The Rage Elephant

We have mentioned the Huppo to you before, a shining star in the Sneer Campaign Dream Zoo. But our collection of animals that visit us frequently does not stop there. Farther back, in an exhibit we don’t exactly keep hidden but we don’t exactly encourage, either, is the Rage Elephant. I say that it visits us all, but as the Huppo favors Jamie — the Rage Elephant reaches out to me the most.

Out on the plains of the Serengeti where many iconic animals mill around, the African Elephant stands out as a symbol of majestic power and ancient wisdom. They are massive creatures, and house a surprisingly complicated web of emotions. Thanks to the internet liking to pull at our heartstrings, we have all seen sad elephants mourning a dead elder, a poached and mangled friend, and themselves as they are cruelly confined for human purposes. We have seen the tender care that they give to one another. And we all can relate to these displays (except perhaps big trophy hunters who have no soul). But there is one state of elephant being that we on Sneer Campaign relate to most of all, whether we want to or not, and that is the state of absolute rage which we then don’t stop thinking about.

Somewhat close up drawing of an angry looking elephant's top of head and red eyes and flappy ears. It has an open fire coming from atop its head. The background is all red.
Instead of elephant sounds, imagine the amplified sounds that a tense jaw would make.

Have you heard the saying that an elephant never forgets? Stop wondering why that ever became a saying, and wondering if it is nonsense like the elephants being afraid of mice thing. Stop wondering and just believe it with me. An elephant never forgets, and neither do I once I have become infuriated.

I’d like to think that I’m an easygoing person for the most part. And for the most part, I think I am! However, I have a sneaking suspicion that it is because I have surrounded myself with friends and family who understand the power of respecting boundaries, and never asking too much from or about me. The key to my serenity involves solitude and seclusion.

I can endure being merely annoyed by someone’s antics for a long time. The rage builds, and I can create a persuasive case to anyone interested about why I don’t like that person. I tally up their offenses and can call on them without a pause for thought. It’s always right there at the tip of my brain, my opinions on people.

Illustration of Amandoll sitting with her chin in her hand. She is looking to the side in a disgruntled mood. The words next to her say "thinking about memory lane."
There are many forks along Memory Lane, some of them dark and angry.

But a few times in my life, that feeling of annoyance abruptly switches into being so mad and personally betrayed because of boundary breaking, disrespect, childlike behavior, unwanted persistence, etc, that I realize that I had better just never speak to them again. Maybe some day, I tell myself, when I am not so white-hot angry about it. But then I see that red-eyed elephant standing in the room with me, and we shake our heads at each other knowingly.

Before you think I rampage through villages and destroy entire circuses, metaphorically, I would like you to know that although my rage is that size, the similarity stops there. I simply stop engaging with the irritant, when I can. And when I can’t, I am able to effortlessly be cold yet polite to a degree that I feel is a fair compromise. My rage elephant life is entirely due to my long, long memory. Like an elephant, I think about how upset I am every single day. Every day! If I was angry at you for something that happened in 2006, former friend, you can bet I’m just as angry today. I’m thinking about it right now.

I don’t fly into a screaming fit like fictional TV character Dennis Reynolds, but if I do it is for funsies, I assure you. My dramatic, hostile flailing is for entertainment purposes only. I am not all anger all the time. I’m certainly not mad at everyone and I rarely misplace my anger. And it only affects me emotionally in times of quiet, as I review my entire life every day. Every day! It isn’t something I wish I could get over, it is just a part of me now. Like a visible scar on my arm, I do not seek to cover this up or pretend nothing happened to me. It is an important thread in my tapestry, a deep red river that flows through my beautiful mental landscape. I have placed some No Fishing signs on the river bank there.

An illustration of a canyon that has teeth all over the place, gigantic, emerging from the cliffs. There is blood, and a river a blood. Sound effects! Screams, chaos, teeth. Also someone has posted these signs: No fishing, stay on path, go back.
Self portrait.

My rage can bubble forth at a mention of that person. Want to see cartoonish steam shoot out of my ears? Want to hear my trunk make squealing trumpeted shrieks? Want to see me ransack an innocent farmer’s crop? Then insist I’m mistaken about how I feel and that the person who has raised my ire is someone deserving of sympathy and forgiveness for doing something to me that they should have known not to do. Or just hang up on me by phone or in text form. Then, I become the Rage Elephant — there is no difference between the rage elephant and me. I’m basically an Animorph.

You armchair psychiatrists and real mental health professionals might want me to seek help for these “anger issues” or “worrying emotional coldness.” To that, I dismiss you with a lazily waving hand. I’m not losing sleep about bridges burnt; I am not stewing in a bad attitude. You can think of me as a person that cut toxic baggage from their life and as a result is living happily, freely soaring through the skies — the Remorseless Eagle lets me borrow its strong broad wings. I only rage at the drop of a hat, at any moment’s notice. That’s all. It is a zoo but also it is an amusement park inside of my head, which I have described before. The roller coasters roll on for the enjoyment of all.

On the rare occasion that I do forgive, and/or let a person back in, it is not the same. We can talk and have good times, but I have learned from the past. However, the good news is if they have made me that mad before, at least they can never make me that mad again.

That is an Amandoll Guarantee.

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