The Anger Behind my Blood-Red Sand Goggles

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Sculpture with "War" engraved at its base.
Photo: Tom Beardshaw/Flickr/cc-by-nc-sa-2.0

While we dated, I knew that she genuinely cared for me, loved me. After nearly a year and a half, a difficult self-assessment revealed that I had not changed for the better. I broke it off, in fear of turning into an uglier monster, capable of more than verbal abuse. I did not want to see how far I could go.

Years later, time’s healing properties coupled with strong desire to change have allowed me to let that part go. That part of me that would fan flames and remain hateful for days over nothing. I can reason things through now. Remembering those ugly, angry episodes, I’m ashamed of the abuse that she endured.

“How come I never sought counseling?” I ask myself.

Given the chance, I would explain my behavior to her along these lines:

“The guy who did that to you wasn’t really me. It’s not in my nature to do things like that. It was a version of me that observed his world through blood-red sand goggles, a freak who woke up angry at the world.”

The author deployed to Iraq with U.S. Marines from March to July 2003. He now lives in Northern California.

(Published November 18, 2009, on New America Media)