You wouldn’t like Casey Wilson when she’s angry. Well, now you might, but once upon a time, this Happy Endings actress was, by her own admission, a “handful.” In a piece for Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s Lenny Letter, the actress explores her past and present issues with anger.
“Men have anger,” Wilson’s father explained to her after outbursts of road rage or lost keys. It covered all matter of sins, until Wilson realized, “SO. DO. WOMEN.” Wilson was a “spirited” child and expressive flare-ups were the norm in her household. She described a childhood where she was encouraged to express herself.
All grown up, Wilson, 35, sees her progression from yelling at a neighbor for messing up her backyard sequel to Cats to a string of shattered cellphones (R.I.P. Mountain Dew pager) and lost relationships. In her essay, Wilson examines how angry women are perceived and admits, “I’ve realized that anger doesn’t seem to be as palatable on a woman as it is on a man. And I’m angry about that. I’m angry at women who can’t access their anger, or who cover it by masquerading as little sweeties, or those who display it and are off-putting. Which are all versions of my life trying to wrangle and negotiate.”
It was through looking at angry women that Wilson made a discovery about herself. “Even as I acknowledged that there’s a degree of sexism… as I got older, I started realizing my outbursts were causing real problems,” she writes. “Surprisingly, the things that ended up helping me the most are arguably the things I have the most reason to be angry about. I was not asked back to Saturday Night Live. My long-term relationship ended poorly. My mom passed away. And yet when I received my things in a brown box from SNL and saw that bottles of alcohol had been thrown in with photos of my mom and everything had exploded all over, I didn’t feel angry. I felt sad.”
Now married and a mother, Wilson embraces the moment “between feeling and action” and claims she’s “less angry.” “I found joy in my work,” she says, but adds, “I’m still an angry bird, to be sure.”
Hopefully, this will allow her phone to see another day.
Read the full essay by subscribing to Lenny Letter here.