Seeing Red

I was a nerd in college. Not the wear glasses and trip over shoelaces kind. The kind that took classes during the day, worked retail at night and studied when I returned home, all in effort to secure legit internships and maintain a 3.9 GPA. Because of my strict schedule, I was only involved in two organizations both of which were academic based and earned me absolutely no popularity points.

I participated in campus activities and partied with friends but I never considered myself part of the “in crowd” (those exists at HBCUS). You can imagine my peers’ surprise when I decided to compete in one of the most prestigious pageants on campus, Miss Prairie View A&M University. The winner of the pageant would not only serve as a student ambassador while promoting her platform, but would also walk away with a scholarship that covered tuition, room, board and fees. I was elated to be selected as a candidate and that excitement grew with each new friend, rehearsal and experience leading up to the big day.

As part of the pageant process, there was a student led session where our peers came to evaluate participants in preparation for the actual show. I was legitimately excited about the critiques because I saw it as an opportunity to recognize and further improve my weaknesses before the real deal. Unfortunately, after the formal critiques were done some of the students found it necessary to throw in some additional commentary. Only a few feet away I heard whispers (not really) asking “Who is she? Doesn’t she know she doesn’t have a chance? Such-and- Such is clearly going to win.”

I don’t know if it was the physical pain from holding back tears or just pure anger, but I was literally seeing red. My pride was hurt. I had worked my butt off to prepare for the pageant and my work was being overlooked due to my lack of popularity. That anger fueled me.

The final weeks leading up to the pageant were brutal. When I wasn’t working you could find me practicing interview questions, strutting in heels across my dorm room,  or rehearsing my introduction along car rides. I was all in. And it paid off. I not only walked away with the title but also a feeling of satisfaction knowing that I had beat the odds and made a liar of the doubters.

Sometimes anger provides just the push we need to kick-start our journey towards a worthwhile pursuit. These fiery desires can get us started while we rely on passion to carry us the rest of the way. After some soul searching, I was able to pinpoint some ways anger can be beneficial in fueling our passions.

Tunnel Vision

We rarely put our everything into anything. Most of us are struggling to balance the components of our daily lives and that hardly leaves room to pursue the things we are most passionate about. Anger filters your thoughts, energy, time and efforts so that they’re all fixated on the thing that is making you uncomfortable. This tunnel vision clears the clutter and allows you to direct all of your efforts towards resolving your problem.

 Your Ego is In Control

A bruised ego provokes your “They must not know who I am?” attitude. Your ego is the  piece of you that longs to feel special, approved and validated. When one of these three conditions are challenged modesty takes the backseat to pride. You operate in confidence of all of your best attributes and move with an active assertiveness, understanding that what they think isn’t aligned with what you know.

Fear Be Gone  

There is no room for fear when anger is involved. It’s the reason the fed up nerd eventually punches the bully. We become more afraid of what the outcome will be if we don’t try as opposed to what the outcome will be if we try and fail. The ability to push beyond our fears is not always present in the comfort of contentment, which is an upper-hand that anger provides.

 

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