My father (God rest his soul; he died when I was just 21) had a temper. There were times when I was on the receiving end of that anger, and they were terrifying. I swore that I would never become him, but then I fell into a different, but perhaps predictable, trap: both suppressing my anger (which led to my lifelong, chronic, clinical depression, a dragon I still battle today), and projecting my anger onto other people (becoming a compulsive people pleaser, particularly to bosses and other authority figures). Neither tactic helped me.
It wasn’t until I had a textbook-classic case of hit-the-wall burnout, circa 1997-1999, when I had to come face to face with the fact that how I was dealing (or more accurately, not dealing) with what was making me angry was undermining my life and, essentially, killing me. That painful realization was the start of a long journey of healing, which is still unfinished.
I would get into my subcompact car and drive around Winnipeg’s Perimeter Highway, screaming myself hoarse in rage, with all the windows rolled up. I had inherited a brown corduroy recliner of my father’s after his death, and I would kneel in front of it and beat the seat cushion with my fists in rage, until they bled. And I did a LOT of therapy, talking things through with the psychiatrists who prescribed different kinds of antidepressants to help me heal from my debilitating waves of depression, my suppressed anger. I also talked with other counsellors and wise people through the years. It all helped.
And, for the most part, it worked. Today, when something happens that make me angry, I can usually respond by actually feeling and being aware of my anger, within a reasonable time frame (minutes and hours, not left to fester for weeks, months, or even years). I can feel appropriately angry, identify what (or whom) made me angry, try to parse the situation intelligently, and get some sort of handle on it. This is all progress, good progress.
But the fact remains that today, I am angry. Let me tell you why I am so goddamned angry. I’m going to create a list.
- I am angry that, despite having had the foresight to see that a pandemic was coming (to the point that I began blogging about it, exactly two years ago!), and despite preparing logistically for such an eventuality for years (even stocking up on canned beans and rice and N95 masks!), that I was as mentally and emotionally unprepared as anybody else when the pandemic did strike. No amount of prepping can prepare you for the actual moment when the shit hits the fan.
- I am angry that so many people refused to listen to me between January and March of 2020, when I was telling anybody and everybody who would listen that we needed to prepare, collectively and individually, for a pandemic. I confused and upset people when I took a blog which heretofore had been about social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse, and starting posting item after item after item about the pandemic. I wore myself out, and I honestly don’t know how many people were actually helped or convinced by that frenzy of posting.
- I am angry—no, make that incandescent with rage—at all the people who chose to listen to the misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories regarding the pandemic and vaccination, attacking the very scientists and healthcare workers to which they should have been paying attention. I am furious that, at a time when we could have all pulled together for the public good, during a public health crisis, we as a society instead chose to descend into divisive, argumentative factions, and that diviseness only seems to be getting worse instead of better. Who the fuck thinks it is okay to assault hospital workers, or send people like Dr. Fauci death threats?!??
- I am furious at the collective failure of all levels of government—national, provincial and state, municipal—to provide humane, science-based responses which could have prevented so much needless suffering, sickness, and death. I am angry at all the politicians during this current Omicron wave of the coronavirus pandemic who threw up their hands, and walked away from the people who looked to them for leadership, and instead gave empty sound bites. (Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, I am looking at you. The next provincial election cannot come fast enough to toss your entire sorry government out on its asses.)
- I am angry at how negatively my depression and anxiety have impacted my life, my career, and my beloved work on this blog and the Metaverse Newscast. I could have done so much better; I could have done so much more. The pandemic has just been beating the absolute motherfucking shit out of me lately, and I hate, hate, HATE that. Hate what two years of unrelenting stress and anxiety has done to me, hate what I have become as I barricade myself yet again in my apartment, practising elaborate social distancing when I do venture out, picking up my fucking groceries between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday from the pick-up at my local Walmart, standing well clear of the car while it was loaded up. I fucking hate it and I want to scream in frustration and rage, just as I had to scream out my anger at my father, only this time I don’t have a convenient target for that anger.
I am lying here, typing all this into my iPad, on the verge of angry tears which won’t come, which won’t break through. I am so angry of being scared and so angry of being tired, and frankly so angry and fed up with being angry. And yet, the situation calls for still more patience, more forbearance, and more forgiveness, than I can seem to find within myself. I’m not sure how much more I can stretch, today.
I am angry at every twist and turn and disappointment and heartbreak of this pandemic, and angry at all the collective suffering, pain, and chaos it has caused.
I am just plain angry.
And maybe that’s all I can do today, is just be angry. And perhaps use that anger as a fuel, to somehow, someway, propel me into tomorrow. To a day when I’m not so angry.