Catharsis: Or, when sadness and pain turn to anger

Even when you recognize that the time has come to move on from sadness, the pain that caused it doesn’t stop existing. This is a brief look at what turning what was sadness, into anger, feels like.

Sometimes when I write these personal blogs, I feel like I re-tread ground too often. Maybe that’s part of what separates personal from professional blogging; that is, a lacking of the need to make each post distinct and unique. In personal struggles within life, familiar feelings and situations tend to permeate. Our experiences color the journey which is our lives. The most powerful and affecting of these experiences can alter the very fabric of one’s own personal universe.

Of the things in my past that have haunted me the most, two I have discussed here, and at times these subjects, I’m sure, have made me sound like a broken record. One of these is “the breakup,” which is something that, at this point, I am “over.” It hurts to think about if I linger on it too long, but I no longer carry it with me day to day.

The other trauma that is still woven into the tapestry of my existence, is the dissolution of my old band, Frostfell. Because “the ex” was part of that band, and a major factor in its deterioration and eventual destruction, it is one more thing which makes my hatred of her harder to expunge from my brain.

An epiphany that I’ve had, is that while I cannot just magically change the fact of whether or not I emotionally react to something from my past, I can change the way in which I react. Sadness has its place, but it, along with a regret, is an absorbing, detrimental burden to carry. I have chosen instead to embrace anger.

I know what most people think when they hear that word. It has an automatically negative connotation. In this increasingly “sensitive” and politically correct modern world, things like anger are treated as an illness possessed only by the mentally disturbed or the violently anti-social. You are expected to just “let things slide,” or to “express your feelings in a positive manner.” When I hear things like that, can you guess which finger on my hand instinctively rises up?

Anger can be a tricky thing. Like sadness, or most any other emotion, it can be a destructive thing to carry around on a constant basis. But it is a natural state of human beings to yes, sometimes, be angry. Channeled properly, it can be amazingly motivating, and also liberating. There are times when having a shoulder to cry on can make all the difference in the world… but there are other times when beating on a punching bag in anger, or something similar, can be incredibly rewarding to the body and mind.

When I think now on the events which made me sad, depressed, or otherwise just crappy… I choose to be angry about it. It goes hand in hand with defiance… essentially, it is me standing up to things which used to haunt my days, and my dreams at night, and yelling, “enough is enough!” I am going to take these things that I feel, and throw them on the fires of my renewed self; On my renewed flame of creativity.

Even if the battle is to only be waged in my head, Ethereal Downfall will take revenge on Frostfell, and the failure of heartbreak and misery that is the past. Even if it sounds petty to some, I prefer to think that someday, when the project of my own personal musical and philosophical ambition reaches the point where it is ready to be shared en masse, a select few people from my past will see it, and regret that they will never again get to share in my pool of talents.

I know that some people would be quick to point out that letting people or events from the past spur a reaction, is in effect, still giving them the power over your life. I’ve actually had it said to me directly. There may be a modicum of truth to it. But the fact is, that causing a person to suffer through torment and pain, enough so that music and dark writing is the only catharsis for it, is hardly something I consider worth taking credit for. I prefer to think that people who have hurt me enough to ultimately induce the anger which I now feel, have no power over my life; rather, my reaction to what they did, is now the catalyst for my ambition. I choose to succeed despite their attempts to hold me back, and despite their short-sighted, immature, narrow view of life. I am angry to spite those who have hurt me, not to give them power. My reaction to the trauma is longer a knee-jerk reaction of pain and sorrow, but a furious determination to accomplish that which people whom I used to love and embrace, tried to keep me from.

There is a message that I hope to have conveyed here… that, pain can’t be wiped out with a magic wand, but how we react to it can be changed. I’d rather be angry and motivated to succeed, than sad and trapped in a black hole in some remote corner of my universe. My message is that anger does not have to equal evil, or anti-social, but rather, channeled properly, it can be the most creatively rewarding, and incredibly motivating of the human impulses.


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