by Guest Contributor CVT, originally published at Choptensils
Girl breaking boards
When I moved out of my first place in Portland, I had to head down to the local hardware store, buy some drywall patches and stucco, and fix some holes in the walls of my bedroom. They were relatively large holes – certainly not normal “wear-and-tear” – and if you looked at them closely (or from a distance, actually) you could swear they were in the exact shape of a right fist . . .
Well – because they were. In a couple different fits of frustrated anger, I had punched some holes in my walls. After the second (or third) one, I started thinking about the cost of fixing the holes, so I moved on to hitting a punching bag when I flipped my shit.
And flip my shit, I did. Not too regularly, but every once-in-awhile, the overwhelming frustrations of circumstances and the world got to me, and I just had to hit something. (*1) There was no other way for me to let it out. Or so I thought.
And I remember being really embarrassed by it. I covered up the holes with art. I never mentioned it to friends. In most of my public life, I held myself “calm” and “under control” all the time. Nobody would have guessed that I would do that kind of thing – that I had any vaguely violent tendencies – because I hid it so well.
And I hid it because I didn’t want anybody to know there was something wrong with me. I didn’t want people to know that I was a “violent person.” I didn’t want people to feel unsafe around me. Because the majority culture told me that those tendencies weren’t “normal.” In fact, “society” seemed to deem those behaviors on the verge of “pathological.” Maybe I needed to be medicated or something, because I certainly couldn’t “control” my anger and emotions like I was supposed to be able to do . . .
But the funny thing is, as the years passed, that uncontrollable urge to physically hit something started to go away. That extreme frustration filled me less and less often – and after I moved into my new place, I never touched that punching bag again.
So what happened? Did I learn to “control” my emotions? Was I just more “calm” in my oh-so-wise late-twenties? What was the big change?
Well, it’s hard to be sure, of course, but – during that time, I just started punching things with my mind, instead . I began to focus on writing and composing hip-hop and performing spoken word poetry around town. (*2) And I did it violently.
I didn’t stop being frustrated. I didn’t stop being angry. I didn’t even stop being aggressive – no, this wasn’t sublimation as it is thought of psychologically – I wasn’t changing my rage into something else; it was actually more like the chemistry “sublimation” – where I was distilling and concentrating my frustration into a more pure form – an artistic, peaceful violence. Continue reading