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Anxiety to Anger

My therapist says I don’t know how to feel angry,

That somewhere down the line, I was taught that my anger

Wasn’t right, so I replaced it with anxiety.

And it’s true that the thought of anger makes me anxious, that I don’t bring up fights, that the deeper I can bury things, the faster they will rot away and disappear.

So I don’t know if I am very angry or very anxious all the time.

It is easy for me to be angry about events that touch me very little. Racism, classism, ableism. I fight these things with an easy righteous anger.

I get angry about sexual assault, but when the conversation turns to my sexual assaults, my victimhood, my survivorship, I clam up. My heart races, my insides shrink. I become very small, very timid, very quiet.

I have started to bite my fingernails, a quiet sign. I try not to rake my fingernails across my ski, or put out my cigarettes on my thighs anymore.

Maybe one day, instead of biting my nails, or shrinking, or sinking into silence, my anger and anxiety will converge, and I will be a force.

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