I was a very rageful little person, expressing it often in frustration at my inability to do everything by myself. At 3, I picked up a wooden rocking horse as big as me and threw it across the room because I couldn’t carry all my toys upstairs in 1 single trip. I used to stomp up to my room and slam the door twice just so everyone would be sure to know how mad I was.

I turned my anger inwards when I learned how much praise and attention I could get for being smart, pretty, quiet, nice and kind. I used exercising compulsively as a way to both punish and exhaust myself. I got rewarded for that behavior by being a good athlete and by getting positive feedback about my appearance.

At some point I got really tired of being so pissed off and trying to hide it from everyone wasn’t working so well. I’d get depressed for long periods of time. The tools and healthy expressions for my anger are making art, doing yoga or other exercise that involves moving slowly or peacefully, writing, being outside & feeling dwarfed/contained by trees, mountains or the ocean, performing, therapy and plant Medicine ceremonies.

There’s always plenty to be/get angry about, but I try to stay current with it and let it move through me instead of get stuck in my cells. Not drinking alcohol is hugely helpful to me. My definition of sobriety for myself is a constantly evolving path of treating myself more sacredly and making choices that serve the person I’m becoming rather than enable me to stay in unhelpful, unhealthy patterns. The struggle isn’t much easier than before, but I’m usually not actively ignoring or unconsciously perpetuating it anymore.

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