Wednesday, June 6, 2007

easy to swallow

Just a warning: This is not going to be easy to swallow. It's going to be exceedingly difficult to deal with, to come to terms with, because I've made the decision to be difficult. Not difficult in my usual ways of being antisocial, critical, or cynical, although I'm sure cynicism will always remain a somewhat useful part of me. It's challenging because I'm starting to refuse to be palatable anymore. Because I'm going to try not to internalize my anger anymore. I'm not going to "shut up", or "get over it", or any of the myriad of other things women like me are expected to do in this society. That means not just acknowledging my frustrations, but focusing them in a productive way instead of beating myself up over them.

I would love to say I've come to this decision on my own but there are many factors which are influencing me at the moment. A couple of noteworthy blog entries I've been checking out are The Rotund's entry on anger (specifically the anger of women), and an inspired post from Mandolin over at Alas, A Blog which focuses on ways to silence women. Both are excellent blogs in general, and these posts are definitely worth checking out (including the comments) when you have the time to fully digest them. And it's going to take awhile to digest them. I still am, and I'm still defining what it means to be strong, and capable, and angry-I said the "A-word"- in a way that doesn't damage either myself or other people-both men and women...especially other women. There is alot of potential for damage, about as much as there is for positive growth.

Growth is something very subjective. From the outside point of view, I've probably seen as not advanced very far, I'm not successful in the ways that count in the world, but I know myself pretty well. I've grown alot since I was younger. Admittedly, not all in good ways. I've gone through ups and downs with my anger that have shaped the way I see the world. When I was little, up until the last years of junior high, I was very eager to please. In fact, that was my specialty, you could say, Pleasing People. I felt it was something I was good at, making people feel at ease, being the teacher's pet, etc. But I guess you could also say I've always known something was wrong with that. (Not that it's not okay to be kind and to make others feel good, but "kind" and "nice" are completely different animals. Nice can exist without feeling, but kind cannot. Maybe more on that later..)

Well, towards the end of junior high, and the beginning of high school that feeling of something being amiss nagged me more and more, and I started to get angry. I was angry at my peers, at my parents (divorced and not living together), at my teachers, at society in general..But mostly at myself. I was angry because I felt forced to be a certain person, a reasonable, responsible, safe person. I felt obliged to shut my mouth and bear up under everything that was rocking my small, unsteady little world because I felt I had no right to speak because I was merely taking up space. Alot of space. Unfortunately I focused all my anger in a negative way, and failed myself both figuratively and literally. I think it would have helped to read the words at the links above, and realize that I:

A. Have a reason to be angry, and

B. Should be able to admit and express that anger without feeling guilty about it.

Sure, everything cannot be solved by the release of anger, but feeling safe enough to be angry, feeling that your anger is valid, can go a long way in growing up, growing "out", and "widening the scope of your lens", which is to say, allowing yourself to see and apprieciate more of the world.

Now that I feel more comfortable in expressing myself, I realize how hard it is to find people in the world who aren't afraid, or judgemental about female anger. People who aren't immediately dismissive. But part of maturing is also understanding that we can only change ourselves and not those around us. It's not fair to expect people to act certain ways based on my own experiences, or what I think I would/should do in a given situation. Plus, there are going to be people who see me as loud, angry and agressive no matter what I do, and ceasing to speak or write is not going to change their minds. But, even if it did, why would I want to appease them that way?

Anyway, I'm going to be doing more research on communication, anger, and some not-so-easy-to-swallow topics, so my posts may follow a pattern. I'll keep you updated.


Celine said...

I am speechless. this is unbelievable well written, this is a subject that is close to my heart, the links you provided us with are extremely interesting, so I shall be back when I have more time to ponder over it all a bit more. I am way impressed. I already knew you are amazing, but wow. *speechless*

danucal said...

We must be birds of a feather, Celine! Yeah, I haven't been writing as much because I've been just reading and trying to get it all to make sense in my head. I'm so glad you liked the links; especially when I read the post at Alas, A Blog did that little light bulb go on above my head. It was as if they were saying things I've always known, and believed, but have never been able to put into words. I really hope you'll be able to poke around there more when you have the time, it's amazing stuff-I was in awe..Thank you so much for the support, and compliments.