Angry Birds and Coffee

Last week, roommate Natasha asked why I don’t drink coffee a bit more often.

In 2019, I had to give up the daily 2-3 cup habit that was partly responsible for a bad case of GERD – the kind of in-your-face indigestion that I was willling to ignore for months because of addictive desires for a hot morning beverage.

After several weeks of not drinking coffee at all and switching to tea, I returned to coffee in a limited fashion. Two cups per week – one on the weekend, one during the week. Any more than that, I explained to Natasha, and I will not be able to stop myself from resuming a bad habit. It’s a matter of control, of not exceeding certain parameters or crossing a line back to the time when I chose to hate my own guts.

This is how it is with anger and how we choose self-control.

We all have our moments of anger…right? It’s a natural human reaction when life doesn’t bode well at a given moment – when the waiting line at the DMV is out the door, when someone lies and then denies to your face, or when the pie crust didn’t turn out again after the third attempt. I remember doing the latter many years ago and finally throwing the rolling pin on the floor, yelling an expletive and participating in a lonely self-pity party. Not my finest moment.

I’ve had similar incidents since, of not controlling my anger the best way possible, but also not stepping over a line.

Natasha and I have been watching a Marvel TV series, one in which the bad guy wasn’t able to control his anger by anything less than violence. He killed his dad at age 12, with a hammer, as dad was beating up on mom. Because he didn’t grow up with love from a berating dad who taught him all kinds of wrong, he became the villain, the guy who is emotionally messed up and becomes viciously angry when neither life nor his business pursuits follow expected outcomes.

I realize this is a fictitious example, but it makes me ponder about reactions to this emotion.

What makes us angry? How do we react to our anger? Do we pray three “Hail Mary’s” and forgive ourselves for throwing a kitchen tool on the floor? Do we take ourselves to task when our words and actions exceed what is accepted at work, with friends and family, within our spiritual life, or in social situations? When do we take a step back, dig deep and know when to love, overlook and forgive rather than drink an angry cup of bitter espresso?

As most realize in 2021, the world can be an angry place, with its people not always knowing how to funnel that anger into something positive. Some humans prefer to yell, scream, punch, kick, hate, fight wars, and be the vicious bad guy, than to resolve their anger issues with calm and peace through knowledge, awareness, meditation, counseling, exercise, or a personal resolve to love and care unconditionally for others.

Constant, malignant anger is difficult. It requires use of the awful frowny or angry face emoji in social media platforms, never using hearts, smiley faces or a thumbs up for cute kitten or puppy posts. It increases blood pressure that’s worse than sitting in a cold doctor’s office for 30 minutes, wondering if cholesterol levels have gone done after six months of dietary agony. Anger requires knowledge of all pertinent swear words and the ability to raise a loud voice over the din of a pack of howling wolves. This emotion, when unchecked, gives one few friends and a cold-shoulder from many family members, including the mom who is done making excuses for her son or daughter. It requires a case of Rolaids because of the horrible upset stomach that keeps the soul awake at night. Those that still hang around, wonder about the weird obsession with Angry Birds and why their friend joined a group that urges the brandishing of weapons on neighborhood streets, in places of worship and in government buildings. Most angry people of this magnitude don’t understand how tiring this is, to put so much effort into one emotion, to be constantly dragged around in negativity and have very little rest from this way of life.

For most of us, anger is a temporary and short-lived release of emotion. We let out what’s troubling us because, for that moment, we have no control over ourselves or others, or simply want to be angry. Anger is not something that entirely goes away unless you are a monk, living on the side of a mountain, with everything you need and nothing that conspires against peace. We live with anger because that’s a part of our emotional make-up and inevitable since we got cranky over a poopy diaper and hunger pangs. It’s how we respond to anger that either makes us a villain or simply a human being that forgets a meditation mantra, the loving voice of a parent who gently talked us down in our hormonal youth, or the knowledge that anger hardly ever makes the world right. With anger stashed in a back pocket, it’s always up to self to ensure it doesn’t inflict harm on others, physically or emotionally, when we take it out and use it.

Personally speaking, I don’t remember ever verbally swearing at another human being, but I’ve said angry words in my head or when I’m alone. I don’t speak the word “hate” about anyone, but the anger can still exist in the heart. I try not to show anger in public (because years ago, I embarrassed myself with this one), but at home, by myself, it can be a different story, rolling pin and all.

Are those reactions okay or a sweetened, milky version of a bitter cup of joe?

Anger is an emotion I continue to grapple with in how I respond to stressful situations and the inequities of humanity or behavior of others. Little things, like uncooperative pie crusts, don’t bother me as much these days, perhaps due to retirement and a pandemic that keeps me at home, or because I haven’t made a pie crust in years. I don’t know where my rolling pin is and I don’t care. If I need to vent anger by throwing, there are plenty of soft pillows and cat toys around the apartment.

I eventually answered Natasha’s coffee question with, “It’s a slippery slope,” and the same is true with anger.

In the end, GERD is lessened by watching what travels from mouth to stomach and anger is lessened by delving into our positive emotions of love, empathy, compassion, caring, and letting go of what we can’t control.

Dealing with anger is not always easy and reflecting an appropriate response is forever a work in progress, but seeking calm and happiness is a lot less difficult and tiring than being the bad guy in a Marvel TV show who ends up in prison or the woman who sits alone in her living room, swearing at the game of Angry Birds and downing bad coffee.

21 responses to Angry Birds and Coffee

  1. Controlling anger is a challenge that some of us deal with for a variety of reasons and coffee consumption and GERD certainly play into it especially as we age. This past year has been a major challenge, and it seems like every little thing can annoy one beyond belief. Managing it requires some effort, but managing it we must. 🙂 I had to smile at the pie crust example. Every woman in my family could make melt-in-your-mouth pie crust except me. Once I accepted that, Mrs. Pillsbury and I became best friends. Problem solved. 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I have been a lot happier these last few weeks, Judy. The burden of feeling a certain anger in 2020 is in the past and I hope we can all move on in some sort of unified peace.
      I used to have a “never-fail” pie crust recipe that absolutely did on that occasion. If I did desire to make a pie again, I would follow your lead and count on Mrs. Pillsbury.

  2. Dan Antion says:

    This is a powerful and timely post, Mary. I try not to get angry, but it doesn’t always work. I try very hard not to meet anger with anger because that never ends well. Years ago, I started paying attention to when I use the word ‘hate’. Even simple “I hate when that happens” kind of statements add up. Do we really “hate” when something goes wrong?

    You’ve given us a lot to think about. I hope we all do just that.

    Stay warm.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      It’s so darn easy to lash out at ourselves or others when something doesn’t suit us or go as planned. There will never be a time when any of us don’t feel anger, but what we do with it will always count. You and I, Dan, and the rest of the world are human, so it’s important to accept the emotion, but not let it get out of control.

      It’s COLD here Dan and it’s going to be that way until next week. So, it’s a good time for reading, napping and binge-watching TV. Have a great Monday!

  3. murisopsis says:

    Truth in so many many words – we are responsible for our actions. No one “makes us angry” we have to choose to react in anger…

    • bikerchick57 says:

      No one makes us angry…so true. I forgot about that from time to time, when overly stressed at work. Being away from that has made a difference, so now I have to make sure that I don’t let the “little things” that go wrong get to me. Perspective will help.

  4. lois says:

    When my kids were little, ‘hate’ was one of those words I did not allow them to say. Even now, I don’t use the word. Even writing it….nope, delete, delete, delete. It’s an angry word. I get a real potty mouth when I get angry. I find that happening less, though. Maybe, finally, as I get older, getting angry is almost pointless. Things gonna happen. Roll with it or get out of the way. And mostly, I realize I get more annoyed than angry. Oooh, maybe I’m growing up. 😉

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re a good mom, Lois. I don’t remember my parents forbidding the word, but I also don’t remember them using hate to express their feelings toward people. I laughed at the “potty mouth” comment. I can do that too, but it’s mostly when I’m alone and can’t contain what I’m upset about (or I’ll explode). I had a friend (cancer took her a few years ago) who was very strong in her religious faith. I was talking to her one time about anger and swearing and instead of quoting scripture or giving me “a talk” about either, she simply said, “Sometimes you have to let it out and that’s okay a long as you don’t hurt anyone..” I loved that woman!
      I think age does help with overcoming anger, or perhaps its just we’re too tired to deal with it anymore. 🙂

  5. marianallen says:

    The last time I tried three times to make a pie crust and failed each time, I didn’t throw the rolling pin; I threw the pie crust. At the wall. My punishment was that I had to pick up the mess and be teased about it for the rest of my life. 😀 I’m lucky, in that I can’t let anger bloom to full flower or I get a headache. I’ve HAD to learn to control it. Great post!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      LOL, Marian, we are twins in the failing pie crust department. I’m sure you weren’t laughing while picking up the mess, but it’s a funny story now. Staving off a headache is an excellent reason to remain calm and not get angry. Glad you found a way!

      • marianallen says:

        The kids insist I once threw a chicken at the wall because it was underdone when I took it out of the oven, but I did not. I may, however, have thrown the testing fork at the wall, but not the hot, bloody chicken.

  6. Ally Bean says:

    This year has been such a weird one that I’m amazed I’ve not been more angry about it. I’m not sure why I’ve mellowed so much during it– and kind of wonder who I’ll be once I’m free to interact with people again. Guess I’ll find out eventually.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I can’t claim the same as you, Ally. In 2020, I had far too many days of being angry at the TV and social media because of what was happening. And there were days at work that were also not peaceful.
      Now, I feel far more calm due to retirement, a needed change in January and the fact there isn’t much to get mad about when stuck at home. I’m also wondering what it will be like when we are allowed to be social again.

  7. joey says:

    I find that in the last… 11 months or so, I got so angry so often I got numb, sometimes downright apathetic, but the anger was there all along. I don’t think of myself as an easily angered person, but I’m known to throw a fit, at least two in the last eight years. I may have been tired, overwhelmed, no excuses. But grace is essential to good living.

    As. Is. Coffee. Even decaf has some caffeine. And you can put fat in it, like ghee, to cut the acid. Mmm, coffee. Only highlight of Monday mornings. This one will see me driving through the snow to an understaffed office on a holiday which should see us HOME. But whatever, there’ll be coffee!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      We’re in better times, Joey. A little less angry, hoping that there will be peace and calm individually and as a nation.

      I did have to get up and go driving out in the cold this morning. Chiro appointment. Much needed!

      • bikerchick57 says:

        Ha! Yes, I make early Monday chiro appointments because there are usually fewer people there. And it reminds me how blessed I am to not have to get up early to go to work. 🙂

      • joey says:

        Okay. Good for you.
        Tomorrow, I am the only pleb in the office and so I must be there to open it, a good 15 minutes earlier than my usual and I am salty about it! LOL

  8. Damyanti Biswas says:

    Dealing up with anger, especially when pent up, is really difficult.

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