jackson’s anger is equivalent to mine, so I felt it necessary to include for reference.

As I wrote each one of those, I yelled them (hence the caps lock). And I could go on, but honestly the release I feel right now is good. The red is starting to fade and my head is starting to clear. This too shall pass.

I don’t forgive everything just yet, but I am starting to feel that I can and that is all I can ask.

With rage and peace,

Sarah Lorraine

P.S. I know the things that I have loathed, will likely not see this letter, but I don’t need my anger to be received by anyone or anything to let it go. This is what I am learning.