Coming to terms with a divorce after 14 years of giving it your all to make it work can bring out some anger. Being in therapy and realizing you’ve been suppressing your emotions for most of your life can also bring out quite a bit of rage. I won’t go into all the reasons I am in my current state. What’s important is now that I know that I’m angry, what am I going to do with all of it?
“Be angry and sin not” is what I’ve been taught. Translation: Be angry and don’t fuck up your life or anyone else in the process.
That scripture has always been unsatisfying to me. Because there is no other instruction about what to do with that anger other than to just be…and being angry is never a good feeling, or is it?
Here is a small list I have incidentally discovered over the years that has helped me to channel my anger.
Anger and sex are closely related to me. Anger gets my blood boiling and so does sex. So lately I’ve been asking myself, how can I make these two work for me?
I won’t forget the first time I was hit during sex, it did something to me. And when I returned the favor and punched his ass in the torso a few times, I was off the rails and it made for an incredible sexual encounter. I knew then that sex can be one way that I channel my rage. Of course, it is important to note that I had history with my partner that went back to childhood. I felt incredibly safe with him, and most important, he was cool with hitting. But I cannot tell you how much of a release it was having that moment to channel the intense feelings I had bottled up for years. I wanted more of it.
Speaking of hitting,
2. H.I.I.T and Boxing
When I cannot have sex (which is often these days), I have found my workout to be my saving grace for pent up anger. A friend introduced me to boxing a few years ago with a group of men. Perhaps it was somewhere amid the surrounding testosterone and being in a grungy garage that I first discovered how my wrath can be used in the most productive way, getting my body right and tight.
Later, after I gave birth to my second child in my late 30’s, I signed up for boot camp. The class was a H.I.I.T session, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training and my trainer was lit.
Since I have been in the gym, I’ve channeled my anger during a 3-year unemployment period, when different men in my life have pissed me off, when I am sexually frustrated, when I’ve had a bad day, when I’m depressed…name the injustice and I find a way to bring it into the gym with me and work it out. My method is to put whatever is bothering me in my mind when I’m straining through a particularly painful move. Best part, when someone has set me off, I put their face in line of view when I am kicking or punching, and it brings great satisfaction.
Some women are like Cardi B with their anger and some are like Issa Rae. I fall into the latter category. I will internalize my anger and then come home and go off in the mirror. Hip Hop gives me words to spit when I reach that mirror.
The first artist I immersed myself in when I was reunited with hip hop was J. Cole, later Kendrick Lamar. Both speak profoundly about rage and can articulate it in ways that are clever, authentic, and most of all truthful to their experiences, no matter how ugly they are. I often find myself these days quoting one of them to express how I feel.
Hip Hop has no shame about its anger, it claims it with authority and says, I have every right to be angry. For someone like me, the music and lyrics are just the permission I need to emote as I go through my own disillusion and loss.
And the exciting part of it all is that between my exercise (both inside and outside the bedroom) and rap, I have been able to discover parts of myself sexually. I can use my body during sex, during workouts, and while listening to hip hop to express my femininity and rage simultaneously.
So, if I have to be angry, I am going to make it work for me and not against me. In fact, Kendrick knows a little something about that. In his words, “If I gotta slap a pussy ass nigga, Ima make it look sexy. If I gotta go hard, Ima make it look sexy.” Whatever I do, when I am hot with rage, I am going to make it look sexy. This one here won’t be taken out of her element.