Women’s rage is all the rage these days. Everywhere I look there are articles about the fiery wrath of women as we go into the upcoming midterm elections. Female politicians are being called out for their tenacity and strength and they are holding their ground in the face of name calling and disrespect. For goodness sake, when are old, white men going to learn that it is not in their best interests to go after Elizabeth Warren?!?
The truth is that women of color have been furious for a long, long time and they have been channeling their fury into social change at a rate that is massively disproportionate to white women. Most of us woke from our self induced fantasy of progress on November 9th, 2016 and we have a shit ton of work to do to catch up.
This is the first time in my life that I have seen my anger as justified and rational. Growing up, I received messages that my anger is ugly, unattractive, futile, overly emotional, bad for my health, unnecessary, counterproductive, and scary. For my entire life I’ve been conditioned to carefully control my anger, to scale it back or push it down to make the people around me feel more comfortable.
Since 2016 that anger has been steadily growing. Not surprisingly, it hit a crescendo with the Kavanaugh hearings. I’m angry on behalf of Dr. Ford and the other women accusing Brett Kavanaugh of abuse. I’m angry on behalf of all sexual assault survivors. I’m angry on behalf of women who spend their lives afraid of being sexually assaulted (which is all of them). I’m angry at the farcical FBI investigation. I’m angry that white, male anger won yet again. And I’m angry that because of it, women will continue to suffer. Totally rational, totally justifiable anger.
What is interesting for me personally, is that I no longer have the compunction to control my anger, particularly around politics and social justice. That feels weird. Not bad. Just weird. I’m expressing my anger in ways that I never would have before and as a result, I’m having the opportunity to observe the effect of my anger on the people around me.
Spoiler alert, they don’t like it.
That’s where the weird part comes in. For the first time, I’m not backing down like I normally would. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still hard. Anger often manifests itself in tears for me. I used to apologize for this, but I’m no longer sorry. I’m a Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP. I only learned such a thing existed in my 40s. What an incredible gift that has been, but that’s for another blog post.
I’m standing my ground, making arguments when I’m able to muster the strength and generally being a lot bitchier than I’ve ever been before. It’s not as horrible as I thought it would be. I hope I’m modeling a more healthy dialogue around anger for my daughters. My anger will most certainly have consequences for my relationships and that’s ok too. I’m kind of excited for this brave new world.
What about you? Are you angrier than you used to be? How is your anger manifesting in your life?