Throughout my young childhood, I believed that my two older brothers’ sole purpose in life was to make me miserable. Satya and Tejas, now brothers that I love and cherish, were at one point a unit of two teasing thieves set on obliterating my happiness. Anger, once an overused emotion, has allowed me to learn a very important lesson about my nature and the beauty of forgiveness.

I hold one memory clearly in my mind. This single piece of my past comes from a blend of every time I became angry as a result of my brothers teasing.

The single memory goes a bit like this: I am a young girl playing with flowers I have found, light and beautiful, delicate. The flowers are as alive as I. Brothers approach, they know how to block the light and suck the water and steal the joy, how to drain the flower, they know how to antagonize the little girl. How to bring salt tears and angry words. They know this by little fault of their own; they tested the territories of my patience, and I opened wide the gates and let them in. Maybe I let them in to get their attention, maybe I did this because I wanted to get them in trouble, and maybe I did this because I didn’t know myself.

After I had screamed at them and called for mom who acknowledged both sides of the incident and gave her sweet advice, I was mad. I was angry because my brothers were being mean, I was angry because my mom had not yelled at my brothers but calmly showed each of our faults, I was angry because my brothers were having fun while I was moping. I would sit in a writhing pool of my own infuriated creation. Stone-still and wrapped in my own rage, drenched in my own tears of self pity; and I was heavy, too heavy to move. 

Within the swirling concoction of hate and anger, resentment and greed, I would hold in my feeble self. I would force myself to stay mad for as long as I possibly could. And when I thought that maybe I was getting over it, I would dig deep, deep into myself and find a way to revive that anger. I would do this same action over and over again. Until the flower and I, wilted and almost gone, could not sustain the writhing darkness and it would slowly be let go, seeping away into the ground.

The ground always soaked up my sadness. I was able to find release through these long, tormentous episodes. The ground under the stoney flower seemed to reach out in a warm embrace, holding the little pieces of light from escaping too far from the little girl. Eventually, my eyes would open, still glistening with tears. In the air around me, I could feel my anger ringing away in the distance, and even farther away, I could hear my brothers playing. 

A little voice in my head tells me to go join them, forget your sadness and forgive.

Soon my voice joined theirs, and all three of us would romp tirelessly through the woods. Finding forgotten paths, enticing plant life, filling our heads with stories of great travellers and adventures. Warriors evading our pursuers through the murky forest, scientist spies hunting down the great snow serpents, simple villagers creating out tunnels through the frozen cattails. Through every season we would travel creating our own worlds, always with smiles on our faces.

At some point along my twisting path, I realized that my actions were what was stealing away my happiness. My brothers may have provoked me with harsh words, but I was the one that was letting their malicious jests effect and drive me to my state of despair. I was sucking the life out of the flower. It was my own inability to laugh and forgive, forget and move on, that caused my sadness.

I now know one thing to be true to myself: I am the only person who has absolute power over my emotions.

I look back on these times with a bittersweet gratitude. From my brothers I learned the power that anger can have; I also learned that it is an emotion best used intermittently. It is a powerful emotion and yet it is not as complex as the feelings often underlying it. Anger is easy. I overused anger to the point that it became useless.

Anger is potent and powerful. Because of what my brothers allowed me to see about my nature, I was able to learn the importance of acknowledging my own faults and forgiving and forgetting. Not that I don’t mess up or make mistakes, we are all human, and I am too. I will never fully understand myself, that goal is almost unachievable, but that does not mean it is not worth trying for.

Through everything I loved them, and still love them. And now I know perhaps the most important thing of all: love is strong and powerful too, it all depends on where I choose to place my energy.

Sunset, Dublin Lake  by Norm Bergeron

Sunset, Dublin Lake by Norm Bergeron