Why I’ve been so angry

As an Arian, I am predisposed to anger. However, I have worked hard over the years to control the tendency, because it is mentally and physically wearing and somewhat pointless. I’ve actively practised becoming more tolerant and less critical of others, adopting a ‘live and let live’ attitude, and recognising that everybody has a point of view and it doesn’t have to match mine to be valid. Yes, I sometimes fail, because it’s hard to fight your inherent personality traits, but I keep trying.

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I like to begin my day generally with a leisurely hypothyroid-friendly breakfast of orange juice with salt, toast and butter, and a cup of coffee, while digitally reading the news, anticipating that this will promote a gentle awakening and preparation for a productive and happy day.

But it doesn’t, and it was a remark I made in a recent blog post that made me realise why. I wrote how bad news attracts more attention than good news, which explained my particular choice of breakfast reading matter, which is what makes me angry.

I suspect that anybody who reads it will recognise what I am talking about. I’ll just say that almost everything it publishes makes me angry, and that is not because of the glaring errors, grammatical and factual. It highlights every negative word with LARGE BOLD LETTERS that leap out of the page and MAKE ME ANGRY. It is a daily source and blend of everything that is depressing and fatuous, from corruption, racial hatred and social injustice, contrasting with the glorification of people who have achieved fame and wealth for having outsize buttocks or spending their lives having cosmetic surgery, to how the shape of your fingernails defines your personality (or similar inanity).

Now, remember that I am tolerant and respect the right of those big-buttocked and cosmetically-altered people to their modi vivendi if it makes them happy, as well as the publication’s right to publish any articles they choose. But after spending my allocated 15 minutes reading this stuff do I ever experience that gentle awakening into a productive and happy day?

No. Never. I AM ALWAYS ANGRY. Most of all I am angry with myself, that day after day I have been clicking for my fill of bad news, like picking at a scab to prevent a wound from healing, and wasting my time on something that actively puts me into a negative frame of mind. That is as stupid as stupid gets.

Today, it has stopped. I have not clicked. It isn’t a resolution, it’s solemn oath that henceforth, instead of clicking on that source of anger, I will allocate my 15 minutes to the Guardian Crossword (Quick on weekdays, Speedy on Sundays. No way could I hope to accomplish a Cryptic, Quiptic or Prize in such a short time – if ever.) While that can occasionally lead to mild frustration, more often than not it’s cause for celebration when a seemingly impossible clue suddenly becomes obvious because you’ve managed to fill in one letter that reveals the solution. Not only does it give the little grey cells a mild jolt into action, it MAKES ME HAPPY! 🙂

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Dominique Godbout/Flickr Creative Commons

 

What helps you to get your day off to a good start?

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31 thoughts on “Why I’ve been so angry

  1. I’m a Taurean but don’t think that makes any difference to my start of the day.
    First thing I do is make myself a double espresso. Take it to my armchair and sip it slowly.
    Plop my laptop onto my lap and open it.
    The first thing I see is the wallpaper on the screen and I smile and say good morning to the smiling face looking out at me of grandson Elliot.
    That’s how I start the day – never fails.
    I would put the photo here but have no idea how to do so.

  2. Like Pip, I’m a Taurian – bullish and stay-at-home which I like to think don’t ressemble me at all! However, I would never start my day reading the news. I usually listen to France Info when I’m preparing lunch or dinner. We haven’t unpacked our TV since we moved so I don’t ever watch TV news. Jean Michel reads it in the evening after dinner on the iPad.
    When I’m by myself for breakfast, I must prefer to check my emails and Facebook!
    I think the Guardian crossword is a much better idea ….
    Good luck!

    • I suppose it’s all down to habit, Rosemary. Being an owl, not a lark, I need to ease gently into the day, and sitting at my desk with my breakfast is how I’ve always done so. Checking emails is first on my list, then it was news, and then Facebook. As you know, I’ve curtailed Facebook at least for the time being, as I was spending too much time there. Another addiction I need to control. 🙂 So now it’s email and crossword, then straight into the day. Not feeling at all angry this morning. 😉

  3. Yes Susie, I too have been in the grip of this addiction for too long. Something I read yesterday makes sense and it may help you honour your oath! It’s that the collective energy whipped up by those getting their fix of all the negativity you speak of, actively feeds the stream of negativity blighting our planet. Somehow I think you know this already, but I like to think of your joy and when you crack a crossword clue helping to feed the stream of positivity helping to light up the world instead. Pip too, what a lovely idea! x

    • Thank you, Joanna. What an interesting comment. The publication-that-I-no-longer-look-at plainly sets out to feed the collective negativity by emphasising all the negative words. Why would they do that? It clearly works, because the comments left by readers are full of rage and hatred. You put it into perspective. I was contributing to the collective negativity. But I’m not any more! Finished the crossword in just under 4 minutes this morning. 🙂

  4. As a fellow Aries, I find I have no problem with anger management.
    My anger manages me very well,
    I have no complaints and am becoming too deaf to hear any that others might make.
    If there is no Test Match, I start the day with the Costa Rican ,U.K. French and sometimes Spanish press.
    After six rounds with sheep, ducks, chickens, dogs and Leo’s breakfast I’ll catch upon internet newsletters.
    I don’t find it negative: I like to know what the bar stewards are up to which may affect my pension, the cost of living and my life expectancy so as to give me some chance of taking evasive action.

    Apart from which I can’t do crossword puzzles. Mother whips through them at a rate of knots but to me they make no sense at all…

    • Firstly, Helen, I don’t believe there is anything that you can’t do. That is nonsense-talk. 🙂

      Maybe it’s your Scottish blood that gives you the fighting spirit to take on all the bar stewards. I’m taking evasive action ostrich fashion for the sake of my sanity and ability to focus on my writing. 🙂

      • Loads of things I can’t do -use a ‘smart’ ‘phone for a start!

        No chance here to focus on writing…non stop Person from Porlock from morning to night…

        I agree that alone we can do nothing…but it worries me that complacent people don’t realise how fragile their perceived security is…if your pension goes up the spout then goodbye to the freedom to ignore events,which, as SuperMac knew, were the imponderables which will determine the future.

    • Makes sense. Why wear ourselves out worrying about all the troubles of the world when we can’t do anything about them? If anything is going to directly affect us, we’ll find out soon enough. I’m not even sure whether so much of what we are fed by the media is news or propaganda, and it’s made me very cynical.

  5. I’m a cuspie … Virgo and Libra which means that I one side of me is dominated by mild OCD and the other is constantly striving for balance and harmony. This means that on the one hand I am constantly anxious about disorder and on the other that I am perpetually trying to see both sides of every situation. It is very tiresome and very tiring. For me. My husband claims that it is hard for him. I refuse to believe this. The dog says nothing. As for mornings … the only essential is a good cup of builders-strenght tea. Which makes living in France quite difficult.

    • That was bad planning by your parents. It sounds exhausting for you. I’m lucky in that I have neither of those predispositions. 😉

      Ugh, tea – can’t stand the stuff unless it’s Earl Grey (with milk) or Lapsang Souchong. I know it can be difficult to get a ‘proper’ cup of tea in France, as it often comes as a cup of warm water accompanied by a tea bag. However, we have a very posh salon du thé nearby. The selection of teas is limited to Earl Grey and various fruit or flower infusions. It’s worth a visit just to enjoy the presentation. The tea is served in a glass teapot, and accompanied by an egg timer. Each type of tea has a recommended optimum brewing time, and when the waiter brings it to the table they turn over the matching egg timer and you wait until the sand has run out, then pour your tea into a glass cup. And you are given a dish of delicate petits fours, including some of the best macarons I’ve ever tasted, all fait maison. But no builders’ tea, I’m afraid.

      • I would walk many miles for those macarons and indeed this tea heaven …. The brutal stuff is only required to kickstart me at other times I’m happy to be more refained (stet) …. I’ve been thinking about your relationship with infuriating ‘news’ rags and can only applaud your decision to confine yourself to the Grauniad crossword. I’m afraid I generally avoid at all costs because my blood pressure is too feeble to deal with the inevitable Meldrew-ish outbursts! I do however read le Montagne 3 or 4 times a week – reading about cow-related incidents and the relentless march of the dreaded Mole-Rats occupies my tiny brain admirably 😉

  6. Susie, I start my day with a sweet and salty nut granola bar. Then for lunch orange juice, yogurt (not Greek), sausage and egg biscuit. Sound slightly familiar (not the sausage!)? Oh, and lots of coffee.
    Anger? I try to avoid it. Being critical and judgmental of others is inherent, unfortunately for me and those around me. I work on that. Daily. Sound familiar?
    But what I am successful at is—avoiding things that make me angry. I look at a LOT of things on the web. It’s what I do. But I deliberately avoid pieces that clearly are meant to provoke anger. Very little politics and government. I can’t control it, can’t influence it, so why should it concern me? I try to remember the Serenity Prayer. It applies.
    My out of house activities are chosen carefully to avoid anger on my part and anger on the part of others.
    I watch documentaries and some animal shows. Generally no anger there. I do watch news but only for information; some of it angers me but I just try to let it go. A lot of things sadden me. But anger? No.
    It takes a real, genuine, constant effort to avoid things that provoke anger. But you’re making the effort, as am I. Good for us!

    • We could share lunch, Bob. You could have my sausage. Followed by scones with Tiptree jam. 🙂

      You’re right, it does take a conscious effort to avoid those things that anger us. If anger could achieve anything, there might be a point to it, but I can’t see that it ever does.

      I think meditation is the answer. Om.

      • Oh, yes. Sausage, scones (or, preferably crumpets) with Tiptree seedless raspberry or strawberry preserves. Anger would not penetrate the Tiptree shell and, while potentially profitable, there would be no need for meditation.

  7. Osyth, if you happen to be coming this way, let me know and I will be very happy to take you to the salon for the tea, egg timer and macarons. I should warn you that the opening hours can be somewhat unpredictable and do not always coincide with les horaires as stated on the door, but if it’s closed then I have a complete kitchen drawer full of various types of tea. Friends who visit from England always bring me boxes tea bags, and as I am too polite to say I don’t like tea, the boxes remain pristine and unopened in the drawer, which is so full that it is a struggle to close now. I am quite partial to Lidl’s macarons, so I’ll pop a box in the freezer in case you turn up at short notice and the salon is shut for one of its mysterious reasons.

  8. Yes! I’m a Gemini, but I do so agree with you. A couple of days ago there was a portrait of Jihadi someone on the front page! I started seething and mumbling ‘That’s right, give them what they want, you idiots’ – tried to write to the paper, couldn’t find out how to do it on line… So, like you, I now stick to the crossword (quick, though I would dearly love to be able to do the cryptic… Not going to happen, though, I don’t get it even when I have the answer). The one thing that makes anger dissolve, in my case, is going for a ride…

  9. @Helen Devries – oh dear, not a Person from Porlock. For long? I cannot use a Smartphone either; they are too smart for me, because I could not find anything useful to do with mine other than listen to hypnosis at night. Couldn’t even make calls with the thing, there never seemed to be an available signal, or the battery was flat.

    I think it is the feeling of helplessness in the face of what is going on, more than the actual what-is-going-on, that makes me feel so angry, hence beneath the sandbags I am busily sharpening my knitting needles ….

    • The P from P lives here….permanently. Makes tea…etc….

      I had to get a smart phone when cattle lorries kept pulling down the ‘phone lines but the thing is beyond,me: it does all sorts of things in Spanish which I wouldn’t understand in English but try to read the live reports of a Test Match and it sort of hiccups…

      Yes, the helplessness does make one feel angry…but if some of these complacent so and sos would open their eyes it wouldn’t feel quite so much like an uphill struggle.
      They should read – or re read Primo Levi’s Invocation to ‘Is this a man’….it may refer specifically to the concentration camps, but has universal relevance:

      You who live safe
      In your warm houses,
      You who find, returning in the evening,
      Hot food and friendly faces:

      Consider if this is a man
      Who works in the mud,
      Who does not know peace,
      Who fights for a scrap of bread,
      Who dies because of a yes or a no.
      Consider if this is a woman
      Without hair and without name,
      With no more strength to remember,
      Her eyes empty and her womb cold
      Like a frog in winter.

      Meditate that this came about:
      I commend these words to you.
      Carve them in your hearts
      At home, in the street,
      Going to bed, rising;
      Repeat them to your children.

      Or may your house fall apart,
      May illness impede you,
      May your children turn their faces from you.

      And as for knitting needles I remember when young that we had to stick them in a cork and wind wool round them – a pass time as ludicrous as using a smart phone: They made a wonderful weapon in the classroom.

      • Is complacency born of ignorance? People who are smugly content that their lives will never be adversely affected. I can’t imagine Fred the Shred or Madoff ever believed their heads could roll. At least they contribute a little pleasure in the form of schadenfreude.

        It’s the disdain of people like IDS, with their deliberate, ruthless, dispassionate determination to annihilate the vulnerable by all means within their power, like the Nazis, that angers me. And indeed, may the gods reward them accordingly.

  10. @ChattyKerry – Oh, that’s not so bad. I was thinking in terms of wrenching the steering wheel to push the other vehicles off the road; perhaps a few stray gun shots. That kind of thing. 🙂

  11. Hmm! I am a very annoying Libran who finds it hard to get angry [maybe I’m too lazy or was taught from a very young age that it will get me nowhere – except maybe an apoplexy] so pity any poor person who has me as a passenger in the car when they get agitated, fume and shout at other drivers and I say platitudes such as, “calm down”, “you must expect people to do stupid things” “we are not in a hurry” etc.etc. Their blood pressure must triple! However, I do read the Telegraph on line every morning – with my cup of strong builders tea – and I am amazed at how angry I get at the majority of the news [and quite a lot of the Comment and Features too!] and if not anger, then despair. Many times I have said that I will stop, it gets the day off to a bad start, but there’s always that sneaky peek at the headlines and then I’m a gonner again. Later, I try the Cryptic which I could always do as a “team” with my late husband [my lovely new partner shies away!] and it’s not anger that overcomes me, it’s despair at being so useless at it! Then to put the icing on the cake, I’m really miffed that I’ve wasted so much of my day!!

    • 🙂 It comes to something when even a Libran can be provoked by the ‘news’. I imagine that somewhere a Controller sits, directing all the media: “See how much bad stuff you can dig up and dish out. Bury anything that might give people some hope. Let’s spoil their day.” I haven’t looked at any newspaper (apart from the crossword) since I took the oath, and I haven’t missed it at all. I take a quick look at the BBC headlines and check Reuters once a day, in the belief that if anything is happening in the world that I should know about, they will have it covered. I used to love cryptics, in the days when I had time to do them – i.e. when I had a proper job. Nowadays I find I can’t concentrate on them any more, and then I get frustrated, so it’s back to the Quickies and Speedies. Not that they can’t sometimes be tricky if you have a compiler who is passionate about obscure subjects.

  12. Pingback: 5 – 3 – 1 | Susie Kelly - Writer

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