It rises like the pressure of a dormant volcano that sits waiting to spew grey ugly ash. Once the rise begins, there is no stopping the increasing momentum until finishing what it seeks to do. I can’t stop the rise, I’ve tried. I’ve grappled time after time, trying to hold it deep within me. It always gets away from me though. I wrestle for control that I can never have, as fury is unleashed on the world around me. An intense fury that must find release or the energy from the vehemence will destroy that which it has taken over. I feel the rage coursing through every minute fiber of my being seeking to set free the power. It’s almost as if my body will vibrate into tiny particles if the release is not found.
One side of my mind… let’s call that side Tidy… always starts out in a low voice telling the other side… let’s call that side Terrible … to stop. Tidy side starts out softly.
“Please stop, your being unreasonable” As if the word please could stop the rise from happening.
Terrible, at first ignores the other until he eventually gains enough strength to deal with Tidy. Tidy continues over and over with the pleading, until he has made a nuisance of himself. That’s when Terrible starts to talk back.
“Enough… go away. I’ll do what I want.”
“You’ve got to stop before it is too late. Someone could get hurt.”
“I don’t care.”
“He does though.”
“Not for long.”
At first I lend my strength to the tidy side. I do want it to win. I try to will my good side to push back, to hold down the rising badness. Tidy tries, but with each attempt, Terrible pushes back, just a little harder. So goes the see saw battle within me until finally, my good side ends up yelling in a last ditch effort.
“Stop! Please for God’s sake stop!”
Not only is Terrible not paying heed to Tidy, but now he is mad at the other side for trying to stop him.
“I have had enough, you little piss ant. Go away!” His booming voice thunders in my head, causing me skull splitting pain.
That’s when I realize it is time to forfeit my opposition. Maybe the rage isn’t so bad. After all, this war within me is causing me pain and hurting me. Wouldn’t it be better if the pain subsided? It is at this moment, when Terrible realizes I have pulled my support from Tidy, that he rises up and begins his consumption of the weaker, now deflated side of my mind. Terrible never fully eliminates the other, he wants something left of Tidy to hide behind when he is done. The bad side knows that he cannot be strong forever and must at some time, sleep again to rest and renew his strength. He keeps enough of Tidy alive to suit his needs.
That’s how it starts, with Terrible creeping up as Tidy seeks to block his ascent. I always side with Tidy at first. I never want to allow Terrible the chance to gain the upper hand. Somewhere along the way, I end up empathetic towards his point of view however, and eventually, I succumb to the idyllic feeling of the rage that consumes me. It’s the addiction to the blissfulness of the wrath that changes me into this unreasonable being who seeks out gratification that can only be had from brutality.
Now the rage courses through my veins in the way that the venom from a rattler does. The anger is like a drug that overtakes and transmutes me into a dangerous, hideous being. It feels good, powerful. It feels right. I’m energized, like a superhero capable of doing herculean feats. This energy has to go somewhere, containment is not an option. I can feel the pressure inside of me demanding a release. Otherwise it will turn on me. I can’t let the fury do that. I must make sure that the attention of what has gotten hold of me is directed at a proper recipient. A specific beneficiary of the terrible side of me is not necessary. There is no pre-chosen person that fits any particular criteria, no vengeance is on my mind. It is completely and utterly random. Sometimes, on rare occasions, even inanimate objects will suffice if the damage inflicted is great enough to sap my strength. The key is, in order for me to return to a normal plane of thought, a vicious attack on persons or property must take place.
Many times I get inklings that the anger will be approaching, usually early on in the day. A nagging feeling in the back of my mind that tells me that this day might be special. I look to place myself somewhere that I can release it with the most appeasement, and protection for myself. The duality of my actions is not lost on me. Even though I know I will fight the rising of the anger, I also know in my heart that I cannot hope to win the battle that inevitably takes place within me. Armed with the knowledge that the beast within will be unleashed, I look to place myself in a situation that keeps me from being discovered by the outside world. I know that once the rage has come upon me, all critical thinking will be gone. I will act on instinct, fulfilling a base desire to let loose the energy that has welled up inside of me. Rational thought plays no role and if I am to protect myself, I must think before the monster is loose.
Restlessness is the first inkling I get. A feeling of that wherever I am, I need to be somewhere else. I don’t need to be watching TV with my family, or cooped up in my office. I must be out there, in the world, looking for what or who I don’t know yet. I just feel I have to be somewhere else. The restlessness ultimately turns into crankiness. That’s the next inkling, my crankiness. Nothing anyone says or does can ease my feeling out of sorts. That’s when I know I need to be away from the people I know and love. I must protect them from the beast. They can never see that side of me. They wouldn’t understand… they couldn’t.
Now I am on the hunt. I’m looking for the place that takes my restlessness turned foul away from me. It’s never the same place as previous times, but I always gravitate to secluded spots. On one occasion I ended up at a quiet little beach by a mountain lake in mid fall. Sitting on a picnic bench all alone in the crisp air, I fought the inner battle. The conflict raged for a long time that day and ended when a young woman, who I suppose happened to enjoy the seclusion of a beach in October, made the unfortunate mistake of choosing that place on that day. The beast swelled up within me and the spewing began. Her screams for help went unanswered as the rock I held repeatedly pounded into her head. Even as I silenced her with the stone, Tidy tried to get me to stop with a whimpering.
“Please stop, this is wrong.”
There was no reasoning with me at that point for I had become the monster that Terrible wanted me to be. The only thing that mattered was the euphoria that I felt each time my swing connected. The awareness that now the rage had its reason to exist delighted me. This was why the beast rose. This was the very purpose of the fury. It needed to belong, and in order to belong, it needed an action that embraced the sensation like a lover embraces an amorous partner. Violent actions embrace rage, they feed off of the emotion giving it reason to be present. I serve as the conduit for those actions and that emotion to collide and meld. I have a purpose, a reason to be. That woman, on the beach, she had a purpose as well. Hers was the most noble of all, to give the fury of the beast the satisfaction it so desires.
I walk amongst you. At the grocery store. At your children’s recitals, and in your church. I sit next to you on the bus or in a plane. Oh you’d never know it to look at me. I’m an unassuming person who five seconds after you see me, if you don’t know me, you forget me. I’m your next door neighbor or your best friend, maybe even the Godfather of your youngest daughter. You don’t know the terrible side of me. Tidy takes care of that. He keeps me smiling when the beast is dormant. He makes me stick that dollar in the Salvation Army pot. Tidy comes in handy when I stop by your house to drop off the Christmas cookies my wife baked for your family. He makes me say all the right things to you. Tidy helps to cook at the charity barbeque or makes me stop for you if your car is broken down on the side of the road. That’s his purpose.
I have a question for you….do you know your purpose?