South City Confessions: What I’ve learned about my anger

I have a confession to make: I have anger management issues.

Yep, there you have it. Go ahead and sit back down. Do you see the logo on this website and on my Twitter (@buffa82) of a man who looks just like me making a fist and shouting? That’s not bullshit, it’s real.

Look, we all deal with our own bowl of shit on a daily basis that sets us off. It’s the everyday struggle to step outside your home and deal with the mechanism that finds its way into your life. Unlike what Billy Chapel said in that movie, you can’t clear it out of your head.

Mediation doesn’t work. You may as well drive your car onto that inverted tread on the outside of the highway to get a wake-up call. Yoga doesn’t work. All that does is inform you of how flexible you are not and how old you really are. You just deal with it.

On any given day, I could be taking care of a child, cleaning up a house, writing a couple stories, making dinner, doing laundry, hoping my car doesn’t get a flat tire or break down while I Uber drive, and keeping five pets healthy all the while being a good husband. All this happens as I field 2-3 offers to come on podcasts, radio shows, podcasts that used to be radio shows, and a radio show that may or may happen if Go Fund Me money comes in.

I start thinking about my kid and is he going to do good in school and if he doesn’t, what happens then? I start worrying about my wife going to work in a world where people do crazy things in public every day. I worry about my mom, dad, brother, and if the last time was indeed the last time. All of that shit follows its way into my head, like it or not. The anxiety builds up, the temper wick is lit, and off we go into the wonderfully chaotic world of FUCKKKKK! They don’t prepare you for this shit in grade school, middle school, high school, or college. There is no class for this.

This inevitably leads me to have outbursts at all the wrong people. It also has me screaming inside my house and ranting and raving as I drive (when passengers are NOT in my car). I work out so I can eat tasty food, but I also do it so I can strangle the anger that rises up. You know how it starts. Someone does something completely stupid on the road, and you are set off on red. The headache, fist clinch, bad temper steams up, and just takes over. Before you get out of the car and outright lose your shit, a little voice shouts at you.

The voice belongs to Bill Burr, telling me to “push it down and do some man shit.” In a nutshell, push it down and don’t let the anger get a hold of you and hurt others. It works at times, and others you just let it all out. All the anguish. All the things that don’t pan out. The people who come into your life briefly, fuck it all up, and depart without giving you a reason for why they were an asshat. You let the little things get in your vision and stay there for the night. Real estate is constantly sold to the things and people that don’t deserve a single ounce of your thought-process. That’s just the way it is. Sometimes, it’s better to let it out and scream. No one gets hurt that way. Except for the dogs and cats who wonder why dad is shouting.

For those of you who really know me (sorry Twitter users with an avatar which isn’t your face), this shouldn’t be a surprise. I get mad, shout a lot, try to stop, and only continue. Maybe it’s the Italian gene streaming through my body, or maybe it’s the combination of Lebanese and Italian that creates that anger firework. I really don’t know. I don’t need therapy or treatment. I know how to contain it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there. It doesn’t mean the temper won’t win out sometimes.

Here’s the thing. You can’t really say what you want to people. You just can’t, so don’t get all individually butt-hurt about our interactions. One of the worst sayings in the world is “just be yourself.” Fuck that, people couldn’t handle that. That’s terrible advice. They’d run from me if I showed them the real Dan. Block me, unfollow, block-follow, whatever. If I allowed 100% of my personality and inner thoughts to uncoil and raise its head, I’d be arrested or banished to an island with Johnny Depp’s abuser, Amber Heard. Over and done.

So instead of being ourselves, we divide our personality up, water that portion down, squeeze the controversy out of it, and present that to people, hoping it’s accepted. We can then exist in the world, pleasing others while trying to slowly add percentage points of the real YOU to the table. It’s hard work. For example, if I put out all the dirty thoughts that permeated inside my head to the masses, 90% of people couldn’t handle it. I’ve felt that heat and it burns. It’s not unlawful stuff, but just too much to handle for the majority. My mind has its own therapist, let’s put it that way. If I said what I was really thinking even half the time, I’d be cast out.

This world doesn’t allow you to be yourself until the front door is closed and your keys are dropped. The outside world is manufactured through pop culture trends, CNN, Fox News influence, and whatever life improvement bullshit is being pushed. You can’t fight that or overcome it, just try to live inside of it without completely losing yourself. Think about it. Go outside tomorrow and let all the inner thoughts fly out. Test it out on the neighbor whose name you barely know and don’t really care what he or she thinks. Tell them 5 things that would shock others. Maybe they understand and appreciate it, or you may just get dirty looks from now on.

I bet you won’t do it, and for good reason. Most of us have to make a living outside our home. You have to marginalize it all in order to make a living and participate. Since this task is about as easy as understanding what a woman really wants and is thinking, that’s where the anger comes in. You can’t control it or be yourself, so shouting commences. We’ve all been there. Shut up, yes you have. Don’t bullshit me.

What I’m getting at may be unclear, but let me make my way over there. I’ve learned from anger management issues that I am a LIVE WIRE. It’s through the shouting, screaming, and losing it that I prove to myself that I’m still me. I’m still capable of getting hot, heavy, and mad as hell. If I didn’t do that, robotics may be taking over.

So please don’t run from your anger. It proves it’s you in there, moving around and trying to find the light switch. I may not suggest embracing it, but feel free to start a fire every once and awhile.

Here’s my advice. 

When it comes to social media, engage up to a certain degree–and then watch it burn. Let the commenters, responders, and strangers tear each other apart. Just mention Donald Trump, light the match, and back away. 

When it comes to driving, please play defense out there. Dodging potholes is hard enough. Creating an alibi for that one time will be harder.

When it comes to people, cut them some slack. They are dealing with their own blend of shape-shifting problems and anger issues. We’re all human after all.

When it comes to work and play, find a balance or know why you make yourself miserable to earn that extra amount of cash.

When it comes to tomorrow, just roll with it. You may get punched and see your blood go up, but just know it’ll go away soon enough. 

When it comes to life, I take Churchill’s advice. “This too shall pass, and if you’re going through hell, keep going.”

That’s it. Goodnight. The rant is over.

2 thoughts on “South City Confessions: What I’ve learned about my anger

  1. I read this entire rant and yes It was really fascinating… the anger really jumped off the page and felt real… you have an anger level D and Lord knows we all do … it is part of you … the keys word is part.. when and if it becomes the whole is when is is a big fn prob and that also happens to us all…your other parts is why we all like to be called friends of Dan Buffa

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