There is a classic moment that can be found in books and movies that I love. A person (for some reason usually a man) is in front of a fire. Sometimes they are sitting, sometimes standing, it doesn’t really matter that much. They stare into the fire, a dark and brooding look clouding their eyes as the thoughts they can no longer avoid swim through their mind. A tumbler sits in their hand, almost ignored with just a small amount of amber liquid in the bottom. You know they are angry, and you are supposed to think they are also drunk, but as the liquor is likely whiskey or brandy, they might simply have the customary small amount in their glass and have not had more than a sip. Something comes along to interrupt their thoughts, usually someone entering their private chamber to tell them something they don’t want to hear. As the person leaves, the anger they had barely contained before comes to the surface, exploding out of them as they throw the glass into the fire, sending shards of shattered glass everywhere.
I love that moment, when the glass is thrown, releasing the emotions they have been holding in with a moment of pure, necessary destruction. Maybe I shouldn’t love that moment so much. It has been done so many times, it is trying to move from classic to cliché, and I’m sure many people believe it is already there. But it is not the use of the scene that I love, it is the shattering of the glass. The moment, when anger and frustration build up, begging to be released somehow, and finding that expression in one pure burst of destruction. I have always wanted to do that. To take a moment, when everything is building up, and let it out, throwing the glass as hard as you can and breaking something. It looks so completely satisfying, like an anger orgasm.
In the real world of course, the scene wouldn’t end there. The anger might dissipate somewhat, but that one satisfying moment of release would require the clean up of shattered glass, potentially from a large area. There is a decent chance of injury, either from sharp flying objects or from being sliced during cleanup.
But I still want to do it.
Sometimes the urge comes when I am angry, sometimes when I am depressed, sometimes when I am excited. I can’t explain the need to break something. I don’t know the why, only that is it a fact of my existence. I make things, but I also really want to break them sometimes.
Recently I have hit a rough patch. Winter hasn’t hit quite as hard here as it has in so many places, but the depression that comes with the cooler weather is still trying to peek through. The short, cold, dark days leave me bitter, sad, lonely, and yes, angry. Simply put, it makes me want to break something. Practicality prevents me from doing so, but does nothing to the lingering desire.
The other day, I was upset. I can’t for the life of me remember why now, it just wasn’t that important. But of course, at the time, it made me very angry, and I was sure there was a good reason. I needed to do something, so instead of shattering a glass, I was angrily cleaning my house. I know, a little weird. I reached a point where I was running out of things to clean, so I began scooping up glass jars and wine bottles to take down the street to the glass recycling. I very rarely take the glass down where it needs to go; it’s not a lack of desire, but more of an avoidance of the inconvenience.
I dropped the first wine bottle in the large metallic dome and heard the shatter. Instantly I felt a little better. I quickly dispensed with my bag of glass objects, getting a strange satisfaction from the consistent shattering noise I heard each time a jar hit the bottom.
It was strange. I always thought the need to release anger was similar to the big bang; my anger made me heated and compacted, needing to explode and expand. Instead I felt as though I was the one who was shattered before I went, and with each new broken bottle, I was fixed a little. Maybe the need to destroy isn’t so different from the need to create. Maybe it is all meant to heal, breaking the parts of you that are in the way, and mending the parts that should not have been broken. Because sometimes it is okay that something inside you breaks; piecing things back together gives them a new character and beauty they could not have had before.
Of course, maybe I just need to take out my recycling a little more often.