I have been living with anger since I was five years old.
It was the first emotion I remember experiencing. It was well-fed through childhood and erupted when I was a younger man. Now, nearly forty, I have a good grasp of it. I can control it, for the most part.
But the facade I crafted to hide it from people no longer works. I'm not sure it ever did, which has forced me to face it.
It's boiling water on a stove. It's always there, always prevalent, rumbling, roiling, threatening to explode. I press the lid down and smile, trying to deflect it with humor. Make people laugh. They'll never know the truth if you can make them laugh.
Sometimes, no matter how hard I press against the lid, the water bursts through. Though it no longer happens as often as it used too, I'm not prepared when it does. In a second, anger devolves into volcanic rage.
Then I need to get away, be alone, be anywhere but where I am. I need to punch something as hard as I can. Sometimes I need to do it over and over again. My knuckles ache and splinter. I don't care. The pressure must be released. The lava must run, even if its me that's being overrun.
It passes. It always does. I can't feel my hands. My breath is hot. My blood literally feels like it's on fire, like my heart is an overworked engine pushing napalm throughout my body. Either something is destroyed or a wall is battered.
I don't fight anymore, not like I used too. But sparring still serves as an outlet. It lets me face the volcano on my own terms. The test is to not lose my temper. If I do, I'm base and unworthy of the match. I've lost. If I can't control myself then I don't need to be near people who can.
My deepest fear is that, beneath everything else, maybe I'm just an evil person.
But I realize; being a good person, especially when you know the alternative, is a choice.
I choose not to be destructive.
I choose to bring no harm to others.
I choose to live a productive life.
I choose to use my anger as fuel for humor and a cautionary tale for those struggling with it.
Every day we are allowed, we are presented with the choice of what type of person we would like to be. Every single person on this planet has a cross to bear. It doesn't matter how it came to you, what matters is how you deal with it.
Anger is my cross. Channeling it into light is how I deal with it. I may falter, but I won't be consumed by it.
So hello, my name is Avery. I am an angry person.
And I have come to terms with it.
Thanks for reading.