For my birthday this year (end of September), my husband gave me a cabinet full of tea from a name-brand loose-leaf tea place in the mall. Always delicious, but very expensive, so naturally his gift surprised and elated me. I finished my first freshly-brewed cup at home cuddled underneath blankets and looked into the tea dispenser at the remains.
“Hm, that doesn’t look like a Kiwi. That looks like an apple,” I thought about the supposedly kiwi-flavored tea. I ate it, and yup, definitely an apple that tasted like it had been soaked in perfume and chemicals. I drink tea for solace and relaxation, but also for health benefits, so I immediately became skeptical. I researched the health benefits of this brand of tea I was drinking and was absolutely shocked at my findings. This article, this article, this article, and this one too confirmed my fears that not only was I not drinking Kiwi, but I was drinking artificial flavorings, chemicals, and pesticides at alarming rates.
Immediately, I felt a strange rage come over me. Why strange? Because for most of my life, rage wasn’t something that was commonly thought to be a holy feeling. Why rage? Because I felt tricked, duped, and taken advantage of. This company that advertises “high quality teas” was using such language not only to take more of my money than we would otherwise like, but also to trick me into thinking what I was drinking was healthy! Long story short, over the course of the next couple weeks, I got all of our money back and used it to buy my own fair-trade and organic ingredients to make my own tea blends at home, eventually turning that idea into a business.
Let’s go back to that rage I felt for a minute. Do you remember this post about my past abusive relationship and thought about abusive religion? Every time I leave a circle of being used or taken advantage of, my radar for sensitivity to such manipulation increases along with my anger at it. My family, my church leadership, my relationships, — as I sought healing from each of these “rings of abuse,” my ability to recognize being used strengthens along with my anger at it. So now that I have stepped outside the ring of abuse of religion, I feel like my vision has clarified to a peak. Now, if I feel manipulated by anything from a multi-level-marketting scam from a friend to pleas from a supposed charity to give of myself, I feel rage. From language from family and in-laws to make me feel guilty for their immaturity to a tea business in the mall, I feel rage.
Rage used to be a feeling I should seek to avoid, or at least seek to forgive whoever it was directed at in order to get rid of it as soon as possible. Now? I find it empowering. Incredibly freeing. And revelatory of my growth towards being self-protecting and self-caring instead of self-denying and self-sacrificing.