I’m sitting in his consulting room with my right eye gummed to his oculist scope as he peers into my iris.
The reason I’m here is because it’s a new year. I am done with last year’s tears, fears, self-sacrifices and self-worth woes. This year my soul will soar.
Where better to set my soul soaring than at the iridologist: who has the ability to see through its windows. Green windows in my case – or ‘Yellow Blue’- as Dr Bolotovsky notes on his notepad. Yellow Blue! It sounds like an insect. I’m about to object when I remember the principles of primary colour combination.
“Do I get angry?” I delay my response, playing for time. I’m paying for the time so I’m not sure why I’m playing for it. It’s one of life’s mysteries; one I’ll hold over for next year.
“Yes, I get angry,” I finally reply.
I’m about to qualify this admission with “Not that often, just sometimes, when, for example …” But I don’t. I don’t because qualifications belong to the apologetic, now-ex-good-woman me.
I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy being bad or that being bad is so good for my soul. I thought my soul aspired to consideration and quiet communication but it’s thriving on selfishness and some good, angry screams.
At first I was a shocked at the sound of my screams; screaming was not listed in my former good woman codes. Good women are not supposed to scream, other than in childbirth, and not even then if they’re scientologists. Scientologists (or so I’ve heard) believe women should not scream during childbirth because it frightens the baby.
“Do not scream, dear,” I picture scientology’s founding father, L. Ron Hubbard, instructing his wife as she bites on a rag. “You are about to become Mother Hubbard and you must set the example of serene childbirth to all.”
“What do you do when you get angry?” the iridologist persists. His oculist light is now blinding my Yellow Blue right eye and I’m wondering when we’re going to move onto something else – like my Yellow Blue left eye.
“When I get angry I scream at my true love and throw books around.”
“Great,” he responds.
“Great” is not how my true love responds. I’m warming to Dr Bolotovsky.
“Do you ever get so angry with your man that you feel you could murder him?” he now asks.
“Murder him?” I echo, wondering if I’m warming to Dr Bolotovsky after all – and a little nervous he’s picked up some psychopathic glint in my Yellow Blue right eye.
“Think about it,” he instructs.
So I think about it. I think myself into a violently furious state in which I imagine my boyfriend having his full say about some dispute, then walking away before I’ve had mine. “I don’t want to listen to you right now,” he states. Little riles me more than dismissal and I imagine myself grabbing a knife or gun from the drawer. So far so good. Now I imagine myself thrusting the knife home or pulling the trigger. I can’t. I try again. I can’t.
“No, I can’t murder him,” I declare.
“Great!” Dr Bolotovsky exclaims.
This time he explains it’s great that I am able to express anger – “healthy, non-murderous anger” is what he calls it. I have to agree. Unhealthy, murderous anger is not for me; I am not keen on prison and it is bad for my liver. But the odd outburst of rage … this sits comfortably on my soaring, bad woman soul.
For too long, women who express anger have been dismissed as lower class or lacking in femininity. It was not always so. In Renaissance England, women were characterised as the angry sex while men claimed the high ground of reason.
Then men realised the power of anger and claimed it for themselves, forcing women in the Victorian age to repress their rage. Very little has changed since then, not just for Englishwomen, for women around the world. Which is why it’s time to reclaim our anger and why it’s liberating to turn bad.
“At year end I’ll report back on all anger outbursts and other bad behaviour displays,” I advise Dr Bolotovsky.
“Great!” he repeats. “Now let’s look at your left eye.”