Angry at the world, myself…and stray dogs

The past couple of mornings, I have been waking up angry. 

I lay in bed with my eyes open (or even sometimes closed), consumed by thoughts of people who have wronged me or situations that annoy me. I stay in bed for sometimes an hour with these thoughts flashing through my head. 

This morning my angry thoughts were about the stray dogs that continuously interrupt my morning bike rides or my attempts to take idyllic walks on the island. 

The other morning at 5 AM, I was going for a slow motorbike ride, and a massive Rottweiler dog makes eye contact with me, growls with teeth, and then begins to bark and chase me down the street as I speed away on my motorbike, yelling “please please stop….” 

A large amount of the dogs on the island can be aggressive and highly terrestrial. If I apply reason to the situation, then their behavior makes sense. They are raised by the streets, with zero stability and behavior correction. The reasons for their behavior don’t matter as much when at the moment, my life feels threatened.

I woke up angry about my lack of control. Angry that when trying to enjoy the island, I get met with traumatized, fearful, aggressive, territorial, and undisciplined street dogs.

The anger also came from not being able to find a solution. I have tried slowing down and speaking in a quiet voice, but that’s terrifying, and I am not sure if it provokes them more. Once, I laid down a trail of dog food, which worked!

However, my anger towards the dogs and other things in my life is a marker for something else.

I realized that I woke up feeling angry because I genuinely dislike feeling powerless.

The past few weeks, I have been working on a new creative project, and it’s been demanding a lot from me emotionally. It cracked me open. It’s been exposing my anger towards topics that I hide. I don’t like feeling true anger. I can feel hurt, pain, loneliness, fear, annoyance, and almost anything else but anger. I used to be very angry during my middle school to college years. Angry about racial and economic prejudices and virtually all social injustices out there. 

At a certain point, I began to feel like my anger/rage consumed me. Me holding on to all that rage inside didn’t make a difference in the world becoming a better place. I felt I had no control and power in stopping deforestation, ethnic cleansing in Papua New Guinea, child mining, religious prosecutions, or any other horrible thing happening in the world. It was only hurting me. So, I learned how to suppress it over the years. 

If I read an article, hear, or look at a documentary about some horrendous world event, I felt momentary anger. Still, then I changed that to deep annoyance and transmuted that into a lingering sadness. Much of my fury from the past and present is bubbling to the surface with this new project. 

It’s been very frustrating. I want it to stop—I kind of miss waking up depressed about my dad versus angry at the world. I can deal with feelings of depression!

I am at this point in this project, where I need to write something raw and poetic. This is usually not a problem for me. I can get into the act and spirit of writing with ease. I typically have to close my eyes, maybe I play some instrumentals, and I just slip into this creative space. The words play out in my mind’s eye like a teleprompter, and I can release the words with fluidity. 

This has not been the case. I went into my bedroom last night, closed the door, played a song, started swaying back and forth, and had my voice memo on to capture whatever words came to mind. 

And….stuff came to mind, but it was okay. Or it didn’t fit what I needed for the vision of the project. I was so disappointed in myself. Why was it usually so easy, feeling so hard? Did I lose my touch? Maybe this project was not from the heart? 

I wasn’t sure. I went to bed feeling upset. 

When I woke up, I was upset about dogs. Again, it’s not about the dogs. The dogs are not trying to ruin my walks. It’s really about me feeling a lack of control. I have accepted that I can’t control much in this life, or it feels this way. 

I couldn’t control my dad’s death; I couldn’t control growing up that people thought I was less than because of my skin color or the fact I wasn’t wealthy, and I couldn’t even control if that time when someone broke into my car. 

This project has been exposing all the aspects of my life that I haven’t felt powerful and in control of. That’s tough. 

With the poem I mentioned above, I tried to control and follow the script with how my creativity should flow. I like pattern and predictability. I enjoy creating processes for myself to know what to expect and how to deal with issues that may arise. 

But life isn’t always an operational process…

Like isn’t always something I can put into a process flow chart.

Life isn’t a standard operating processor. 

I would like it to be. Sometimes my processes work, like when I have to pull myself out of depression or walk away from a binge eating spiral. However, this past week my creative approaches have failed me.

I have learned that with my creativity, I can’t standardize it. My creative process isn’t a one-size-fits-all for every project. 

Later this morning, I was sitting on the toilet stressing about the project and heard a little voice say you need to “chill the fuck out, relax, just be yourself, and just write.”

So, I stripped it down. 

I sat at our dining room table, the air was slightly hotter than I like when creating, but I dealt with it. I was also really thirsty but said, “you can get water later, bitch”. And I got a piece of water with notes from the previous day and the nearest pen. And I just wrote.

I wrote what I felt when I thought of the creative project.

That’s all. No music. No dancing. No requirement to try and make the poem “deep.” I just needed to let go and still myself—no going through a checklist of approved ways to tap into my spirit. 

Immediately after, I felt the anxiety, anger, and fear lift. 

I pulled a card, and it was the 8 of pentacles. 

This card is so affirming for where I am at on my creative journey. 

The mantra for this card is “with loving determination, I preserve, and I become the person I long to be.” 

I must keep being patient and master my skills. I can only do this by bringing my love, soul, and energy to my work—every time. 

I need to remove shortcuts. I need to be consistent in my approach to my creative crafts to have artistic breakthroughs. Emotionally I need to keep finding joy, even in the ups and downs. 

This relates to all the things I feel anger about as well. The wild dogs in the streets are unfortunate, but this country has been an incredible blessing for my healing. This is the same with all the other things in my life that make me angry. I will take this anger and put the energy into passionately expressing my voice, creating, and releasing it. 

Everything has made me who I am, and I am genuinely proud of the person I am becoming. 

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