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  • Writer's pictureAnne Heffron


Photo by Brad Ewell

When a student warns me ahead of time, "Sorry this is so angry," I feel excited. Something real is about to happen.

Time and time again, what I hear as they read their work to me is not anger but truth. It can feel like truth comes from a place of anger when you have been so afraid or unwilling to share your thoughts or beliefs with another that what is unsaid bottles up like positive and negative ions in a cloud until the pressure gets too great and lightning happens.

When you are dying from trying to be good, anything that asserts your presence in the world can feel like anger. "I need some time alone," can feel like fury when what you are saying is simple assertion of need.

One true sentence can feel like you are punching someone in the face when you are just a living being in a body in time and space. "I don't want to go on a drive with you today," can feel like abandonment and disregard and cruelty when you are a people pleaser, but what you are actually doing is existing, meeting your own needs. When you meet your own needs you are inherently taking care of the other person because you become someone they can trust. Whether they continue to like you or not is another issue, and it is not your problem, even if it feels like it is.

When a human chameleon has opinions and truths of their own, they lose their ability to blend into the background. Why stand out when you can disappear? Can you imagine a daffodil coming into bloom and being so horrified by its own flower that it tries to bury its bright sun self into the dirt? What kind of world is that?

A dark and yucky place.

One of my favorite things about my job as a writing coach is how easy it is. All I have to do is get people to say what they really think or feel. It's like every day I sit in front of wrapped presents and get to watch the covering come undone. I never know exactly what's going to be inside, but I do know, 100% of the time, it's going to be amazing.

LIghtning strikes and people wake up.

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