Recently, I was at one of those trendy food trucks waiting to buy one (one!) chocolate chip cookie. I was behind one other woman in line and the cute, 20 year old, overly tattooed food truck chick stuck her head out the window and said “Who’s waiting for cookies?” And we both cried in unison “Me!” So she turned to the woman in front of me and said, “There are only three left, how many do you want?” The woman said, “I’ll take three.”
Seriously. Three. Not “Two – to leave one for the nice lady behind me.” Three!! And then came that old familiar feeling. My face got hot, my chest got tight, my hands shook, I pulled my favorite tool from the snarky toolbox and said “Really?!” I stormed off, no doubt looking like a crazy person, but I wouldn’t have been responsible for my actions if I stood there (which in my mind involved grabbing the three cookies from her and shoving them all in my mouth at once ala the Cookie Monster).
It wasn’t because I wasn’t getting a cookie. Lord knows I don’t need a cookie. It’s because I am constantly amazed by people’s lack of awareness of the world around them; the lack of empathy; the self importance. And it pisses me off.
We are always talking about finding peace and tranquility, letting go of rage, and anger management techniques. I try all of the techniques; I am a huge fan of meditation and highly recommend it. I’m not talking about getting angry out of impatience or jealousy. It is injustice that gets me going. But I think it’s justified. The greatest accomplishments of this world were achieved because people got angry enough to insist on a change – the American Revolution, equal rights, the Arab Spring – do you think any of these important changes would ever have happened if people just sat around going, “Well now that is a just a darn shame.” No! People stood up! And yelled! And whether it is civil rights, or an unsafe street corner or the self involved jackoff knowingly taking the last cookie on the food truck line, people will remain deaf to injustice unless a few voices are raised.
Maybe you are reading this and thinking, “Jen is merely justifying her bad attitude with this social justice angle.”
And maybe I am – so what?! You want to make something of it??!! Intellectually I know that when I get angry, my heart rate increases, I have been known to yell and throw things and get in all kinds of trouble. But I do think there is another benefit to anger. It’s healthy. Let it out. Rid yourself of what is bothering you. If you don’t and you keep it bottled up inside, that bad energy has to go somewhere and it turns into migraines and ulcers and tumors.
Buddha, by most accounts the most laid back dude of all time once said, “Anger is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” I am a big fan, Buddha. Love your work. But a girl can dream.
Oh and by the way, I was still hanging out in the food truck area for a while, and that cute food truck chick came over to me with a cookie sheet full of fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies and gave me one for free and told me she understood why I got so mad. That cookie tasted especially sweet. And think of the calories I burned storming off!
Want to start meditating? Join me for the Chopra Center August 21 Day Meditation Challenge! It’s a great way to learn how and get in the habit of a daily meditation.