I have a friend who I only know and speak with thanks to the internet. We met at a writing site when her review of my work was so thorough and thoughtful, it literally brought me to tears. I told her so and she instantly messaged me back. I think she felt bad for affecting me so strongly, but it was entirely a positive experience.
We’ve communicated off and on for the last four years or so, mostly about writing, often about psychology, as well as all that basic friendship stuff where we are emotionally supportive to each other. Like most of my good friendships, we can go months without talking much, and pick up like no time has passed. When we finally do pick up again, it’s wonderful because there is so much to talk about.
Last night, I messaged her because I miss her and I know she hasn’t been writing. I’ve been so caught up in the fabulous writing community here, I don’t depend on her as heavily. And sadly, she is no longer writing so when we talk, I feel like I’m kicking her when she’s down.
Even so, we approached the topic of why she wasn’t writing anymore.
As a writer, I adored her characters because she wrote angry, violent, action and tension packed characters so well. I tend to write naive, angsty or kind hearted people. The reasoning is simple, I idolize emotionally strong or sensitive people, and want to spend time with them in my mind. Her writing was such a great contrast to mine, I wanted her to write my villains and asked her for help with my darker characters and she often came to me for suggestions about her more ‘gentle’ characters.
I can’t say exactly why my friend enjoyed writing strong, dominate and aggressive people because I’m not her. We’ve often discussed the psychology of why and what our characters represent about ourselves. My friend is one of the most encouraging, patient and thoughtful people I know, and I have never judged her for her desire to write anger and violence.
Last night as we talked, what came up was the fact that one of her characters that represented her anger and pride had become difficult to write. We had a long discussion about spirituality, dealing with our own emotions and figuring out how to make our writing and our characters work.
What she told me made me happy. She told me that she has become conflicted about her character. She admires the character and doesn’t. To me, that means she no longer feels the need to feed her anger through her creativity, and I was proud of her to hear that.
To me, that means she no longer feels the need to feed her anger through her creativity, and I was proud of her to hear that.
Anger is often seen as strength. Being able to be dominant, cruel, uncaring and relentless is seen as something to admire, something to strive for. Anger also comes from a place of fear and shame. We get angry if we are questioned, if our perceived weaknesses are revealed. We are afraid of how we are perceived, ashamed of not being perfect, or strong, or valuable.
It makes sense to value anger or at least callousness or a lack of caring. It makes me think of how I used often wish I was dumb and happy rather than (I can’t help but resist using the words smart or intelligent because it feels boastful) thoughtful and miserable. I’ve changed my thoughts on this recently, and realized I am pretty content being on the more depressive side of the spectrum in my own way. I am always growing, changing, learning. It’s not always fun, but I know it is for the best.
Letting it go and admitting to yourself that who you were is no longer who you need to be can be difficult.
Psychological growth is hard, and this came up in our conversation as well. She mentioned that losing her anger made her sad, in a way. And I could understand that. There is a strength in pride and anger. Letting it go and admitting to yourself that who you were is no longer who you need to be can be difficult.
The truth is, anger and pride are defensive measures. They are reactive. They are not proactive. We cover our shame, hide our weaknesses, lie to ourselves and others about who we are to feel better about ourselves. We get angry if our carefully constructed view of the world is threatened.
Letting go of this pride, letting go of this anger is not easy, but in my opinion, it is the true strength. My friend had good reasons for her anger, to feel hurt and betrayed and frustrated in her life. It’s not easy to let go of anger when the world can be so brutal, cold and uncaring.
Wanting to be able to just not care, to savor that anger, to fantasize being able to be the type of person or character who just does things without caring, without remorse or guilt, I get that.
But that is not my friend. She cares and that is her strength. It is what makes her beautiful. Being kind, caring and generous is not weakness. I think she might be coming to terms with that, and I couldn’t be more happy for her.