Thursday, 29 January 2015
The Lion Tamer
At first I was angry about so many things in my new normal life. I felt I had every right to be angry because I had lost everything that I held dear in this little rented terrace. I was so angry. I screamed and used the most inappropriate language to anyone who was brave enough to enter the darkness and try to connect with me. My mother in particular was the receiver of my wrath.
I upset almost anyone and everyone that crossed my path. Some deserved it but others did not.
The reason why I was so angry with other people is clearer to me now. I was furious that they did not understand what I was going through.
Anger is a complex emotion. It is very different from the feeling of losing ones temper because that, at least, is an outburst which leads to some sort of outcome. The anger I felt in the early days and months was such an overwhelming sense of outrage and fury that I questioned my own character.
But still, I raged on. I was snappy, impatient and antagonistic. And most of the time I didn't care. I had lost the capacity to care for others and I certainly didn't care about myself. When the person you love so deeply and intimately dies, I am afraid that this is what is can do to you. I became somebody that I didn't recognise and worst of all, I was someone that I did not like.
I came to realise after entering my new normal that I had never truly been angry before Bebe died. I had lost my temper only once in the 8 years we had together. I had felt the pressure building and it led to an angry outburst which was not my finest moment - but it was directed at somebody else. In the cinema, during a film. Yep.
So somewhere between Bebe dying and where I am now, I began to take stock. I did this because I began to truly understand that I have a choice in these matters. I knew that I did not want to continue treating people around me, particularly the ones who were trying to reach out, like they had done something wrong.
I was angry because I wanted somebody or something to blame for my situation. I thought I would blame cancer - that vile, incomprehensible and silent hijacker of life but that just made me feel even more powerless.
My thoughts turned to how powerless I had become over my emotions. I understood that I needed to cry and be sad because after tears, all encompassing as they were, I always felt slightly calmer.
But anger was a different animal. It was a lion that strolled through my being as if it owned the place and it was the cancer that was giving this animal the freedom to my city. It had to stop.
Cancer had taken the life of my loved one. The anger was a reaction and I refused that it would hitch a lift on the back of my attempt to survive.
And with that, I battled it away. I went to bed one night and I talked myself down from the trees. My life is precious. The people who love me deserve the best of me.
I deserve the best of me.
For Bebe: I was never angry in all those years we were together and we had a great life. I cannot promise that I won't get annoyed as these times are very testing for me. But I promise that I will continue to let go of this anger and not let it spoil me or my relationships with others.