Yesterday I did something which was beyond my normal character – I tweeted an angry tweet and referenced the organisation I am angry with. I then followed this tweet up with another, again referencing the organisation and made an unsubstantiated accusation they were discriminating against me on the grounds of my mental health struggles.

It is not in my character to seemingly rashly lash out. Invariably when I think I have done so; I feel considerable guilt and either attempt to make amends with mollifying follow up tweets with asinine photos, or remove the offending tweet altogether (though I realise it is never truly deleted).

This time though, my anger is tangible, it comes from deep within me, and I feel no guilt whatsoever for lashing out yesterday. This is telling for me.

In general, the responses I received from my wonderfully caring group of Twitter followers was as gratefully expected; warm, supportive and shared in my indignation. There were a few folks while sympathising with me, cautioned a more reasoned response on my part, inviting me to consider not making allegations before clarifying the situation with the organisation’s HR department. At least, this is how I’ve interpreted those responses. I understand and appreciate their concern. After all, I have more than once offered similar advice to others who have tweeted their ire when it seemed prudence would have been a more beneficial consideration.

The fact I am feeling no shame or guilt with the two tweets tells me my anger is authentic.

As I understand it, we have four core emotions; anger, sadness, fear, and joy. It’s depressing, but from an early age, many of us learn to not express those four emotions in their authentic fullness. As children we learn to hold our anger in, to not cry when sad, to not be fearful when frightened and with joy, to curtail our exuberance. These traits of adaptation towards our innate emotions are carried forward into our adult lives. It is said with considerable authority, that people suffering from depression do so because of locked in anger, anger which is turned inwards against the ‘self’ rather than being expressed authentically, in the moment, when it occurs.

I was angry yesterday and I am still. I expressed my anger through my Twitter feed and in doing so, I think I have challenged the perceptions some have about how we express anger and where it is appropriate to do so.

Whether Twitter is an OK forum for me to express my anger or not, isn’t the issue for me right now. The fact I think I have been challenged for being angry, is. I am ‘rubber-banded’ right back to my early years in my life when I was learning to hold my anger in, not to show it, not to be ungrateful, to always consider the other, to be meek and submissive.

Normally, I would be meek, expressing a measured response, where it’s clear I’m accounting for the other in the dispute. Therefore, because of this, I feel guilty if ever I believe I have rashly lashed out on my social media. I’m more than ready to account for my part in a dispute and to apologise with genuine remorse if I understand my error in judgement or assumption. This is true for this incident now, if this is the case. However, I’m writing about this because my interest has been piqued by two things. The first, the genuine depth of anger I am feeling and my willingness to express it, and second, how in doing so, I have elicited cautionary responses from a few folks. I once again find myself fascinated by the human condition and how best we live with our authentic selves and express our authenticity.

I remember in one of my psychotherapy groups someone saying – to be human, it’s necessary to get messy sometimes.


Grumpy Old Man

Twitter is an online platform where I find myself being how I want to be when I want to be. It's a social media environment where I happily interact with hundreds of unseen followers and online friends. For many of my friends (my real life friends who I personally know), Twitter is an anathema to them. They do not understand the possibilities that Twitter can hold for meaningful, relevant and hugely enjoyable human interaction. I do not criticise them for their mistrust of this method of communication because we come from an age where friendships are borne out of face to face interaction. 

I joined Twitter in 2008, primarily to promote the Sea Glass jewellery I was making at the time. I quickly found myself immersed in the quick-fire style of communicating with the realisation that it was easy to express my thoughts and feelings openly and honestly to a wider world, who were generally open to these in a supportive and sympathetic way. I also discovered that we are inherently interested in each other. We are fascinated by the lives that others lead and equally, we gain much from the interest that others show in us. Well, this is true for me. 

I steer away from politics and matters of controversy on my Twitter timeline. I enjoy a wide following from folks with a wide range of view points and beliefs. While I don't agree with many, I respect the frames of reference that they have. I sometimes cringe when I read what some folks post and there have been times when my fingers have hovered over my keyboard as I tussle over whether to respond or not. I generally take a step back and do not wade into hotly contested debates, such as they are on Twitter. Only when I may have been probed by someone who has managed to press my buttons do I reply with a carefully balanced and hopefully reasonable response. I definitely steer clear of personal criticism. It's the point of view I hope I challenge.

My Twitter name is "LifeAfloat" and through my feed I share as much of my life living on a yacht in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull as I feel comfortable with. I focus on my sea kayaking exploits, generalities about life aboard, island life, simple living and of course sharing the beauty of my surroundings through countless photographs. Sometimes I may talk of concerns I have about the environment and the disconnect humanity has with Nature. I will rarely write about political matters only choosing to do so when I'm outraged by decisions to go to war or glaring political incompetence. 

Recently I've come to notice that my tweeting demeanour has taken on an air of a "Grumpy Old Man". This is both rather funny and rather alarming. Funny because I am becoming the grump I often joke about and alarming because in being grumpy, I lose perspective of the realities. The latter is a Tweeting position I do not want to adopt - at all. I hate to think that I've become what I find distasteful in Twitter - opinionated ranting.

I guess I'm simply expressing a personal point of view which I'm perfectly entitled to do. Somehow though, I feel that in tweeting a rant like post, I'm inviting people to align with me and join in with the ranting and the sense of indignation. I do not offer a solution and neither do I follow these tweets up with a reasoned explanation. I put them out there and sit back, initially with a sense of self-satisfaction and then a growing despair when my unjustified grumpiness dawns on me.

Below are two recent examples of grumpy tweets which I blurted out. It's interesting to note that they both garnered a fair response in 'likes', 'replies' and 'retweets'. These levels of responses are more normally reserved for my tweets where I've shared lovely photos

I seem to have touched a nerve with many folks with these tweets and certainly, most of the responses I received echoed my points of view. There were just a few who disagreed with me and offered a different way of looking at these matters. I was both pleased by the attention these tweets received and shocked that I could be so outspoken. In the grand scheme of things, what I wrote was neither earth shattering or of any great importance, so there really isn't much use in me worrying about this. However, I do worry that emboldened by the attention these types of Tweets receive, I might find myself increasingly Tweeting erratic judgemental ramblings and have some of my loyal followers shaking their heads in bemusement and sadness.

I certainly would if it were me!