Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Don't Do Sadness

A friend - not a close friend, but a friend - recently told me that he finds me a very angry person. Which, in spite of the fact that you could easily say was true, I have to admit I took a little bit of offense to.

I have an acting teacher who likes to put negative emotions - at least in terms of their usefulness in acting - into a binary of sad or angry. He likes to ask whether you find yourself more angry or sad, in terms of how you DEAL with negative feelings, and which you have an easier time expressing. As you may have guessed from the subject, I of course fall to angry. As with any human, things make me sad, of course, and I react as an ordinary human would - which is to say, well, sadly. You know, crying and the lot.

Perhaps because I am more prone to be self-critical rather than self-pitying, however, by and large I find anger a much more productive emotion. There is a time and a place and a god-given necessity for wallowing, and if I need to do it, I'm going to do it. But mostly? Wallowing is for healing oneself or finding a way to deal. Reactionary anger is that way to deal.

I'm not saying it's always good; my temper has gotten me into trouble before and most assuredly will again. I'm quick to fly off the handle and I often say things I don't mean, and in rare cases I'm still paying for that. I hold a grudge. I can forgive being slighted but I do not forget. But for example, when you, say, get kicked out of your apartment or yelled at by your director of your play 2 days before opening for a bunch of very good reasons that you nonetheless should've been hearing about two weeks ago, I find that anger is more likely to get off my dead ass, work harder, and get shit done than sitting around feeling bad for myself.

Listen. I'll deal with my shit the way I see fit, and if I'm hitting the roof instead of hitting others, I'm okay with being "angry" - it beats the hell out of being pathetic.

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