I have used the image of inside out because it’s one of the best representations of how I think my brain works. I have had quite a few psychologist and assessments. I have had lots of people talk to me about me. But watching the film inside out…better than any professional assessment I have had lol
I am a very angry person sometimes. If you personally know me then that statement will shock you (Jokes, if you personally know me there is a 99% chance you have witnessed me in a rage).
I get angry for lots of reasons. The main reason I get angry is frustration. When I feel like people don’t understand me or mis-understand what I am doing/saying. I think this stems from my childhood.
Being angry, growing up, got me through the darkest days. Even if I was in situations where I could not express my anger, knowing that I was fully against what ever was going on and inside I was very angry about it helped me to cope. As I got a little older, I would witness things that made me angry, like my mum getting hit, and I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t express my anger because no one would listen, OR I could even make the situation worse.
When I finally allowed my anger to spill out, I found that people no longer ignored me. When I was good, People didn’t see me. When I was angry and naughty…they all saw me. My voice was heard, in a strange kind of way. By 11 that anger was at a point that I struggled to control it.
When I was 11, I hurt a good friend of mine. Not badly, but enough that it had an impact on his life. Victor and I had grown up together since reception in primary school. I think he had involved in gangs in year 6. Anyway, we were outside my flat and we were having an argument. It was over something dumb but as he went to walk away from me, I picked up a brick, called his name and when he turned around, I smacked it in his mouth. It Bust his lip, but it also badly broke his tooth. I will never ever forget the look on his face when I done it. It was total shock. We had been friends for so long and there was no way he was expecting me to act like that. He had this chipped tooth for ages and people started cussing him. It made him look thuggish and he started becoming quite nasty. When I look back on it now, of course I feel bad. Who was I to do that to anyone. Where was my head at that I hit someone so hard in the mouth with a brick that I smashed their teeth? My friend of so many years.
And so, my anger (And violence) became worse.
I had so many fights in the various PRUs I was placed in that at one point I was taught alone in a classroom for about 6 months. I was not allowed any contact with other students. I can’t even tell you what triggered me. Everything to be fair. But the biggest trigger was if anyone spoke about my mum. I hear kids nowadays arguing and saying the most awful things about each other’s mums and it usually ends with the kids just storming off. My goodness, if that had been me growing up…. Well… let’s just say I have done things I am not proud of.
However, I never ever got angry at my mum. And very rarely in front of my mum. I would say a lot of my behaviour was chosen behaviour. Let me now tell you how my anger hindered one of the best opportunities of my life.
I was quite good at some subjects at school. Art was my best subject all day long. I had been in the Prus full time since year 5. I had missed so much school and was so far behind I didn’t even bother try in lessons. The PRUs I attend were shocking. Some of the workers would come and smoke weed with students at break time. We had one man working in the PRU who was selling weed to the students. I will write a blog about it one day. Anyway, there was no chance I was going anywhere in life whilst I was in the PRU. My support worker, when I was 13, she said that she saw something in me. She sat with me and got me to complete a test on maths and English. She also asked if she could take my Art folder to show someone. I didn’t care so agreed to the test and her taking my folder. A few weeks later my mum was called into the PRU for a meeting. They sat me and my mum down and said that my support worker had been to a secondary school and they had agreed to take me. It was Graveny school in Wandsworth. My mums face was a picture. She was smiling some big old smile. She was bouncing in her chair. She said “Are you sure” about 20 times. They were smiling. Mum was smiling. And I just shock my head. The head of the PRU asked what I thought. I told him that this was a dumb idea. That I aint wearing no uniform or blazer. That I aint going to school full time hours (I had been on a variation of part time timetables since I was 10). I said that I aint going to Wandsworth every day. And my mum said, “Oh yes you are, this is your chance”. The truth was, I was scared. I had never stepped foot in a secondary school. I had no idea how to really behave in a classroom. I had not gone to school full time in years. But my mum dragged me down the uniform shop and I let her have her moment.
The PRU started prepping me for my first day which was the next Monday. My mum agreed to drive me back and forward for as long as needed. They made me promise this and that. I even had to wear the most disgusting skirt.
So, first day of school. Well, I had been out most the night on the Sunday night. I had gone to a rave on Saturday night and just didn’t come back. My mum tracked me down about 2 in the morning and made me come home. I then had to get up at 7 for my first day.
I got dressed and looked at myself in the mirror. I honestly looked ridiculous. Just imagine me…Big messy bun on my head, bits of my hair gelled into curls around my forehead (I honestly do not know who I thought I was with that One). MASSIVE hoop earrings. Make up. And then this beautiful uniform.
We drove to school. I don’t speak, my mum does not stop speaking. Telling me that this is my chance. That this is my opportunity to start a new life.
When we get there, I say goodbye and go in. I meet with the head who sits me down and tells me that she does not think I should be in this school and that if I put one foot out of line I will be gone. I kiss my teeth. It takes about 15 mins to get me to the right place, so when I get to my classroom, everyone is already in their seats. I walk in and everyone looks at me (Of course). Some of the girl’s snigger I know a few of the girls that are there. I sit in the seat I am given, next to a girl I don’t know. She gives me a dirty look and slides her chair away a bit. I say nothing. The teacher starts talking and asks if I have a pen. I say no. One of the girls in front of me spins round and says something like “You bring pens to lessons here you’re not in spastic school now”. And a few of them laugh. My face burned so hard. Then I saw why people are not being nice. 2 tables along is a girl called Fiona. A girl that I had beef with for sooooo long. And there she is. Giving it. Now her and all her friends are whispering and giggling. I can hear my name being said. I can hear something about “Crazy mum”. My face is burning, and I can feel the anger starting to rise and I say loudly “You wouldn’t give it if we were on road”. Nothing more. Nothing less. Fiona stops whispering and looks at me with some dutty look. I said, “Say my name again if your bad”. She stops with the bad look and mutter something under her breath. I am literally holding on to my chair to keep myself from hitting her. I am thinking of my mum and all she said about this being my chance to change. The teacher walks over and asks Fiona what is wrong. She says “Nothing is wrong miss” …. turns her head back to me and mouths the words… “Your Mum’s a nutter”.
I promise you I can still feel the feeling. The instant rage. The power run through my body. I jumped up and picked up the chair I had been sitting on and threw it across at her. Kids start screaming. I flip over the table we were sitting at and just go for her.
It lasted about 5 minutes. That what the reports said. The teacher tried to stop me, and I really hurt her. When I got to Fiona, I acted like an animal. Like I always did. I don’t remember much of it. I don’t like what I do remember. I bit her face so hard that she still has the scar under eye to this day.
I got into the school that day at 8:40. I was permanently excluded, and police called at 9:45. They had me in a room and said they needed to call my mum. She appeared in about 2 minutes. She came in the room and I was still ragging, I had just kicked over the drinks machine they had and was now trying to punch a hole through the wall. I was swearing like mad. When they said they were going to get my mum, I just said “Go and fucking get her then”. I knew I had about half hour until she got there. SO, when I heard her voice instantly, it shocked me.
I spun round mid punch as she called my name. I was so shocked to see her there. I had blood all over the sleeves of my shirt from the fight and I suddenly felt …disgusting. She just stood in the doorway and looked so sad. So sad and so disappointed. I looked at the floor. And I started to cry. She came in and pulled me to the floor and just sat on the floor and hugged me. Hugged me and rocked me. The head teacher came rushing in. Said “Oh Mrs Houseman, you got here quickly” my mum said, “I didn’t bother to leave the carpark”. How sad is that. That my mum knew I would not cope.
That carved out my life for a long time. I was treated like an animal because of that fight. And the truth was, I lashed out because I couldn’t cope. I felt stupid and it made me angry, so I lashed out.
That has continued through my adult life. I mean, I don’t go chucking chairs at people. But I tend to lash out emotionally or verbally if I feel misunderstood or upset.
The other day a very wise lady asked me “What would happen if you stopped being angry at people”. I said I didn’t know. She said that I should stop being angry. Let it go. Tell people how you feel instead of being aggressive.
So, I did. I contacted a wholeeeeee heap of people and made amends. I apologised for things. I addressed certain things. And I told each person that I was not angry at them.
Within minutes I felt calmer. I physically felt…. Stronger. People started messaging me back. Some where like “Errr…where is the real Kendra”. Some explained their side of things and we made amends. Some came back very aggressive and attacked me.
But none of their reactions or actions mattered. How I responded to it did. And I didn’t get angry. I may have raged to myself (I talk to myself often) I may have got my son to talk me through my new-found calmness. But I did not respond in a negative way to anyone.
Yesterday I got up and loads of stuff went wrong. I just breathed and said …let it go. And I didn’t get that panicky feeling in my chest I always get! I was ok.
A student today said that they could not stand me and that they hated me. I said I was sorry they felt like that, I drew him a set of circles and said that the inner circle was his closest people and then the other circles were where other people went depending on how he felt about them. He picked up a separate bit of paper, wrote my name on it and put it in the bin. He said that that is where I belong in his circle. I explain to him that him being angry at me didn’t affect me. I would care for him anyway. It only affected him because he was now hot, angry, and tearful.
We spent some time together. We spoke about anger. We spoke about how I had made him angry. I listened to what he thought of me and then we both talked about it. At the end of our time together he said thank you. (I was shocked, but I hid it) I said why are you saying thank you. He said… Because you didn’t get angry back.
I’m not saying I will not get angry. That’s impossible. Do you know the job I do!
I’m not saying that I can forgive everyone I have been angry at. Some people I may never be able to forgive.
But knowing that I have the power to let go of anger now, even if it has taken 38 years……. priceless.