Anger, My Old Friend: Where Did You Go?

I have a temper.

This isn’t obvious when people first meet me. On the east coast where I now live, acquaintances sometimes mistake my California speaking style for mellowness. I’ve heard "you seem so laid back" so often that I have to suppress howls of laughter. If my husband is in the vicinity, he usually snorts.

It’s tempting to say my temper has been genetically determined. My mother’s long-time excuse for her rages? "I’m sorry! I’m Sicilian!"

But just as I’ve never let her off the hook for screaming meanness, I don’t believe my Italian ancestry explains my moods.

"The Angry Monk," a piece reprinted in the September/October 2010 issue of the Utne Reader,  got me thinking about anger. And it’s helped me to understand why my anger, an old, old friend, no longer seems so useful.

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