Monday, May 25, 2015

Tales from the front - sometimes, you just need to get angry

"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." - Winston Churchill

I've written, several times, about failure. Mainly due to the amount of times I do fail, and how I do it. About a week ago I wrote a post on Facebook, speaking to that very thing; not fearing failure or making mistakes, but more importantly, the need for you to be the first one to pick yourself up. That means the first hand you should be looking for is your own. The impetus for this post? I had run into or talked to a number of friends and peers who were going through a difficult time. They were hurting, and felt trapped. They weren't seeing the options that were in front of them clearly, because of fear, doubt, disappointment, or embarrassment. So I put the words out there, and it got a great response. I did get a few private messages from people asking me if I was ok, and I was. Or so I thought.

Let's be honest, the last year and a half has been filled with a lot of disappointment, mixed in with failure, more questions than ever, regarding fitness, health and my future. So when I raced this past weekend, unable to bridge the gap to the eventual leader at the Seahorse Duathlon, finishing second overall, my friend and race director announced to all "you look tired", he was right. But only half right. What I really am, and have been for a while, is angry. And what makes me more frustrated are people who are so quick to try to spew out some new agey bullshit, about how to deal with stuff without getting angry, without speaking your mind. Its hysterical to sit with people who ask for honesty yet don't like it when you do speak your mind, when you raise questions, when you shine a light on their hypocrisy. I get it, who doesn't love hearing how we are right? Who doesn't love hearing how great of a job we are doing? And what does that produce? Passive-aggressive behavior that fuels more frustration and, wait for it, anger.

I am not suggesting to look for conflict. I'm not suggesting to simply rage for the purposes of raging, but I'll be dammed if I or anyone has the right to tell someone not to be angry. To not get riled up. To not speak your mind, even if its not what everyone wants to hear. I call it plain speak, or the way everyone used to talk until everyone got so damn sensitive that we have to walk on eggshells constantly. This is life; I have a right to get upset, just like anyone else. To avoid telling me or anyone something because you don't like the way we respond is ridiculous. Otherwise you never get the real story. You get half truths, because people don't like conflict. Look, here's how life works -you tell someone something they don't like or don't want to hear, odds are, they aren't going to be thrilled. But that's on them. They have to deal with the information and move forward with it. Or not. But we have become so afraid of what people will think if we get mad, if we don't respond the way they want us to, we try to finesse the truth; we have developed a language that I call "avoidance bullshit". This kind of spin, using words that seem to come right out of a therapists mouth, or book by people who aren't even remotely qualified to be using them.

To add to this mixture of half truth, passive-aggressive nonsense, we have somehow been led to believe that we need to constantly apologize for saying how we really feel. I think in the last year and a half, I have apologized more than I had in the past 10 years. And when I really think about why, I didn't really want to apologize. I was made to feel bad about speaking my mind, and the result was me apologizing for being too honest. For asking questions that forced people to really look at themselves and the bullshit they were trying to pedal. So when I crossed the line Sunday, I realized that all of this shit, had finally reached a breaking point. So yeah, I'm tired. I'm tired of being told to not be me. Has it been said to me in so many words? No. But its funny when you can read between the lines and discover exactly what people are saying. A benefit of growing up on the Southside of Chicago, where you learned how to not get bullshitted out of your shorts.

Of course the question is, what do you do with your anger? Channel it, and change your situation. Change your world. You aren't as stuck as you think you are. You have options. They may not all be great, but you need to pick one and build on it. Which is exactly what I am doing. I'm changing my world so I can be happy and successful. Even if you think you are stuck or can't get out of something, take a step back and take a wider view. There are always options. People who are living in war-torn third world countries with sociopath rulers still find a way to survive, even make it out. If they can do it, so can you. So can I. It always starts with a step. Just one. Forget what everyone else is telling you, go with your gut. Everyone has an opinion, everyone thinks they know what's best for you. Well, the one person who really knows is you. Don't ever forget that. And don't let others talk you into believing they know you better than yourself. Don't give away your right to use your anger as the tool for finding your happiness. As odd as that might sound, its true. Get angry. Get really, really angry. Then move. And move with purpose and speed. Attack the next step, and the next. Stop apologizing. Because I am. And I'm not special, I'm no different than anyone else. So I'm changing my world, fueled by the anger of bullshit, of failure, of being over-promised and under-delivered. I want my level of racing and training to be beyond where it is, to where it should be and then some. And that's just the beginning.

 I'm taking care of me, so what are you prepared to do? If you don't channel it, your anger will eat away your soul. It will rob of you of the ability to see beauty and light. Move. Right. Now.

Stay strong,