To The Girl Who Told Me to Shut Up

By Wednesday, November 13, 2019 2 5

Dear Girl Who Told Me to Shut Up,

First off, I apologize for ruining the first song of the Ray LaMontagne concert for you by chatting with my friend. Your rage caused you to whip around and snarl “Are you done talking yet? Can you shut up now?” with such malice that my response was an artful, succinct “Wow.” Truly, there was no other response for me to give. It was a wow moment.

After you told me to shut my pie hole, you didn’t give me another glance. But we were henceforth bonded by our now mutual rage. Our connected energies were lightsabers battling in a galaxy far, far away. I was like: “on guard, you Dark Force Sith, to the death.”

Actual photo of the encounter. I’m the good one on the left, obvi.

See, I let your rage spread to me. It duplicated itself and I now felt the same about you. My anger changed you into a horrible shell of a human with a stupid looking demon face who probably chewed with your mouth open while throwing things at dogs.

I let my anger ruin the next song while I marinated in the wow of it and plotted my Jedi revenge. I stared at you, Shut Up Girl, seething with the hatred you sent and the injustice of what you said. But then I remembered this quote and it immediately snuffed out my rage:

Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

I was allowing anger to ruin a rare night out with friends. And for what purpose? It was so unnecessary. So I let it go and did the opposite. I stared at you again and took out my lightsaber but instead of rage, I sent you compassion, forgiveness, and love. Yup, a big ole sloppy love saber. Your dumb demon face disappeared and I saw your humanity again.

I saw in that moment how anger is a poison that serves no purpose but to sicken us and ruin our connections. It does not allow us to feel compassion for others. It makes it so we can’t see others as humans also having human experiences. It also takes away our ability to listen — like, really hear the words.

While I can’t eliminate future anger, I can eliminate its longevity and the potency of its poison. I can use it as a reminder to be more compassionate and to connect with whoever/whatever pisses me off. Why do I feel this? Is it serving me? How can I let it go? Does it really chew with its mouth open?

I really did love you for the next hour we spent connected. When you stood up to leave, I saw you were carefully cradling a new poster of Ray LaMontagne and wearing a t-shirt with his face and these lines on it:

I wanted to hug you and say: “That’s what I’m talking ’bout, Shut Up Girl! Aw, you get it.”.

You really wanted to hear his music and my yapping ruined that for you. In the future, though, please consider the humanity of the person you are confronting. Wielding rage only serves to infect others with rage. It does not serve us. I love you, Shut Up Girl, and I hope you found a lovely spot for your new poster.

May the Force be with you,



Anger is not only a poison, it’s also a choice. While it does serve a purpose, sometimes that purpose is just to realize you’re being a little bit of a shit. They also forgot to mention that it’s contagious, so wash your hands and your thoughts.

  • Noah Teitelbaum
    November 14, 2019

    Thanks for the story and reflection, Sunna. I’ve wrestled with anger and rage over the years. A loved one just sent me this idea by Gabor Mate. I had not thought much about the difference between anger and rage:

    To say that we shouldn’t have anger is like saying that we shouldn’t have rain: we may not like getting wet, but without it there’s no irrigation. Healthy anger is a necessary response to a boundary invasion. It’s our way of saying: You’re in my space. Get out. You see this behavior in animals, too. It’s not a question of should or shouldn’t; it’s a part of our makeup. The role of emotion is to keep out that which is dangerous or unhealthy and allow in that which is helpful and healing. So we have anger and revulsion, and we have love and attraction.

    Now, rage is always unhealthy. Rage is anger that is disproportionate to the situation. It usually arises from past experiences, not present boundary issues, and it keeps going on and on. It’s not discharged once you’ve protected your boundaries. It’s the result of frustration that’s built up for many years, like a pressure cooker that explodes.

    – Gabor Mate

    • Sunna
      November 14, 2019

      Noah! That is perfect, thank you. Wish I had read this before I wrote it because I would’ve used the word rage all the time instead of anger. Or maybe incorporated the distinction into the piece. You’re right, Gabor’s right – there is a major difference between them. My point still remains – you have a choice to hold on to anger and let it poison you, or let it feel what you need to feel and move on. But rage…rage is a contagious epidemic.

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