Monday, May 22, 2006

Defining Moments: Part 2 of 5, Anger


By nature, I am a very calm person, so it seldom happens when anyone will see me blind with anger. The only times in my life where I can honestly say I was white-hot mad were the times when I felt I was being treated unfairly or being forced to do something against my will.

Some of these instances are stupid in retrospect: being told “no” to going to a friend’s party that my parents were absolutely positive would include alcohol (even if I had absolutely NO intention of partaking in the activities), being forced to take out the trash in the middle of my favorite show, getting in trouble for a reason that I felt was unnecessary (like the time I took my brother’s pudding from him and ate it—yes, it was a mean thing to do, but did it warrant a multi-day grounding? Hardly).

However, on some occasions during my youth (which I’m assuming is much like most your youths—where any and everything parents do is wildly insane and ultimately unfair), I’ve grown so angry that my responses to the unfair situations were probably a tish extreme.

When I was about 11, I was enslaved in an evening ritual of having to practice the piano. My ma would stand over me with an eight-foot bullwhip as I labored away on the ivories with nothing but malicious fervor. It’s hard to play a beautiful sonata when you’re dizzy from rage about having to play it.

Believe me, I complained. I begged my parents to let me stop playing piano. But they told me I had “long fingers” and was destined for great things. My grandmother told my mother that she had to quit piano as a child because they couldn’t afford it, and by God, she put her allowance money towards paying for those damned lessons anyway. My father, a huge music-lover (as in, someone who loves music a lot—not an obese man who listens to a lot of “The Who” records), said he always wished his parents had pushed him play.

None of this affected me. I wanted out. I felt like an Alcatraz prisoner at my own piano. One night, my childish pride wouldn’t allow me to take any more. I sat at the piano, as I had always been forced to do, but I refused to tink out a single note. Arms crossed, I basked in my newfound alpha positioning in this situation.

Then, I was given an ultimatum: “Practice that piano, or go to bed.”

It was about 5:30pm on an absolutely beautiful summer evening.About three minutes later, with outside light bursting through the closed blinds, I pouted in silent protest, arms crossed over the hem of my covers.

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