Column: Turning anger into something productive

Anger isn’t really something I experienced so frequently until I got to college.

I don’t know where or when it exactly started, but I find myself getting angry at least once a day — not necessarily foaming at the mouth, but stirred enough to really crease my forehead and look unapproachable for at least 30 minutes at a time. Even my advisor has picked up on it, claiming she doesn’t know where all the anger comes from.

I guess to wrap it up simply, I’m just angry. There isn’t really one tangible reason for these emotions I feel on a daily basis. But what I’ve learned through all the clenched fists and mumbled curse words is that its completely okay to be angry.

In fact, I believe being angry shows that you really care.

Admittedly, most people just dwell on their anger or bottle it up until they reach a point where they blow up on someone they potentially care about. But what I’m proposing is that your anger can almost always be channeled into positivity. I mean, what do you like to do?
I live with three incredible artists and I would be shocked if they told me that their emotions, specifically anger, didn’t play into their artwork. I know that it has to have happened at some point. Personally, I like to write and do line work on Illustrator. I’ve learned that writing comes even more naturally when I’m angry; it’s like my purpose is highlighted. The things I want to put on paper just roll out effortlessly.

If I can contribute to some rhetoric that maybe advances a cause or does something as little as just getting the word out regarding a topic I’m really passionate about, then I think my anger has been justified; I have turned this typically toxic feeling into something productive, something that may change someone else’s day and that’s good. That’s leaps and bounds from where I used to be; sulking in my bedroom, listening to an emo record and smoking cigarettes, even though I definitely 100 percent hate the taste.

Plus, think about it this way. You’re angry, probably due to some terrible circumstance that is happening in the main ring of the circus that is the United States. You’re already showing more empathy than a lot of other people around you. Now its up to you to take that anger and apply it. Take the toxicity of whatever situation you’re in and spin it upside-down.

Let your friends and advisors recognize your anger, but know deep down that it’s okay — you can do something about your feelings, although whatever large event framing those feelings may be out of your control, you and you alone have the power to make a difference with your own well-being.

Contribute. Don’t get stagnant in your anger. Even if your form of contribution is a cheesy little poem, its better than boiling until you burst.

Will Izzo can be contacted at [email protected]