I Don’t Mean To Yell But…

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There’s only one thing people are talking about right now. All conversations start with the same question, and it spirals from there: Have you looked outside? The weather, it’s madness, isn’t it? Can you believe it? Better stay inside until it passes. If it passes. Damn, this weather, right?

We’ve been hit by one storm front after another for a few weeks. I’m not sure if it’s my imagination or not, but I think we’ve had more warnings than usual. Wind. Rain. Tornado. I still can’t believe we had a tornado make landfall. When was the last time that happened here?

I should Google that but…Nah.

The winter weather is out of control. That’s fresh off a summer that was hotter than the surface of the sun. An entire town was destroyed by fire, and so was half of the province. Over 500 people died from heat-related causes in one week. We couldn’t go outside without the bottom of our shoes melting.

Now floods have severed all major routes in and out of the province. We are cut off from the rest of Canada. Did someone say doomsday? Fire, floods…If locusts show up, I’m out. That’s it for me. I do not do creepy crawling flying critters of ew. Nope, that’s too far, I say. Too far. 

Okay, I don’t think this is some street preacher’s prophecy fulfillment. I think it’s the result of another controversial topic. I could type the words, but then the arguments would start, and I’m too tired for that. I’m too tired to argue about one more thing so let’s keep it in neutral territory, shall we?

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It’s better than the other thing. You know the one. You can’t see/hear it, but I’m winking, and I just cleared my throat. The thing. The thing! Don’t make me say it. I don’t wanna say it. Another wink, a nudge, and an “ah” that escalates an octave too high. Yeah, that thing. Nobody wants to talk about it. We’re tired of saying the word and even more tired of the bickering it inspires.

This is why bringing up the banana pants weather is safer and a refreshing change. No one can look out the window and claim it’s just a bit of wind when a funnel of whirly doom is juggling cars. It’s a bit wet, you say? No, there’s a pond in the driveway. Where did koi fish come from?

Objectively, we can all agree that the weather is awful and it’s worse than it has ever been. We can’t argue about that or get angry and yell. We can both agree that things have gotten a bit out of hand. We’ve reached a consensus, there’s peace in the land. 

The weather is bonkers, right! Finally, we’re not raging about something.

Climate change. Coincidence. Smiting the sinful. Yes. No. No. Come on, stop it! We were just getting along for a change. I proclaimed peace in the places with the people. There was going to be a parade and cake. There could’ve been a variety of delectables for all dietary concerns. I don’t know, the details haven’t been worked out, but I was looking forward to it for, like, five seconds.

Why can’t we all just get along? Why so angry, bud? Am I yelling? Uh…

It sure is windy out there isn’t it? Phew, back on neutral soil and away from anything that could trigger discourse. Are you sick of the squabbling too? It seems to me that we’re all primed for it. Everything is an insult and we’re ready to attack. Or, we take a simple statement and twist it until it’s something we can bicker about, and we’re off.

Is it the stress? That could be it. I don’t know about you, but these last two years have been among the most stressful of my life. From personal loss to nearly losing a much loved, needed, valued family member. The isolation and uncertainty brought on by the you-know-what. Trying to create a future when everything feels so uncertain. It’s a lot. You might even say it’s too much.

Why is my voice rising so rapidly? What is this burning sensation in the pit of my stomach? Every day I find myself suppressing the urge to scream, “For f*cks sake, enough already!” Is anyone else resisting the urge to punch something? Just me? Okay, cool, I guess.

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I’m not an angry or violent person. You can ask anyone that’s known me for a minute. I don’t yell, curse people out, and I don’t think I’ve ever raised a hand in anger. Okay, there was one time when I was a kid, but my brother made me do it. He probably had it coming. My frontal cortex wasn’t fully developed. Yeah, that last one’s a better excuse.

I don’t remember the circumstances, but he pushed me too far, and I pushed back. There was a pint-sized scuffle, and it was quickly broken up by one of our parents. No big deal. Kids fight because they don’t know how to use their words. It’s a normal part of growing up.

Except, there was one small problem.

We were facing a very adult situation for two kids. A few days later, we were at the immigration office for our interviews with government officials. We were in the process of immigrating from South Africa to Canada. This was during apartheid, and we had to give up our South African citizenship to come to Canada. It meant, in a roundabout way, we were without a country until our new country welcomed us home.

Contrary to what you might hear on the news, it’s not an easy thing to do. Immigrating to a new country— especially from one that was considered a naughty no-no country— is a lot of work. It’s a long process that takes many years, and at any point, the government could say no, bye, out ya go. It often feels like they’re looking for a reason to kick you out. Any reason will do, but did that include fisticuffs with your older brother?

It’s stressful for everyone, and that includes children because we all know what’s at stake. Even kids get interviewed and put through the paces. They’re more relaxed than what our parents had to go through, but my brother and I knew what was it all meant. If we messed up just once, then our futures would be in grave jeopardy.

I remember sitting in the immigration office with a child advocate (parents weren’t allowed in the room), and he went through the list of questions. Have you ever used a firearm? Have your parents been a part of a violent organization? Have you committed any violent acts?

Uh, violent acts? Like what? I asked.

Hurt someone, he answered, and my stomach dropped. I’d done it. I’d messed everything up. We were going to be sent back to a country that didn’t want us, and we’d lose everything, and my parents would be so mad and….and…I started bawling my eyes out.

I didn’t mean to. My brother made me mad. It was an accident. Oh, the sobbing!

The immigration officer and the advocate patiently explained to me that, while hitting my brother wasn’t good, it wasn’t what they meant. I hadn’t screwed everything up, and our immigration status wouldn’t be affected by bickering siblings.


I’ve always thought that phrase belonged to the belligerent arse who pitches a fit at the slightest inconvenience. It doesn’t fit someone like me. I don’t fly off the handle or punch walls.

After that, I became very good at controlling my anger. I never lashed out in frustration, at least not physically. I kept it in until I became convinced that I don’t get angry. Sure, anger is a normal, healthy emotion. Of course, it is, but I don’t feel it. It doesn’t happen. Ever.

I’m too laid back for that kind of hyper-sensation. Even at times in my life when I should get angry, I shrug it off because it doesn’t seem helpful. What does it fix? Sure, I can scream, or I can put my head down and figure out a way to fix it. I could throw a fit, or I could learn a lesson and move on.  There are a lot better options than getting mad.

It’s not a big deal.

And I suddenly realize how often I say that it’s no big deal. I can handle it so, no big deal. You did me wrong? No big deal, you apologized so, forget about it. There are a hundred different variations of it, but what if I should’ve gotten angry?

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Not full-on green monster Hulk, but I could’ve used stronger language. I could’ve raised my voice and clenched my fist, even though I wouldn’t use it, ever. But I didn’t, and I can’t seem to do it now. Do I want to? Whew…Yeah, I think so.

It could be the build-up stress over the last two years, the emotional triple punch from the summer, or the bonkers weather. Whatever the reason, I’ve been experiencing surges of anger lately, and I don’t know what to do with it. How do you express anger when there’s no direct target? 

I don’t want to become one of those people who yells at someone who’s just doing their job. They put up with a lot and don’t get paid enough to do it. Just because I have an anger management problem doesn’t mean you have to deal with it.

Typing the words, anger management problem, makes me chuckle. I’ve always thought that phrase belonged to the belligerent arse who pitches a fit at the slightest inconvenience. It doesn’t fit someone like me. I don’t fly off the handle or punch walls.

Anger management problem? Ha, no, except…Huh. I don’t know how to manage my anger. My mind is spinning in too many directions. I feel like my thoughts are whirly winds of doom. A mental tornado, if you will. I’m feeling so angry right now. What do I do with that?

My anger problem doesn’t fit the profile I’d normally tag it with, but that’s what it is. It’s a problem that I don’t know how to solve. I don’t even know why I’m so angry. It’s there, simmering quietly in the background, and I need to find a healthy way to let it out.

Any of have some suggestions?


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