Comedian Lucy Porter asks - is anger healthy?
I’d always thought my parents had the perfect marriage; they never argued and snuggled up on the sofa most nights with a bar of Fry’s Turkish Delight to watch Coronation Street.
When dad died last year and mum came to live with us, I wanted her to be happy so for her first night at ours I got the Turkish Delight ready and tuned in to ITV at 7.30. But mum batted away the chocolate, turned the TV off and said “I hate sweet things, and Coronation Street is so boring.” It turned out she’d spent the last 50 years of her life doing what my dad wanted in order to avoid upset. Left to her own devices, she’d rather drink white wine and watch grisly crime documentaries.
Suddenly, I realised that I too have always gone along with what other people want in order to avoid ‘making a scene’. I never rise to provocation, and don’t get into arguments, no matter how mean people are to me. Online interactions allow some people to express their aggression, but when I clashed with fans of Formula 1 racing, Leo Sayer and the death penalty on social media, I didn’t stand and fight.
Although I’m inherently peaceful by nature, I’ve realised recently that sometimes you have to argue for what you believe in. David Cameron was too scared to address the conflict within his own party, so he called a referendum that sent an entire continent into chaos. If I’d only challenged my husband on his method of loading the dishwasher at the start of our relationship, it wouldn’t have turned in to such a bitter source of anger now.
So I am trying to be more open to conflict and work out what I really want to fight for. It turns out that, like my mum, I mostly want to drink white wine and watch TV shows about murder. If only David Cameron had chosen the same path, we might not be in our current mess.
Lucy brings her conflict to the Fringe in her new show Choose Your Battles at the Pleasance Courtyard from 02 to 27 August. edfringe.com