Are You An Angry Person?

Why does it feel like there’s a lot of anger constantly brewing just under the radar in so many throughout this country? Has it always been there and people simply overlooked it? Or are people growing more and more restless, irritable, and discontent with their lives and are looking for some person, place, or thing to blame for it?

I ask these questions, because I just got done watching a very introspective and somewhat controversial Spike Lee movie titled, “BlacKkKlansman”, which depicted true events that took place back in 1972 in Colorado Springs when the first African-American detective in the police department there sets out to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. What makes this biographical crime film somewhat controversial though is how it ends by showing the tragic events that unfolded around this time last summer in Charlottesville when white civil rights activities and counter-protestors clashed and concluded with a car attack that ended in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

As I left the theater, I had those images of bodies flying up in the air from that car smashing into a crowd and people bashing each other with fists and weapons stuck in my brain, which led me to cry. I muttered in the process a small prayer and wondered if God was disappointed with the state of our nation, as it seems like acts of anger continue to show their ugly faces more so here than anywhere else as of late.

What’s sad is that I can’t seem to escape this anymore. I’ve seen a huge uprise of anger through the use of racist comments, even in the very area where I live. People seems like they are on such short fuses. If they’re not angry at the president and saying choice words about this administration, they’re angry at someone else or some sect of society they feel is the problem.

But what they don’t realize is that the problem is not “out there” in some person, place, or thing, it’s in them. The anger, resentment, restlessness, irritability, and discontent they live on a daily basis with is not because of the world around them, it’s because of them. Yet, they don’t want to see that. They don’t want to see that they have been swallowing some poison over and over and over again, by holding onto all that anger.

Instead, they’d rather resort to using racist words like “Faggots”, “Niggers”, “Spics”, “Chinks”, and plenty more to base their anger on, each weighted with verbal ammunition that’s meant to inflict much damage and pain. And as those types of words fly from their mouths, it not only continues to make them spiritually sick inside, it also perpetuates the very problem that seems to keep growing in this country, one that Spike Lee suggested in his film has never gone away and is merely finally coming to the surface now.

I’m inclined to believe Lee might be right, as all one needs to do is read or watch the news over the course of a single week here to see how dark our country has become. A few weekends ago in Chicago alone there were 66 shootings and 12 deaths and there have also been 154 mass shootings in the United States so far since the start of 2018! Sadly, both numbers are probably only going to increase as the year moves forward, all because of this restless, irritable, and discontent nature that keeps leading people to be filled with high levels of anger, rage, and resentment.

Believe me when I say I’ve been on the receiving end of some of this with a number of people in my own neck of the woods. I’ve seen hatred fly at me with such velocity that if it had been weighted in metal, I’d definitely be dead. Yet, because of the understanding God’s given me, I realize that hatred is not about me whatsoever, it never was. I’m just a temporary mirror for someone to throw their anger at, so they can keep on buying into that illusion their ego is telling them, that if only I’d go away, they’re life would be better. Yet, even if I did go away permanently, their life wouldn’t be better, because someone else would eventually just come along and cause their anger, their restlessness, their irritability, their resentment, and their discontent nature to return.

The same goes true for any single human being in this country. No one’s anger isn’t going to ever permanently go away no matter who is president, no matter who is getting away with what, no matter what rights are or aren’t being protected, no matter whether things like abortion is still legal or isn’t anymore, and no matter what injustices appears to have been done, as none of that is the problem. All of that is just stuff out there too many of us place our focuses on and think “if it would just change and be the way I think it should be” than life would be grand. But it’s a lie and our egos keep trying to convince us otherwise. Because even when those anger-producing things go away, meeting what our ego secretly or not-so-secretly desired, another one always surfaces, making our ego miserable all over again, and causing our anger to return once more.

I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be angry at anyone or anything “out there”. I don’t ever want to become someone who feels the need to violently protest or spew words of hatred towards another or think that my dissatisfaction in life will go away if some person, place, or thing changes to meet the way my ego think’s something should be.

I’ve come to believe that the answer is within each of us. I’ve come to believe that the healing is within each of us as well.

It deals with forgiveness.

 It deals with acceptance.

 And it deals with unconditional love.

Three things the ego fights viciously against because it means buying into the notion that we’re the problem and not someone or something else.

Whether you choose to believe this or not, so long as you continue to go on thinking that revenge, violence, acts of racism, or hatred-filled words are the solution to any of your anger and misery, you will sadly go on remaining a very angry and miserable person the rest of your life. Consider forgiving, letting go, loving, and accepting everyone and everything, just as it is, even when it hurts, and you will probably find your anger, misery, and discontent nature starting to finally go away, helping to heal our country in the process, from something that Spike Lee merely touched upon the surface in, with his film “BlacKkKlansman”.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

“Eighth Grade”, A Funny But Painful Reminder Of A Film Of Those Grammar School Years…

Can you remember when you were in the eighth grade? If so, did you feel like you fit in and were accepted back then? Or were you mostly a loner and felt ignored or rejected most of the time? It’s questions like these that the film “Eighth Grade” does a wonderful job answering for a 14-year old girl named Kayla.

Played so incredibly well by a young actress named Elsie Fisher, Kayla spends the majority of her time in the movie feeling more on the outside of everything than anything else. Left to ponder her own thoughts and live in her own world more than not, Kayla is desperate to find her voice and ultimately wants to be herself, yet is so terribly afraid she’ll be completely rejected if she does. Her only outlet where she remains true to herself is through the self-help YouTube videos she regularly records. Unfortunately, no one really watches them nor seems to ever pay attention to her at school either. Her only friend and biggest fan appear to be her sole caretaker, that being her father, Mark Day, who’s also played quite convincingly by actor Josh Hamilton. Kayla does her best though to constantly push him away, as she finds his attempts to connect with her more annoying than anything. The person she really wants to pay attention to her is a boy in school named Aiden (Luke Prael), who acts like he doesn’t care about anyone or anything but himself. Yet Kayla is obsessed with him anyway and as she comes to the end of her eighth-grade year and realizes high school is just around the corner, she begins to do what so many do in their grammar school years to fit in and be noticed, that being to act like someone else who is perceived as cool or popular. As Kayla begins to move farther and farther away from who she truly is inside by adapting to what others seem to want her to be, she may just be on the very path she needs to be, to discover her true self.

Overall, the “Eighth Grade” film was a funny but painful reminder of my own grammar school years. I could relate, oh-so-well, to Kayla’s daily angst. When I was her age and about to end my own middle school years, I had zero friends, zero life, and zero fun. Most of my life was absorbed into my studies, fictional reading, and competitive swimming. I honestly hated my life back then and never felt like I fit in. I tried my best though to still do so by often mimicking what the cool kids did and generally made a fool of myself in the process. My reality was no different than Kayla’s back then, always looking on the outside, while secretly hoping to be noticed and be accepted to make my way on the inside. Sadly, that never happened until my senior year of high school when I completely changed everything about me, even giving up many of the things that I actually liked about myself. It’s then I discovered alcohol and through it I found a voice, but it wasn’t my true voice. And in all honesty, it’s taken me almost three decades later to find that for myself, to become myself, and to remain true to myself.

Alas, there is a side effect to that. I’m back on the outside looking in and find myself now often overlooked again, being regularly left off of invitation lists for parties, weddings and other get-togethers. My phone doesn’t ring much either these days with people wanting to hang out. So, on some level, I’m back to that very person I was in the eighth grade, except this time, I’m not going to adapt to what other people think I should be. I’m not going to compromise the person I am just to fit in either. I’ve decided I’m just going to be myself, and be more like Kayla, who continued to discover herself through her YouTube videos, except in my case, it’s through my very words I write in this blog. You see it’s this blog that has become the one place where I feel like I can truly be myself and shine forth the most.

In the end, the “Eighth Grade” movie really was a funny, but painful reminder of those grammar school years and ultimately helped me to see just how far I’ve come since those days where I thought I had to be like everyone else, when I really just needed to be myself…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

“Christopher Robin”, An Endearing Film That’s All About Rediscovering Your Inner Child

While I only have a few vague memories of reading, watching, or playing with Winnie-The-Pooh and Friends as a kid, I still headed to the theater last week on opening night to see the new Disney film, “Christopher Robin” for one reason and one reason only, to appease the inner child in me.

Most of us in this world don’t appease our inner child whatsoever and few do so on a regular basis. Rather, we’re brought up to wear our “big boy” or “big girl” pants and leave that kid in us behind. Sadly, because of that, the things that once brought light and joy to our very souls are left behind as well. This is the very premise of “Christopher Robin”, which stars Ewan McGregor as the titular character in his adult years. While the beginning of the film quickly chronicles how Christopher came to meet Pooh and his friends and shows how he spent much of his early childhood playing with them, it also shows how life circumstances led to him letting them go and ultimately forgetting about them altogether in the process.

That is until one day, many years later, Pooh can’t find any of his friends in the Hundred-Acre-Wood where they all live. In his nervous search for them, he comes to the very door at the base of the huge tree where Christopher Robin once came and went, day after day, to spend with him. Suddenly, the door swings open for the first time in a very long time, longer than Pooh can remember, causing him to decide to enter it with one purpose, find Christopher Robin who can hopefully help him find his woodsy companions.

When the passage behind the door magically transports him to the very park outside Christopher’s home, it’s inevitable the two are going to meet through happenstance and when they do, it doesn’t take long for Pooh to see that Christopher has lost sight of their special relationship they once shared. Instead, he sees Christopher Robin has become totally consumed with his job, a job that has even caused him to completely neglect his wife and daughter as well, so much so, that they went on their holiday without him.

Unfortunately for Christopher Robin, he doesn’t see any of this and instead tries to quickly usher Pooh back into the tree from which he emerged after such a very short visit, hoping to swiftly return to the work he’s become so consumed with. But, when they both realize the door in the tree has vanished, what begins as a quest to return Pooh home, actually turns out to be an adventure of Christopher Robin rediscovering the very kid he left behind so long ago.

“Christopher Robin” is such an endearing film. It truly warmed my heart and brought out the kid in me quite a number of times throughout its running time. Thankfully, I learned many years ago how important it is to never lose sight of that part of me, that inner child. Deep down inside each and every one of us is still a little boy or girl who desperately wants to play from time to time and totally forget about the stressors of life. But, far too many of us never do that because we got told at some point to grow up and remain that way. Because of this, life often tends to become miserable and mundane.

We go to work to earn a living to pay the bills to support ourselves and our families and somewhere along the way, that little kid in each of us is left in a corner crying, desperate for attention. I have personally made sure though to always do my best to embrace that kid in me nowadays and never let him return to that corner in tears again, which is precisely why I regularly go play miniature golf, or tell silly jokes, or make goofy faces, or eat sundaes with tons of toppings, or watch superhero cartoons, or play Ms. Pac Man and Galaga, or do a number of other things as well. Because I know how important it is to appease that kid in me and how sad my life felt for all the times I did not.

So, if you are someone who isn’t spending much time or no time at all with your inner child these days and have very little relationship with that kid in yourself, maybe you should go see Disney’s “Christopher Robin” as well, as perhaps then you too will begin to remember someone you left behind long ago, who’s desperately been wanting to regain your love and attention…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson