"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

06 January 2011


No one likes to brag about having a bad temper. Think about it; if you hear someone saying they lost it over being unable to open a jar of peanut butter, and therefore, not only smashed the jar against the floor, but punched a hole in the wall, kicked a puppy, and maybe even went on to rockstar-like trash a room, are you impressed to rocket science? Most likely not. In fact, you might even feel sorry for the cat. Well, that and avoid them, lest a sidelong glance, no matter how innocent, send them into a fit of murderous rage.

Once, someone I knew made the observation you can only loose your temper so many times before you stopped getting taken seriously. That whole case of such-and-such is on a tear...again. Just let the baby just tucker themselves out. My own observations of the human affliction have shown this to be fact.

Strangely enough, I've encountered those who have been a little leery of me, because I take great pains to not get angry. It's as if such behavior is frightening for the supposed time I do go and loose my sweet and otherwise charming disposition. There have also been a few cats who have tried to make me angry, just to see what I might do, which seems petty, if not just a little addle-brained. I guess it has frustrated them that I'd not rise to the bait and feed their metaphoric dragons.

This was not always the case. Oh, but did I have a vicious temper once upon a time. Late childhood into early adulthood. Some of this, I'm certain, is genetic. My father can become angry quite easily, and my little brother has not only inherited that, but seems to embrace it. But I also think some of it came from the bullying I was on the receiving end of so much growing up, and the anger at being picked on, the wondering why I was singled out, and the impotence towards the si li nan jen, even after I learned ways to defend myself, because there was always more of them than of me.

But one day-despite my memory, I cannot recall the date or my age at the time, though I chance to say maybe seventeen or eighteen years ago-I just stopped. Somehow, I grasped how futile it was to punch a wall or throw things whilst blaring speed metal and punk rock. Fighting, of course, seemed counter productive. From a zoological standpoint, sure, it could establish one's place within the pack or maybe score a mate who got off on watching monkeys beat one another up-a bad scene in its own rite-but there is that whole auspice of rising above those bestial impulses.

It was around this time I was studying theology, and came up with my first personal mantra, which was bastardized from the Book of John; I and the beast are one. I would eventually get that tattooed across my back in black India ink. It matched up with the tattoos under my collar bones; demon, on the left, and man, on the right. This was supposed to denote the twin aspects of being; the demon, being that animal of primordial memory on the African savanna, fighting for survival against not only other predators, but sometimes even those of its own species. Man, was supposed to represent the perceived higher self, what the monkey became like after fire and agriculture, the written word, and digital watches. The mantra meant I was working toward balance; having these two aspects work in concert, not conflict. Being in sync.

For the most part, and most of the time, I have found this has worked. Oh, I'm in touch with my inner predator and understand the auspice of jungle rules, but I no more submit to that than to auspice of denying the demon. That would be madness. To deny an aspect is deny the whole, which observation has taught me, is ultimately self-destructive.

But, sometimes I fall out of sync. Sometimes, the temper becomes too short and the demon lurks just beneath the surface of my eyes. I growl at the slightest thing and even sometimes, punching a wall or throwing something holds a appeal of friendly violent fun.

I confess to this being one of those sometimes. Perhaps it is the shadow of the season. As winter has worn on, I've found myself more and more out of equilibrium.

Sangha of many a faith would perhaps speak of such a thing as being a test. Annoying, given I stopped engaging in institutionalized learning so I'd no longer have to take tests. Girls who've done the petty relationship test thing have found me going in the general direction of away.

An alienist would search for a cause, which is always useful. That, at least, is somewhat simple; my mother's death a year ago and the death of a dear friend a month and a half ago. That's the meat of it. Everything else is just a detail.

A recovered junkie would say the admission is the first step. After that, it's gravy by comparison. The fact I've acknowledged I'm out of sync makes it easier for Humpty-Dumpty to put himself back together again.

Me being me, who has fallen out of sync before, also knows this is just a passing phase. One of my bad days. This has happened before, and, granted, not on such a scale, but I've gone through these periods and eventually once more reestablished that equilibrium. It's not always easy and it takes a bit longer than anticipated or wanted, but it does happen.

So, here I am; realizing I've fallen out of sync and working to bring the twin aspects of being back into concert, instead of conflict, once more. I have always been one for finding and maintaining a balance. What I face nowadays might seem like a bit of challenge, but I'm not too worried.

After all, I and the beast are one...


  1. When I'm really angry, I get quiet. Which I'm told is unnerving.

    I've always admired people who just let it all out that way, nothing held back, good, bad, ugly. But for me, I just can't do it.

  2. Generally, I get quiet as well. The blindly lashing out seems to cause more problems than it solves. Lately, it just seems I've been a bit more snappy, which I'm trying to rein in some.

  3. "sometimes, punching a wall or throwing something holds a appeal of friendly violent fun"

    Just brilliant writing.

  4. I am a silent sulk too when I get mad. For some reason driving brought out the worst in me and then it spilled out elsewhere in life. So I hear you when you said "trying to rein in some". I enjoyed your writing and more so knowing I am not alone out there in sometimes feeling like an anger management class candidate. My faith has helped me though.

  5. Thank you. Belief can certainly be a powerful thing.