Rowland Carlson

Because I...


"Why did I react like that?" I was driving home, trying to make sense of what had happened. I was at the house of two of my friends. Everything was going well. Then she climbed on his lap and embraced him. As he fondled her, she began kissing him. I could feel the lust in the room. I had been present for their affections before, but this time felt different. As I sat and watched, I became angry. I shouted, then, realizing what I had done, fled in confusion.

Now, I wanted to understand. I often misspoke. I learned to use my long drive home to analyze my words and thoughts. This was different. I considered myself a calm person. I couldn’t remember a time where I had become that angry. Why did I react with anger?

I wanted to be the one in that chair. But, I could only watch, impotent. They did this to provoke me. They made me angry. It was not out of character for one of them, he was known for “shocking” others into realizations. This only led to another question: What was I meant to realize? That I was single and alone?

I listened to an audiobook to distract me from my thoughts. I had sought audiobooks to improve my social skills, but tonight's events put things into a new frame. I learned that I could not be “made” to have an emotional reaction. My brain had chosen that reaction based on my own internal beliefs. I had to take ownership of my reactions with the words “Because I”. Not “You provoked me!” But: "I became angry because I saw their actions through my feelings of inadequacy and loneliness."

What other reactions am I blaming on others?