Every week, New York City’s own party messiah takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution in his new weekly advice column in The Village Voice. Read the latest edition of Ask Andrew W.K. below or by clicking HERE.
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Dear Andrew W.K.,
No matter the issue or how calm I try to stay, I can’t help but lash out at others around me. I try to be nice to people and lead a positive life, but my anger always gets in the way. I go and apologize to the people after I blow up at them, but then I remember something else that happened and it gets me angry all over again.
I just want to be happy as much as I can but my obnoxious angry side keeps getting in the way. I’m not angry all the time and have lots of days when I’m very cheerful, but when I have my angry days, it goes beyond just slamming doors. Any advice?
Dear Angry Optimist,
Anger is extremely underrated. In terms of raw energy and a source of powerful physical force, anger is one of the most primal forms of vitality we have access to. Different people have different amounts of this energetic drive, and it takes shape in different ways depending on the person, but nearly everyone thinks of anger as an enemy, when it really can be a wonderfully powerful friend.
It sounds like you’re someone who’s been endowed with a large amount of this power, and it is up to you as to whether it becomes a blessing or a curse. As always, it’s how we use it that counts. You don’t have an anger management problem; you have an energy management challenge.
For starters, it might be helpful to start thinking of this “anger” as a type of precious internal being — almost like a rare and wild animal. You don’t need to judge this animal as good or bad or right or wrong or happy or sad. It is just a creature who can’t help but be true to its wild and passionate nature. This wild animal’s natural state is to be ferocious and incredibly powerful. You can succumb to this animal’s fearsome and intimidating prowess, give into it and let it pull you down and trample you, or you can harness it, saddle it and control it, and ride it towards goodness, using all of its incredible energy for all its worth. Again, this “anger” is really just pure, raw, life force. We too often judge it and decide it must be bad, so we label it as “anger” or “negativity” when really it is too pure to be anything other than spirit.
Photo by Mario Dane