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Lions Roar : March 2014
THERE ARE AS MANY DIFFERENT KINDS of anger as there are waves in the ocean. When my older daughter gets angry, there is a deluge of tears. As I watch, she goes limp and sobs into the floor with the unfairness of it all. My younger daughter’s anger is a tornado of hits, kicks, and screams. She can’t be comforted, reasoned, or carried out of the storm until it has run its course. My partner’s anger is quiet and sullen, thick as the southern Mississippi air. Only a slam of the door or a fist on the table occasionally punctuates the silence. Me? I shake with a blaming, seething anger, full of my own righteousness and ready to enu- merate the faults of everyone around me. I’ve always been a blamer. Sometimes, I blame World War II for this. Our family’s survival was tenuous, the exception rather than the expectation. If almost all of our relatives hadn’t been killed, then perhaps I wouldn’t feel so alone in the world. Empty Graves and Empty Boats PHOTOBYNINEOK/GETTYIMAGES Sometimes, I blame Western culture, capitalism, sexism, and all of the institutions that keep us separated and thinking we have to go it alone. Sometimes, I blame myself. Growing up, I was pretty sure the world would fall apart if I didn’t check that we had food, take care of my little sister, and make sure the front door was locked. Our whole family’s sur- vival felt like my responsibility and mine alone. Even after I left home, whenever I got overwhelmed in relationships or at work, my mind would return to this well-worn path: “Why do I, alone, have to do everything?” When I was seven I went to visit extended family in La Jolla, California. Every morning we would walk to the beach, where the waves were small but restless. They would crash against the shore, retreat to gather force, and then crash again. The man I was staying with would let the waves beat against his ankles. Then, as At her grandfather’s grave, RACHEL NEUMANN’s anger erupted, but who was there to yell at in those long-buried remains? There’s no one to blame when an empty boat rams into you, and in the end we are all just empty boats bumping against each other. SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2014 13