Rage is not anger. Don’t confuse the two.
We can rant at a neighbor’s dog that won’t stop barking, we can snap at a significant other for not picking up their dirty underwear, we can even feel our blood pressure rise at the words of a politician or shout at another driver who cuts us off on the interstate. Anger comes in a flash and usually leaves the same way. Rage, however, is insidious and subtle.
Think of anger as a scrape on the knee. A little antiseptic, a cartoon band-aid and all better! Rage, on the other hand, is an unseen wound eating away at the stomach lining that can go unnoticed for weeks, months, years. We may not even realize we have a problem until we’ve already succumbed to it.
Rage is an important theme in my novel CURSE ME NOT. While I don’t want to give away too much, let’s just say a certain character is eaten up with rage—indeed cannibalized by it. First comes the loss of a capacity for rational thought. Then comes a malevolent tunnel vision focused on what is perceived as the source of all ill, all misfortune. Lastly comes a physiologically real, “rose-tinted” vision (hence "seeing red"), as well as a odd dulling of internal pain.
I’ve felt rage before and what I remember—and fear—most about it is that it felt good. I recall a strength, a righteousness, a superhero commitment to it. Yet, all the while, the rage was gnawing at my liver and other body parts. In the end, I was fortunate. I stopped the cannibal within before it could devour me.
Was the character in my novel as lucky? Not really. No matter what, we can’t help but lose tasty morsels of ourselves whenever we let rage feast.