Playing Through the Rage

I have a fair amount of rage.

Being dismissed, disregarded, or passed over triggers a fierce, burning rage in my body. On many occasions. And several times in the past week.

I’ve done a lot of trauma and shadow work. I see myself in a lifelong journey of untangling the unconscious, reactionary anger from the wounds of origin. I am very sensitive to the feeling of being minimized. To a fault. Often times the offense is not personal. I’m just an inconvenience to the busy person on the other line, or I happen to be on the receiving end of someone else’s selfish episode.

But damn.

How quickly I feel that hot flash moving up my chest and down my back. My muscles tightening in all directions. The revenge fantasies start playing through my head.

The earliest I remember having rage was as a very small child. I was spanked with a wooden paddle for reasons I do not understand. It both infuriated me and made me question whether or not my parents loved me. I would often return to the so-called crime out of spite. In a refreshing way, I did not hold back from the uncontrollable crying and shaking, all of which only got me into further trouble. I don’t have a lot of memories from that time of my life, but I sure do remember the feeling of that body-consuming anger.

As I grew older, I began to hold the rage in. My body forgot how to shake and cry, nature’s way of releasing the negative energy. When ducks get into a fight, they release their frustrations by going separate ways, flapping their wings a bit, and then returning to their day as though nothing happened. But humans clutch to their anger, allowing it to fester and grow into resentment. It takes an emotional and physical toll over time.

No one demonstrated to me during my impressionable years how to express or process my frustrations in a constructive way. I only knew from experience that I was not allowed to get mad.

But what does one do with all that rage?

Growling for Release

I recently began to explore my rage through my feminine movement practice. Joining the classes virtually from the privacy of my own home, I had no reason to hold back. On a particularly frustrating day last week, I went for it. Circling my chest and sending a wave down my spine through my hips, I began to make noises. Sighing, grunting, yelling, sharp inhales, and exasperated exhales. The louder the better.

An hour later, I felt a major shift in my energy. The tension and tightening had largely melted away. The cause of the rage was still there, but suddenly I felt more capable of addressing it and moving on.

We rarely allow ourselves to make sounds out of fear of disturbing others or drawing attention to ourselves. But, we underestimate the cathartic power of noise-making. Who doesn’t want to scream as loud as possible from time to time out of frustration? And yet, most of us don’t have the luxury of doing so unless we live in the middle of the forest. Screaming into a pillow just doesn’t have the same effect.

But I have discovered a powerful compromise. With a quiet room, dimmed lights, and a sexy music playlist, I feel free to verbally release my rage as my body slips into a trancelike dance. Empowered by the dance, I let it all go. Most of the movement is on the floor, sometimes on all fours, on my back, or even my tummy. There’s a lot of pushing and pulling, twisting, and stretching.

If I feel a yawn coming on, I let it out with an exaggerated sound. What a relief.

If I don’t want to follow the next move with the rest of the class, I go my own route.

If someone who irked me that day pops into my mind, I let out a big ol’ “FUCK YOU KIM” or whatever their name was. No offense Kim. I just need to let my shadow out to play once in a while.

This is still fairly unexplored territory for me. I feel like I’m just getting started, and I’m not sure where I will end up. What I know for certain is that I fear what rage will do to me if I don’t provide an outlet for its release.