Confession: I have an anger problem. This is difficult for me to admit, because I'm always quick to see anger in other people, and am so judgmental in thinking my self-control is a lot better. Well, hello irony. This realization snuck up on me fairly recently. At first, whenever I became angry, I would excuse myself because I felt justified on reacting rapidly due to my feelings - but that's a problem (lol). I noticed this in my interactions with my mum, just because she's the person I interact with most on a day-to-day basis. I mean, there are things that mums do that annoy kids, I guess, but, some stuff I overreact to like my dog eating her steak and having another dog try steal it.
Usually I'll be dead silent and give a side eye, or if she asks me to do something I'll erupt and say "no." After these interactions, I realize how stupid and tweeny of me I sound. Then I feel guilty and apologize profusely, especially since it's my mum, and considering how much she's sacrificed for everyone who still lives in her house lol. But then being the overly sensitive and guilt ridden person I am, I'll obsess over it and bring it up even after the matter has already passed and I've been forgiven.
Since I'm an introspective person, I typically keep my extreme emotions inside for a while unless some outside force stimulates them, then I just explode.
This happened 3 Sundays ago. A family friend just called me out of the blue and wanted to hang out with me. By the time she had called, I was already planning to go to the Safaricom Jazz Festival solo, since I didn't have anyone to go with, really. Let me rephrase that: I had her to go with, but I preferred someone who I knew really well, like really close friends who I'm no longer nearby thanks to the oceans. I was very hesitant to ask her to come along, but since I'm a people pleaser of course I said yes. Cue my mood. Not to long after hanging up the phone, I moved to a bad mood fast. I came up with some story of how my mum had set this up and had told her of my plans and wanted us to hang out together and become the best of friends, when in actuality, this girl literally just wanted to spend time with me. I flipped out to the point that even getting dressed was an issue. I tried on 4 different shirts, each with 2 different short combinations and then jeans, (because Africa,) and then started verbally abusing myself to the point where I was almost crying and had to tell myself to take deep breaths. All this because I didn't want someone who wanted to spend time with me to spend time with me. I think about it now and I'm like, that's literally so stupid. I'm back in Nairobi, where the number of people I can chill with are less than the fingers on my one hand, and then I get an opportunity to hang out with someone and I lose my mind just because I don't know her. Isn't the point of a new friend, someone you don't really know who you start to get to know? Gosh. Of course once I realized this, the guilt and shame on top of the verbal abuse just started sabotaging me to the point that I didn't want to go to the festival anymore.
As I write this, I'm trying to dissect the larger cause of this problem:
- It could be the fact that the people who know me best and I'm most comfortable around are thousands of kilometers away from me. And I'm subconsciously comparing every potential friend or situation with my friends and environment back in the States.
- It could be the fact that I'm not complying with one of my goals, which was to step out of my comfort zone and get out there. I've seriously been lacking in this area, and that's due to the fact that I'm not giving many things or people a chance.
- It could be the fact that I'm still jobless and don't have major responsibilities to keep me out of my restlessness. Cue annoyance. Cue disappointment. Cue misery. Cue anger.
So, what to do when the deep breaths aren't enough to keep me calm and my prayer life is as deserted as Kenya's old drive-in cinemas? Well, I know the solution does entail God. And what I've been doing when my mood turns to the point of wanting to howl and push someone down the stairs, is turn to music. Now, this is not the same as when I'm feeling super duper sad and need some sort of solidarity. This is God's message in music, particularly in the song "It Is Well" by Kristene DiMarco of Bethel. My friend, Amanda, played this song on loop for me during a prolonged nervous breakdown. It's such a song of peace that reminds me of what's most important, and it never ceases to calm me down.
Here are the lyrics:
Grander earth has quaked before Moved by the sound of His voice Seas that are shaken and stirred Can be calmed and broken for my regard
Through it all, through it all My eyes are on You Through it all, through it all It is well Through it all, through it all My eyes are on You It is well with me
Far be it from me to not believe Even when my eyes can't see And this mountain that's in front of me Will be thrown into the midst of the sea
Through it all, through it all My eyes are on You Through it all, through it all It is well
So let go my soul and trust in Him The waves and wind still know His name
It is well with my soul It is well with my soul It is well with my soul It is well with my soul
It is well it is well with my soul.
Through it all, through it all My eyes are on You Lord Through it all, through it all It is well with me.
I'm still working on this anger thing. Anyone out there with a similar problem? What are your solutions?