The Sound of Silencing
"There's this weird idea that whoever is calmest in an argument is clearly correct. As though no one has ever angrily screamed a fact, or calmly lied." -- Mishell Baker
On Wednesday, some pretty egregious news cropped up on my social media feeds. Everything from a Supreme Court Justice retiring (thus allowing for the least qualified man who has ever acted as president to select a second judge for the most powerful court in the US.) to reports of what's really going on in those immigration 'detention centers' aka prison camps. We also understand that the most unqualified, corrupt president the US has ever had is being given the opportunity to choose another supreme court judge. It's been a tough week to be an American. The United States is in a precarious position.
But hey, her fucking emails.
Yes. I'm angry. So is just about everyone with any common decency.
Anyway...on Wednesday night my husband reminded me that I can be angry one moment and then (once things are resolved) suddenly I'm just not anymore. He says it gives him (and others) whiplash sometimes. I've been thinking about this because most of the men I know are slow to anger and slow to recover from it. It occurred to me this morning that switching off my anger is not something that is natural to me. It isn't "just how I am." It's what I've been trained to be. I used to never get visibly angry. I internalized everything. Five years of therapy gave me permission to have my anger. However, it's only given me the right to have it the length of time it is useful. The instant this is no longer the case, I shut it off and process the rest internally. The men I know don't do this. They stay visibly angry until they've processed. There's a reason for this. They are allowed anger and have been their whole lives.
Here's the deal y'all: marginalized groups are not allowed anger. Anger is power. Anger is almost impossible to ignore. Anger is a catalyst for change. Therefore, only those in power are allowed outrage. There are two typical responses to a member of a marginalized group's rage: 1) mockery (awww. snowflake's feelings are hurt.) and 2) the overwhelming reaction to a dangerous threat that must be policed at all costs. There is no in between. This is why the call for civility is problematic. If those in power are not also called to be civil--if they are not including themselves in this behavior requirement, then the mandate is not about "going high". It's fucking silencing. Courtesy and respect is not a one way street. If you expect respect, you give respect. Americans are supposedly all about equality--at least they were the last time I checked the constitution.
 And if you don't understand why that's a problem let me direct you to the fact that not only is the Voting Rights Act in dire straits, but so are LGBT+ Rights as well as Roe v Wade.
 I'm pissed off with every white (mainly male) person who told me there was nothing to worry about in 2016, but not as angry as I am with those who couldn't be bothered to vote and/or voted third party.
 I generally do the remainder of the work at home and/or with my husband. He described my process as an earthquake. "The first blast is all over with, but you know there are going to be aftershocks." He knows me really well. The best part? He then asked me if I felt this process was helpful for me. And I feel it is. The deal is, anger can hurt just as much as it can create change, and I'm not interested in hurting other people. Get the thing that is wrong fixed? Oh, hells yes. Create more problems? No.
7/2/2018 06:25:21 pm
You have just described my experience with anger. I'd wondered why it went away so quickly, now that I've given myself permission to feel it. I DO process it internally afterwards, and it's not an efficient use of my time.
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is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.