There is a tear in the fabric. It is slight, but it’s there. You immediately begin thinking of ways to repair it: you’ll need a sewing kit, or some sort of fabric glue, or staples, or at the very least duct tape. The quick-fix solutions that have always been present throughout your consciousness start floating to your full attention, but they fly there so quickly now, moving and swirling together in a tornado of frantic panic…because there is a tear in the fabric that holds your world together. And the sadness is there, right outside the thin membrane surrounding you, and if it is able to make its way in, even slightly, it will rip the entire seam apart. And you know what will surely follow.
If you allow the sadness an inch worth of space in your world, it will spread. You know this to be true. It will infect the area around its designated inch, creating foot after foot of sickening infection, until the entire microcosm of your world is contaminated with all-consuming sadness. It will cascade it’s way through all of who you are, that’s just how it works. So you have to patch the rips as soon as they occur. You have to stay on top of it. You have to be vigilant. You have to be aware of potential entrance points and repair the holes and fill in the gaps and block the doors, barricade them even, reinforce their strength, because dammit you’re not going to let sadness win. Not this time.
But somehow, in your quest to chase the sadness away from your borders, you become something else. As you focus yourself on fighting the dull emptiness, the painful lethargy, the dramatic and despairing boredom, you get riled up. It’s a newfound energy, and it feels better than the way the sadness makes you feel as it begins to encroach on your territory. It is searing determination. It is an aggressive fixation on what you want, the only thing you want. It is anger bubbling up from within you like magma, exploding from the volcano that stands where you once stood.
It hurts less, anger. It has a direction, a certain forward momentum. As opposed to sitting idly in a coma of sadness, you can push forward with your anger. You can DO something with your anger, make use of it, take advantage of it. You may do so violently (you WILL do so violently, as there isn’t much choice in the confines of anger), but at least you’re still doing.
And since you feel you have control in your anger, you feel safer there than you feel in your sadness. It’s a defense mechanism. Anger is a bodyguard and sadness is what made you hire one. Anything to give you some semblance of protection, anything to dampen the blow of what’s coming for you.
But anger is merely a secondary emotion in response to a primary emotion. At the end of the day, when the fire that is your anger fizzles out (because it will; combustion is an exothermic reaction and the energy released is a product of the finite energy held in the reactants), you will be left with the ashes. Or, in this case, when the magma cools off, as it always does, the formation left behind is just rock. And isn’t that metaphor a fitting one? Because you might as well have dealt with the sadness in the first place; at least back then it was fluid, not hardened.
Like volcanic pressure, anger builds slowly. And if you aren’t paying attention, it can happen outside of your awareness. So pay attention: your frustrated anger may actually be sadness in disguise, your itchy, uncomfortable panic may very well be depression circling your borders looking for a way in. Pay attention. Because if you know what you’re up against, you’ll be better able to sew your fabric back up. You’ll be more equipped to be a force of resistance.