I’ve led a very tumultuous life of drugs, violence death, and abuse. Some inflicted upon me, and worse, times when I’ve unilaterally inflicted it upon others. My life is littered with stories of drinking, drugging, police, homelessness, psychiatric wards, jails, etc.
Over the course of my sobriety, I’ve had time to reflect on the past, what my experience has taught me and what helped me survive. I’ve come to realize that through all of my struggles, it was my anger that drove me. I held on to my anger, for it allowed me to seek vengeance, and it gave me something to live for. My ego, more than anything wouldn’t allow me to give up, because I had to be the last one standing, or I had to prove to them, that in the end, I would get them back.
This is what helped me survive all those years. My anger.
Then sobriety happened, I found the medicine people on the Good Red Road, who helped guide and nurture me back to health and balance. They encouraged me to go to ceremony and to go fasting. These leaders, Elders and Grandparents talk a lot about “letting go” and “forgiveness.”
As I’ve sat back and reflected on all my hardships, whether they were in jail, or sleeping under a dock in Kelowna, BC, I’ve always had my humour. Come to think of it, even when I did ten months jail in the Pas and Brandon Manitoba, the one true thing that got us Indians through the days was laughter. (Mind you, that laughter was probably the misogynistic, and patriarchal type, but it was humour and laughter that pulled me/us through. I’ve evolved since then.)
Since I was called to what everyone knows as “political activism,” I was pulled back into that drama of anger and resentment. It seems that anger and hatred fuel the fire for the revolutionary thought process. And as I became more involved with this revolutionary political activism, I became more and more angry and full of hatred.
I saw this medicine man last year, and through the Sacred Prayer Pipe, he gave me a message that the ancestors were asking of me. They were instructing me once more to give up my anger, because on the path that was being prepared for me, anger had no use anymore.
I reflected on this thought for a long time day in and day out. It has been hard to accept what I was told, but I was told, “Just do it.”
You see, anger is a comfortable and dear friend to me. Someone who I’ve spent a lot of time with, and whom I’ve gotten to know really well over the years. They tell me I have to let go of my good friend anger. But why?
Oh yes, when I was in AA for a while, I remember them talking about anger, and they use a term like “Drove me to drink” e.g. “I was so angry that it drove me to drink.”
Does anger serve a purpose? Of course it does – it is part of my story, and it got me to where I am now. Anger is a natural and primal emotion. Having said that, I’ve never gone to a ceremony that was fuelled by anger. Come to think of it, might be kind of funny to see the conductor say, “Hey you f’n, old timers, get a move on and come bless these idiots already, I got to get home and watch the hockey game, for f’s sakes!”
The last couple of months, I’ve let anger get the best of me. I’ve yelled at my best friends on more than one occasion, and on at least a few occasions, I was literally seeing red, and could envision myself beating the crap out of a few people. In my drinking days, there would have been no question, I would have punched a lot of you in the head by now, and I probably would be sitting in a jail cell or a psychiatric ward, too. It was then that I had to do some serious self-check-ins and evaluate my situation.
In my reflecting, I was thinking about some of the tools that I have that can get me out of this mess and the one thing that kept coming back to me was to use my sense of humour.
In case you haven’t noticed, my Facebook statuses have been all about farts, fart smudge, fart this or fart that. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it might be crude, but it’s humourous to me and humour levels me out.
Where anger once stood, I am trying to fill the void with another tool that is useful. And for the time being, fart humour is helping me transition from an angry bird, to a more of a song bird or perhaps a lowly pigeon.
Do I get angry? Yes, I get angry. But for whatever reason that is being asked of me, I can’t let anger be the driving force that guides me anymore.
Until next time, I bend over and fart in your general direction!