On Sunday afternoon, I put the toddler down for nap, nursed my 3-month-old, waved bye to my hubby (and my in-laws) and headed off to break things. Just a week before I had been complaining to my best friend about how stressed we both are. My in-laws were in town, I hadn't slept through the night in three years, and I, you know, have a toddler and an infant. So there was some rage! I mentioned that Nashville just got its own “rage room.” Called Bash-ville, its sole purpose is to let you freak out and destroy things in a moderately controlled environment. His response? “Ummm… We should do that.”
So I booked us a 30-minute breaking session for 2. We drove to an ~up-and-coming~ area of town where a little sign and a torn-apart stereo system out front told us we were in the right place.
Korn circa 1998 was blasting and the first thing I saw was a floor to ceiling peg board of weapons with “Pick Your Poison” spray-painted above them. Surprisingly, a woman stood behind the desk. It turns out that she and another mother own the business. She told us they never really argue because they can just go break glass when they get upset.
There are a dozens of these businesses around the globe and they are starting to pop up all over the U.S. Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and now Nashville all have rage businesses where you can smash and break things. Bash-ville even offers special divorce parties. It can be pricey — most of the rooms cost around $50 for half an hour but most offered mini-sessions of 15 minutes as well. The owner of Bash-ville told us she’s seen plenty of people walk in and break everything in a furious frenzy and not make it more than a couple minutes.
I knew instantly that I wanted the metal bat. It seemed just feminine enough — light and small but still destructive.
We got the safety spiel and signed all the forms. Throw glass towards the back wall only. Stand behind the red line when shattering bottles to avoid glass blowback. Don’t hit metal with the metal bat because it’ll hurt. If you get cut come out. Sounds exactly like how a toddler goes through their day!
She then directed us to grab a 5 gallon bucket of glass — bottles, plates, tea cups, etc.. and to pick out a large electronic for each of us. I went for a large tape deck/cd player and Will grabbed an old iPod docking station. Then we got to Pick Our Poison.
Will, who is a fairly burly man from England, was having trouble deciding between the crowbar and the sledge hammer. I knew instantly that I wanted the metal bat. It seemed just feminine enough — light and small but still destructive. I pushed for Will to take the crowbar to satisfy my mental image of a young English ruffian from the slums.
After donning full body suits, work gloves and face shields, we were led past a metal chain barrier and a thick fabric curtain meant to contain flying glass.
This is grad school! This is being poor! This is trying to find mom friends!
The small breaking room with lit in angry red and purple lights and lined with shattered objects. Half a dozen TV and computer monitors in various stages of broken dotted the room. A giant bullseye was painted on the back wall.
Unable to contain my giddy energy I went first — grabbing a wine bottle and hurling it across the room.
It bounced off the wall.
Will, being a true friend, said, “Good throw!” without laughing. I stomped up to the bottle, walked back down and put all 5’3” and 105 pounds of myself into the next throw.
The sound was glorious.
For the next 15 minutes we alternated shattering glass objects. After the first few we began to name them.
This is grad school!
This is being poor!
This is trying to find mom friends!
This one's 2017!
This one's pumping milk with a faulty flange!
At one point, Will stopped and said “This may be weird but do you feel cleaner?”
I couldn’t have put it better. Maybe it was the physical exertion of throwing or the loud '90s metal still blaring or the fantastic sparkling explosion sounds. But I really did feel bright, shiny and new.
Remember the scene in Office Space where the three angry workers take a fax machine to a field and just lose their minds on it? That’s what we did next. Maybe that image is why I chose a baseball bat to be honest. And breaking apart that CD player felt GOOD. Like really good.
Possibly the best moment was when Will upgraded to the sledgehammer to take out an old computer monitor. I’ve never heard that sound before. It was the most intense and satisfying crunchy POP. Bye-Bye Mr. Computer Monitor.
Taking a bat to a couple of TVs just felt right. It was the fulfillment of 30 years worth of wanting to be bad. Maybe that’s why I felt so clean.
Will and I agreed that not only was our raging adventure an absolute blast, it was worth it. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy. I am glad that I went with a friend. Personally I think going alone I could have gone to a dark angry place rather than experiencing a happy cathartic purging.
Moms have a deal of rage, but they are expected to hold it in, to hide it. Of course the rage isn't the problem — how you deal with it is. The next time I feel the stress building, I know a place I can have fun breaking down the stigma while happily swinging a bat.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.