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Fat Girl Smash! | Manolo for the Big Girl

Fat Girl Smash!

Frustration. We all have it. Why? Because people who aren’t us insist on Doing It Rong.

Doesn’t matter what it is, from running a government to running a Piggly Wiggly, someone somewhere along the way is going to figuratively get on our tits without the decency of doing it literally first and it’s going make us yearn for the good old days before ugly phrases like “DNA evidence” and “toxicology reports” were bandied around our judicial system the way they are now.

Frustration is about as close to anger as many women feel allowed to get. Angry women are unreasonable. Angry women are crazy or hormonal. A woman should never be president because what if she gets her period and decided to blow up the world, harharhar…sigh.

Listen, if a woman can get past senior prom, not to mention any number of meetings, job interviews and day-to-day interactions where her worth is judged by the same criteria most commonly used to evaluate a finger sandwich –is she delicate, small, easy to handle and generally pleasing to all senses?– without hauling off and murdering someone, go ahead and give her the football. Trust me, she’s good.

The fact that we’re not encouraged to even experience, much less show our anger or frustration leads to, say it with me now, MORE anger and frustration. That’s when we get those toxic mean girls who grow up into horrible people.

I’m all for harmlessly channeled aggression. You wash your face to get rid of dirt, you take that weird pill once ever 90 days to get rid of parasites (you think it’ll all beach blanket bingo down here in Baja?)…there’s got to be some way to get out anger and frustration without damaging yourself or others, at least not more than necessary.

Time was, I’d just go down to my beloved Red’s Indoor Range and shoot at things until I felt better. It’s not that I especially like guns but for me, there’s no better reminder about the destructive power of uncontrolled anger than holding something that, unless carefully and thoughtfully handled, can literally kill me and everyone around me. Call it Texas Zen.

Guns are like babies except guns are illegal in Mexico (yet somehow Mexico’s numbers were left off the little Facebook graphic that listed firearm-related deaths for countries with gun control) and babies are most definitely not. There’s something inherent about them that says “hey, you might not like me or want one in the house, but it would be a bad idea to drop me.”

So how do you handle your anger and frustration? Hit the gym? Sleep it off? Yell and yell and yell and yell? Is it constructive or destructive? If you’re still not comfortable with your anger, why not? What steps are you taking to treat this like just another strong emotion like love or sorrow?

16 Responses to “Fat Girl Smash!”

  1. Siege August 13, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    I have a tambourine. When I’ve had a bad day and am feeling particularly toxic, I get out my tambourine. I turn up the music (Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ is a good place to start), sing at the top of my lungs, and jump around my kitchen banging that tambourine like Paula Cole on speed. I jangle, bang, shriek, and dance until I’ve worked it all out of my system. Sometimes a girl just needs to be LOUD (another thing women aren’t supposed to be) and make NOISE. For truly awful days, I also have bongos.

  2. Madame Suggia August 13, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    @ Siege, that sounds FANTASTIC.

    Personally, I’m slow to anger; my loved ones know that, as I’m pretty laid back most of the time, if I’m angry, you’d better believe there’s a good reason, because when I’m angry, I SHOUT MY DAMN HEAD OFF. This maybe happens once a year or so; I don’t intend to, but if it gets really bad I’m afraid there’s no stopping it. The aftermath is like a nuclear winter, with dazed people staggering around trying to make sense of the future. However, sometimes tempers must be lost, just the way it is.

    BUT one thing I no longer do is stoicism. It’s partly a Brit thing-oh, you stepped on my foot, I’M so sorry-but I’ve had to learn that there’s a time and a place for being a stoic, and a time and a place for being a demanding self centered madam. ‘Madam’ seems to be working for me at the moment.

  3. Joshunda August 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Good post. I think about this all the time, especially as a big girl who doesn’t particularly like to smile. I was realizing the other day that I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time and energy trying not to feel my anger because I didn’t want to be the “angry black woman.” There are many consequences to that, of course — what was really just resentment, frustration or any other negative emotion sort of got tangled up in my actual anger. With meditation and running and writing, I learned to untangle the knot a bit. Part of what keeps me from being more frustrated and angry more of the time is also learning to take fewer things personally and to stop thinking so much about what other people think. That takes a lot of napping and meditation. We should go to the range one day, though!

  4. NettaP August 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    i write. i blog. i vlog.
    i’m starting a new more secretive blog to really get all the anger out honestly. when i exercise, i also picture the person’s face that i wish i was hitting with my dumb bells when punching (sometimes it’s just the person who’s the instructor … admittedly). and sometimes i just stew.

    i am getting better at telling the person who has made me angry that i am angry with them. that is the real challenge for me, i find.

    cheers miss plumcake!

  5. Wendy August 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    THANK YOU, Plumcake! I have long felt like the only woman of my acquaintance who ever felt like she’d been discouraged from not just expressing anger, but actually from feeling it. And I don’t mean by my parents, particularly (though I suppose they might have been part of it), but by popular culture, the media, and peers. (For clarity: I was born in 1960, and my parents were kindergarten-age when Hitler invaded Poland.) Anger is an unproductive emotion! Channel that anger into something productive! (You know what might help? Cleaning, vigorously! Yes, try sweeping and mopping the floors! That’ll cool your anger.) Worse still, anger is an unattractive emotion, and will ruin your dating/marriage prospects faster than anything else except being promiscuous. People don’t want to be around you when you’re angry. Showing anger is a sign of weakness, a sign that you can’t control your emotions, a sign that other people can influence and control you. Don’t lash out in anger, you’ll only regret it later, because you can’t unsay what you’ve said.

    All of society, but particularly women, have been so conditioned to conceal their anger, to rise above even feeling anger, that we’ve lost touch somewhat with it as a useful part of the human condition. Everyone feels anger. It serves a purpose, psychologically and physically, just like love and fear and giddy joy do. I lament that I never really learned what to do with mine, other than back away and find myself at fault for it.

    To answer the question, though: when I’m really really angry, I blog about it. On my super-sekrit my-eyes-only blog that’s just for venting acute anger and frustration. That helps. And it gets the crying part of anger out of the way, so that I can address the underlying issue constructively, if needed.

  6. Meg August 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Stereotypical girl as it is, I get some of my aggression out by cleaning or pulling weeds or organizing something. The rest of it is usually worked out by dance central or a good hard bike ride (weather permitting). Really stubborn cases might involve going to the basement and slinging profanity after the kids go to bed until I feel better. My goal then is to come up with the most ridiculous string of profanity I can — if I can laugh, then I can get over it.

  7. Linda Mercury August 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    I’m all over the concept of expressing what triggered the anger and what the issue is in a calm and ‘problem solving’ manner.

    So I journal (a lot) and that’s where I get my wild ranting and raving out.

  8. barbara August 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    I write about it. Or about something else, but that lets me make an emotional connection. I really should deal by going to the gym, but baby steps.

    The right soundtrack is key.

  9. ChatNoire August 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    I clean! I usually hate housework, but I learned (through observation) from my mother that cleaning is a reasonable way to vent your anger. Not great for tasks that require dexterity (like washing dishes) but it is a good time to do some yardwork, wash the car, sweep and mop the house…you get the idea. Best to play some music, loud. Not only do you burn calories and some of your frustration, but it is productive!

  10. raincoaster August 14, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    I’ve always found making death threats works off a lot of stress (seen my Facebook page lately?). That and kickboxing. You’d be amazed at the aggression you can work out kickboxing, particularly if you visualize…um…certain persons on the receiving end of the kicks and punches.

  11. megaera August 14, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    Ooh… I shoot targets when I’m angry. (I still live in Texas.) ‘Cause after 30 plus years on this earth, I’m pretty sure people would rather see me with a gun in my hand than have to deal with my verbally ripping them down to their psychological component parts, which is apparently a genetic ability passed down from both sides of my family. (My Da does quiet rage, my mum, loud; both are equally petrifying.) Seriously, I saw a grown man HIDE IN A BATHROOM to try to get out of my Mom’s blast radius. Sometimes, just the knowledge of how quickly I can reduce someone to tears is enough to calm me down…unless child safety is involved; that’s a level of rage that I’ve learned can take me out of my body.

  12. BH August 15, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Two words: ROLLER DERBY.

  13. abdabs August 15, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often, but exercise of some sort is my best reaction to fury. I’ll stew and fume, and then burn it out. I have brought on asthma attacks swimming too hard, when hitting the water was better than hitting a colleague. Cleaning the house isn’t an option: it’s what my husband’s mother did when she was in a filthy mood, and he’d get positively panicky if I were to clean at irregular hours.

    These days, I train six hours a week in taekwondo – I get to vent as much anger and frustration as I need through that. And get fit, and learn how to break an assailant’s arm sixteen different ways. Highly recommended!

  14. megaera August 16, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Aw abdabs I was sooooo hoping you were going to say that you yelled, so I could properly refer to you as the “screaming abdabs”.

  15. AnthroK8 August 18, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    I lift weights, as heavy as I can handle them, until I am shaking. Or I run, which since it is not my favorite and is harder for me than lifting, takes less time to run my energy down. But nothing improves my mood like picking up 10lb weights and mirror boxing. DANG.

  16. Arabella Flynn September 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    I write blog posts full of creative profanity. (No, really, my trackbacks show someone on tumblr reblogged a couple of things I wrote because I had come up with invective she hadn’t seen before. Go me!) Sometimes I sing. Way back in the Cretaceous period, when I was in a school chorus, they used to not bother to mic me — I didn’t need it. I figure the neighbors would rather be treated to a round of Christina Aguilera’s Greatest Hits than me growling and throwing cookware, and they serve the same basic purpose.