Friday, 29 August 2014

Anger Like A Mountain

There is an anger deep within me, an anger that sits unseen for the most part. This anger is the anger of ALS, the anger at the loss of my life, at my failing abilities, at the opportunities I might have had. I keep this anger away from people, at least as best I can; there are times when no amount of restraint or self-control can stop the anger, and more often the frustration, of ALS from spilling out of me.

I liken this anger to an old, ancient volcano. It is a solid mountain, seemingly. It rises about the lowly things that gather at its base, feeding that which needs to be fed from the minerals within, creating a weather system, a life giving system, simply through the process of being a mountain. Yet deep below this mountain lies a chamber of brilliant boiling lava; a magma chamber kept in place by the strength of solid igneous rock above.

The mountain would not exist but for the lava that once flowed freely. That solid dome of granite that grew above it encased the lava, keeping it deep within. But that lava, that anger, wants to come out. It seeks the cracks and flaws in the stone above, finding the thin slivers that lead to the surface, bubbling out when it can, exploding out when the pressure is too much. That anger rises, regardless of the strength of the stone.

When that lava explodes, it damages so much. The anger hurts so many around me, scalding them in the heat of my frustration and distress. Like the mountain, I hold that anger back, keeping it safe, deep within. The lava need not see the light even though it will find the odd crack here and there. The pressure will be eased by other things, doused and cooled as best I can, even though the anger continually resides within me.

Like that mountain with anger beneath, I stand seemingly strong. Yet all that needs to happen is for a weakness to appear for that lava to seep out. Perhaps it is another person who fails to see me as they walk past entranced by their cell phone, near stumbling into me in the process. Perhaps it is the woman who rushes in front of me to get into the elevator because my wheelchair takes up too much room. Perhaps it is the sense of uselessness that goes with needing others to help and care for me. Perhaps it is that moment when I realize that I am no longer what I once was, can no longer do what I once did.

It doesn't really matter where the cracks appear. In my case they don't let the light in so much as let the lava out. I try not to share the anger much; I don't talk about it very often. After all, it does no good. The anger is within me; it will only die when I do the same. It doesn't eat me from inside. It doesn't dominate my days. It isn't the thing that will kill me. I will leave that up to ALS.

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