My life – not unlike yours, I’m sure – is mentally exhausting.
Not only do I work in a high-stress industry, I have a propensity for bottling up emotions, a daughter with full-on “three-nager” attitude, a dog who follows me around like a shadow (to the point I often trip over her) and a husband who maintains values that clash with mine and who is incapable of reading when I have had enough of whatever tangent he is on.
I don't know if it's a symptom of the economy, raising a strong-willed three-year-old or working in a role where strangers are hypercritical of everything I do, but my anger has reached a boiling point.
I knew I was frustrated, but I didn’t truly realize what I was feeling was, in fact, anger until I visited the Rage Room at Thundrdome Amusements in Calgary over the Family Day long weekend.
For those unaware of what a rage room is, imagine a small, sound-proofed room with loud music from a genre of your choice pumping through the speakers and messages of former occupants scribbled on the walls – everything from curse words directed at the source of their anger to, my favourite, “I imagined my kids' toys as I did this.” In the centre of this room stands a small table with a rubber top. By the door are various weapons – in my case a sledgehammer, metal pipes and a crowbar.
This potentially-claustrophobic space exists for you to unleash your inner rage on the plates, vases, glasses and electronics provided.
When I stepped up to destroy my first dinner plate, I must admit I was hesitant – the process seemed wasteful and violent, and twangs of guilt kicked in. Still, I raised the crowbar and – looking back on the video of my visit – rather delicately crashed it down on the saucer below.
With that blow, my guilt disappeared and was replaced with an eagerness to unbridle myself of the discontent I came in with.
I found myself screaming out in a primal growl each time the crowbar connected with my inanimate victim, craving more with every swing – the exploding glass, the distinctive crunch as plates split apart and the physical effort only fuelling my rampage.
I was on the verge of tears at points as I finally was granted release, wielding the satisfyingly hefty crowbar and smashing and swearing my way through various items. I was not only made aware of my fury, but was given permission to expel it in an uncharacteristically aggressive fashion.
When the last plate was shattered, euphoria settled in. And as I exited the Rage Room, my adrenaline pumping and hands shaking, I knew I'd be back.