For 5 weeks I’ve been at a stand still. No way through, no way past it, just stuck. I could never really comprehend writer’s block until 5 weeks ago. That’s when the words stopped flowing and I started second guessing everything I was doing.
12 months ago I wrote something. Six weeks ago it was published in a book. Five weeks ago the feedback I got was, “you write angrily, are you mad at something? Why are you so angry?”
From that point on I haven’t been able to write a jot, until now. Until I came to terms with the fact that I am angry. I’m furious, raging even. My use of tactfully placed swear words doesn’t even cover up the rage that simmers just under the surface.
For five weeks, I’ve been guilt ridden and disappointed in myself for appearing angry and resentful. Loathing myself because people think I’m just an angry, EMOTIONAL, woman. Because, being angry is a bad thing. It’s a waste of energy. It’s a “negative emotion”. One that pleasant, young women shouldn’t be associated with. Right? If you are angry then you are bitter, twisted, and resentful. Right?
I’m not bitter. I’m not twisted. Any resentment I have is mostly directed at myself for past decisions I regret. But, I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m disappointed. And, reconciling this clear distinction between how I feel anger and how other people perceive my anger has finally allowed me to accept that I am angry as hell. And, it’s totally ok. It’s becoming a tool and an activator.
My anger isn’t directed at one specific person or group of people, it isn’t about one thing. There are a million tiny pieces of anger that shape the whole. But, the majority of my anger is directed at myself. I’m angry at myself for taking this long to get angry. I’m 35 and I’ve wandered through my whole life on auto-pilot, drifting between two emotions, 1) “I’m fine”, and 2) “heightened anxiety”. I’ve let myself be the door mat to so many other people’s emotional baggage. Letting myself be labelled as “over-sensitive” when I, now and again, stuck my head above the parapet to reclaim some personal dignity. In fact, getting angry has allowed me to start processing years of compounded anxiety and numbness. Joy is a product of that processing.
I’m angry that at the age of 35 I have friends and family who still cannot understand that everyone has the right to free agency. That espousing unwanted opinions, comments, belief systems and experiences doesn’t come from a well meaning place. It is a selfish and self involved act that only benefits the giver.
I’m angry that because I am a woman, society feels it has the right to question how I run my business, freely. I’m angry that because I am a woman my actions are more questionable than a man’s. I am angry that because I am a woman, my ideals, values and reasoning are more questionable than a man’s. I am angry and frustrated that because I am a woman, other women feel like they have a right to question my agency, but they would never dare do it to a man. I am angry that women are the ones who most often make me feel powerless in decision making. I am angry about the insincerity of modern feminism.
I’m angry because I’m outraged. I’m a privileged, white woman and I experienced discrimination, and was outraged. But, I’m angry that I was outraged. My discrimination is nothing to the suppression women of colour, non-binary, LGBTQ+, disabled, and the less able community experience. I’m angry that white, ablest patriarchy has undermined me and taught me to believe that I was entitled. I’m working on unlearning that.
I’m angry and exhausted by the hypocrisies and insecurities of my generation, and the naivety of older generations in the face of new technology. Whether it be in politics, society, online or offline. I’m exhausted by the thought-leaders and über entrepreneurs; the white noise that is labelled as progress and the under-belly of repression in our every day lives.
I’m angry that people don’t want me to be angry. I’m angry that I have to explain and justify my anger. I’m angry that just because I run a business that promotes community building, kid’s activities and making international parents feel at home in Sweden, I’m not allowed to be angry about all the things that stop me from building that community. I’m angry that people don’t want me to be angry on behalf of this community. I’m angry that this community has to pretend that everything is ‘ok’.
Don’t ask difficult questions… people don’t like it. Don’t promote confrontation… people don’t like it. Don’t be truthful about realities… people don’t like it.
My anger isn’t bitter, twisted or resentful. It’s frustrated, disappointed, and determined.
I am determined to not let other people’s doubts sew mine. I am determined to not allow other people’s insecurities to undermine my vision. I am determined to continue in the face of divisiveness and patriarchy in the guise of “well meaning advice”. I am determined to build our community and be open about the challenges it faces. Whether people like it, or not. And, if one more person tells me how to tell that story… (you’ll see really angry Jill).
So, yup, I write angry. I have tonnes to be angry about. I bet you do, too.
You’re feelings about my anger are just not my problem.