Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tired of Hard Mode

I'm afraid of angry people. My excuse is my past, which was filled with violence. Yet, I find myself drawn to victim stories, which is but the other side of anger. Although I avoid the mainstream news, I still get bits and pieces of it from social media and more particular news feeds, and from these filtered sources, I seek out comments that may anger me or support my righteous indignation at some injustice.

Tonight, I read about rape culture and was comparing levels of victimization. Women versus blacks, or women in rape culture versus queer men in hyper-competitive macho culture. I want to diminish the differences between the oppressed classes to establish solidarity against oppression itself. I also am tired of the patronizing "You don't understand me" rhetoric that keeps us all so separate. No, I don't understand how we can cooperate if you insist that I'm subhuman and must change the way I think and act in order to crawl out of the mud of a zombie culture. How about having a little faith and forgiveness?

In such a way, I've placed myself at odds with a class of victims. I've become a victim of a victim. And isn't that what we all are as long as we believe that attack is possible? My fear of angry people draws me to stories of people being angry at each other and at me. I need that rush of fear and indignation to keep me feeling alive. It's funny because I'm so frustrated and annoyed by people who have the same addiction to that "argh!" feeling but in a slightly different form and with different characters playing the oppressors. I passive-aggressively wish to scream at them to stop being so aggressive.

It's me who needs to stop being aggressive, to stop reacting to stimuli by running away or cowering. I make real the offense when I defend. I am unforgiving when I shut my ears to others' complaints.

I've been told by counselors to avoid angry people. I resist their advice because it feels like failure to let my life be controlled by fear, to be unable to conquer my reactions to their outbursts. I want to beat this game on hard mode. On the other hand, I could be masking an even bigger fear of happy, successful people. Perhaps my self-loathing will only allow me to befriend those who I'd compare favorably with lest a successful person get to know me deeply and be dismayed by my ineptitude. If I really want to beat this game, I should conquer my fear of the successful rather than my frustration with failures. I could do better curbing my envy in the company of winners than trying to increase my tolerance of angry haters.

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