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Veronica Varlow
  -  How To Tuesdays   -  My Addiction to Violence (…I dare you to hit me)

I remember the strobe lights and his fist coming at me.

A photo from the actual club it went down in.

A photo from the actual club it went down in.

Everything was in slow motion.

I ducked and saw his feet were wobbly.  He was drunk.

Luckily…I was straight edge and sober.

His fist went wild and passed right over my head.

I kicked one of his legs out from underneath him and knocked him down on the floor.

I was stepping in to kick him in the face, when a guy who looked like Kurt Cobain got in between us and six sailors from Fleet Week carried him out sideways.

Everyone in the entire club saw it happen.  People came up to me afterwards to give me high fives.

I was high on the violence.
Picture 3

I saw Fight Club a few years back and I understood it.

In the next week and 1/2, I got into three other fist fights with random guys.  My life was like that for several years.  I was drawing it to me because that’s what I was seeking.  I was waiting for someone to say the wrong thing, look at me the wrong way, disrespect me or be inappropriate.  Anything.  So I could take out that anger and get that high.

I’m not proud of this.

But it is a part of my story.  And you get that here….uncensored.

It took me years to try to train that anger out of me.  I like to think that now I’m a super rational person.  I like to talk things out.  I don’t fight with people.  I like people in general. People are respectful to me for the most part, and I’m super respectful back.  If there’s a misunderstanding or something, I try to work things out.

But I’m bringing this up because sometimes I feel that old anger creeping in.  Rarely.  But when it does, it does.

As much as I wanted to do How To Tuesday on another topic today – it wouldn’t be honest.

Because I am pissed.

The person I’m livid at is a stranger. Someone who is dishonest, desperate and enjoys taking advantage of other people.

Counting to 10 doesn’t always cut it. Instead, I came up with 5 solid things that helped me get through this feverish anger today.

1. Change Your Environment. Go for a walk. Get out of the space where you were having the argument, text battle or email exchange. Hit your local coffee shop, go to a friend’s, walk around a park. Do anything to give you new input. Don’t sit in your room and brood. I went for a hike and threw sticks in the river for this cute thing:
After about ten minutes of being in nature and being around my little chihuahua, things came into perspective. I’ve got my little Niney in my life. I’ve got my awesome husband and my great friends and family.  In the big picture – my life is awesome.  Gratitude took over and I felt a sense of relief.

2. Do Something Physical to Get Rid of That Aggressive Energy. Mental changes are best accompanied with physical changes. Scientists know that anger activates adrenaline and cortisol in our bodies which gives us that rush or surge of energy. Anger spikes our blood pressure and puts us in that primal “fight or flight” mode. On the rare occasion that Burke gets angry, he goes for a run alone to take off the steam. I do power sit-ups. Not just one or two, I do it until I feel like I might not be able to move afterwards. You need to expend all of that energy, burn off all of those chemicals… like the Hulk after a rage, once you’ve exhausted yourself you’ll be able to return to Bruce Banner and think logically again.

Take note: Abs will look awesome this week.

Just cool down.  Photo Courtesy of PhotoMadly.

Just cool down. Photo Courtesy of PhotoMadly.

3. Distract Yourself for a Moment so You Can Calm Down. I can go on a downward spiral when I’m mad. I will gnaw on a subject in my mind and obsess over it until it’s controlling me. This is when I try and step into another world. When all this went down last night, I went to the movies with Burke to go see Almodovar’s “I’m So Excited“.

Four words: Flight Attendant Dance Sequence.

Within a half hour of the movie, the anger faded and we were laughing out loud.  I was no longer stewing in what had happened.  Another story had started…and now I was paying full attention to the journey of these flight attendants in the movie and the stories of the characters.

Picture 1

The Flight Crew from Almodovar’s “I’m So Excited”.

4. Try to Have Empathy for the Other Person. This is hard. But try it. Try putting yourself in their position. Why are they acting the way they are? What’s going on? Can we look at the people we are so angry with on a basic human level and feel sorry for them for what they are going through as well? They say we can never know a person until we’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

For instance (ugh…another real talk story I’m not proud of): I was really angry at this girl I went to college with because she would blow off most of her classes, was completely drugged out when she did show up and didn’t have to take responsibility for anything because she was given tons of money and didn’t have to work.   I worked constantly to put myself through college and I considered myself lucky to even be able to attend school. I was always working myself ragged, going to classes or working on homework or projects for school. I was exhausted and I envied her free time and was angry about how she was throwing away on amazing opportunity. On the last day of school, I found out that her father had shot her mother in front of her and then turned the gun on himself – and all the money she was living off of was the insurance money from that situation.

Oh my god.

I couldn’t even imagine. I felt guilty that I judged her. I learned a valuable lesson that day….we will probably never know each other’s complete stories. There is so much going on under the surface. We need to be tolerant and loving to one another and hold off judgement and anger if possible. Being empathetic and trying to understand where they are coming from is half the battle of solving an argument or misunderstanding.

5. Realizing that You Don’t Want To Carry That Energy Inside of You.
Think about it:
How many negative, irritable and bitter people do you look up to and want to be like?
Probably none.
All my heroes are risk-taking, life-lusting, adventurous beings who have better things to do than stew over some petty bullshit.
I want to be the same way.
I realized that I was letting this person affect me so greatly that I was giving him control over my entire day. I only have so many days on this earth…and he’s not worth wasting a day of my life on.

This is the part where the old me would post all of his personal information and phone number and tell you to help me bring this sucka down.

Instead I’m leaving it……


On to a better day.

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