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Keeping up with Kincaid: do I have anger issues?

Laken Kincaid
Editor-in-Chief, Laken Kincaid, reflects on their thoughts from the past week.

If the hit Pixar movie “Inside Out” taught me anything, it is that we need to feel our emotions deeply and thoroughly. I know this movie is consistently used by therapists and everyday peacemakers alike to illustrate the need for our feelings to flourish rather than fester.

Specifically, in this film, the concept of sadness is explored and how its presence is not a burden but rather a necessity to not only mourn for the great times lost but to also appreciate the moment you’re in. I am sure this paints a beautiful picture for those struggling with illnesses like depression or even just cloudy thoughts of negativity.

While I have been able to identify this imperative sense of sadness in the past, closing down my mind and letting my body react as it should to such powerful stimuli, I have developed a new relationship with a sister emotion that does not receive as much time in the limelight: anger.

This was a trend I noticed early this year, when my previous upset notions and lack of confidence evolved into frustration and egotism. Rather than feeling lost in a whirlwind of tears, I was saddled with a burning in my chest that manifested as eyes that shoot daggers. Where I used to feel my cheeks well up with the heat of holding in the hurt, now they burn with vexation.

I cannot pinpoint exactly when this transition from dejection to indignation occurred exactly, even less so can I say what spawned such a transformation. I have always been a perfectionist with some control freak tendencies, but a loss always reflected who I was and not the circumstances around me. It seems that now, I no longer blame myself but find a way to blame the system.

Originally, I thought this stemmed from my hatred for vulnerability; those who can see past my intensity and know who I am behind the veil of imposed confidence are few and far between. I do not like painting myself in a weak light by any means and showing emotion opens up a door to explore sides of my mind that I prefer to keep to myself. I know there is some deeper message in here, reflecting back to “Inside Out,” regarding the power of sensitivity but that is for another time.

I prefer to be the one questioning rather than the one being questioned. I suppose there is also some internal sense of imposed faith that comes with others allowing me to just do my work and not ask for justification regarding my identity or choices. Then again, I am a reporter by trade so being on the other end of the interrogation feels foreign.

Sadness and vulnerability attribute themselves to a fortress with no defense while anger is a castle with its drawbridge raised and cannons pointed, ready to fire at an imposing threat; a way to navigate the treacherous waters of emotions with a semblance of control. To be sad is to be okay with frailty. Opening yourself up is exposing a target. Anger is a more guarded approach to dealing with danger. It minimizes future damage while protecting the hull.

Then again, maybe that’s the problem at the root of it all. Is my anger just a shield to protect myself from sadness in the end? Perhaps it is better to have your guns drawn rather than be struck silly while blind. I think it also helps to appear cautiously wary rather than naive towards potential pain. Honestly, this new feeling has made my skepticism and trust issues run rampant.

When I was discussing this before, I said that it is easier to feel anger than sadness because, at least when you’re mad, you have motivation to fix something. Sorrow often mimics a loss of hope towards a goal, a person, a cause or yourself. Like a lightning strike, sadness, though beautiful, is devastating and can be catastrophic depending on its terrain.

This thought is echoed in songs like “Growing Sideways” by Noah Kahan where the bridge of the ballad hauntingly chirps “it’s better to die numb than feel it all.” Perhaps this rage I feel is a diversion, a sense of numbness, towards an otherwise painful situation.

Yet, while anger is protective in nature, it may also be a sign which says I am still fighting. It is a symbol of strength and the fact that I am still willing to confront negativity rather than shirk away. Anger and sadness may not be at odds with one another, with vulnerability and defense playing on both ends of the scale. They are both multifaceted responses to the world and the problems present; they each show how raw the human experience is and how each person interprets life differently.

Just like with “Inside Out” and our blue friend Sadness, I will not try to hide my anger in a circle in the corner. It is a puzzle piece of my identity; who am I without my fiery nature that burns both for good and for evil? Like with the sensitivity of others, my anger shows that I have the capacity to feel deeply, just differently than my peers. Although it may be strange compared to how others process their big feelings, it is my coping mechanism and what not only makes me who I am, but allows me to process my environment in a way that works for me.

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About the Contributor
Laken Kincaid
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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