Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On Anger: the remix.

From this post an anonymous commenter said this.

This is part of the comment and Anon you probably mean well but I feel like you are either missing my point entirely or don't understand where I am coming from, this bothers me.

And another thing is, 50% of communication is your responsibility. If there are a lot of other people don't get the important part of the message, then maybe you're not telling it to them in the best way. You have to think about your target audience.

On the other hand, especially on your blog you deserve to be able to write whatever you want to. It should be fine for you to make it as angry as you want it to be, and random anons don't have any right to tell you otherwise. And that's where the target audience ties in again, because you can't write for everyone on your blog. You're always going to offend someone. But when you're talking to someone on the bus or in a group and you sound angry, then maybe anger isn't the best vessel for your message.

While yes we all know that stress is bad, in my real life anger serves a purpose.

In case you didn't catch it in the original post let me reiterate.

Often in my life in situations where I'm told by usually Nice White Ladies that you're just so angry, fuck yes I am angry.

It makes me angry when I feel like I am in danger because some White dude(s) catcalls or follows me and I tell them no and they call me a nigger bitch.

Maybe in your world when things like that happen, everyone is calm and polite. Maybe in your life a man who would do that, after you politely explain that it's inappropriate says, "aw shucks I'm sorry ma'am."

In my life that does not happen.

I'll direct you to this bit in particular:

If you assume that if I stay very calm and ask someone very nicely not to behave badly towards me, that the person who is acting badly towards me respects me enough to say, oh jeeze sorry about that.
It would be nice if that's how my world worked but it's not.
Most people are too invested in being right, too steeped in their own privilege and entitlement to acknowledge that they may have behaved inappropriately. Most people, if they are willing to get their racist on in my presence while looking me in the eye, or telling me that they hope I die- those people are not willing to respect me as a human being.
Someone explain to me in clear terms how that is okay?
In my actual life over the last let's say 20 years I've learned that in many situations, being nice only gives people the impression (regardless of what I may have said) that what they did was just a flubber, no big deal. And often in my life they have done it again.

I'm going to assume you're not a regular. I am fully aware of and own the fact that I am not for everyone.

I am not for people who don't like cursing.

I am not for people who can't digest beyond 101 level fat acceptance, anti-racism etc.

Furthermore, it is honestly a serious problem to tell someone they shouldn't or can't be angry. Anger is an emotion. I am a fully equipped human being with a very large range of emotions. A lot of things bring me intense joy, many things make me intensely angry. My anger is important to me because I understand it. I own it. I have learned as many (especially women in America) women have not, that I am not only entitled to my anger but, that sometimes it is beyond justified.

I find it reprehensible for anyone to tell me I can't or should not be angry, more so when it is serious.

If you return, or if someone else reading this can explain to me, explain this to me.

If in my little slice of the world where I walk around, something seriously awful happens to me. I'm not talking about getting pooped on by a bird or dropping my coffee, I'm talking about the nights when I am afraid I am going to get jumped by grown men because they don't like "them" (read: me), or because some man is following me in a car and I don't feel safe going to my bus stop, or the days when I delve into my various spaces on the internet and have to clear out messages telling me things like, "I hate you black bitch" (that one courtesy of youtube, on a fucking cat video) along with gems from the same person such as, "die nigger" "nigger bitch" etc, why should I not be angry about that?

Why should I shrug it off and say, oh well maybe if I send X person (I already got their account suspended) a nice message explaining why calling me a nigger bitch is wrong everything is okay?

Why is the onus always on people like me to be 50% of the communication when, more often than not the other 50% is not listening?

Why shouldn't I be angry when I experience real racism in the big bad world?

Why shouldn't I raise my voice in a world where people say that there are no POC fat bloggers, etc?

Why should I alter or cater to people?

Why should I change how I express my real thoughts and feelings to suit people who don't like anger?

No I'm not doing that.

As I have said time and time again, this is my litterbox. I pay for the web hosting. I broke up this ugly template when I was learning to code and made it my own. I spend hours and hours writing, I talk about shit that is really hard to discuss. I deal with people telling me they hate me because I'm fat, or not fat enough, or because I'm (YES) An Angry Black Woman.

Unlike a lot of blogs that deal with bodily issues, race etc. I am not coming from a neat and tidy classroom setting.

These things I talk about come from my real life. They come from the experiences I've had walking around this planet in my skin. I brought how I walk around in MeatSpace into the Intertubes.

I say fuck a lot, I do not put up with people violating my boundaries, I do not put up with people treating me in a way I feel is inappropriate. Sometimes I get angry and I let people know exactly how and why I am angry.

To put it in the actual world.

This is who I Shannon Barber actually am. If you don't like it fine. If I'm not to your taste, use that X in your browser and mosey on down the information super highway. There are millions of people writing millions of blogs, I'm sure there are some out there for you.

Here's the thing Anon. I get very annoyed when people tell me (after I say it constantly and really a cursory look at my blog would tell you) that I am not for everyone. I know that. I say it a lot, more so when I'm talking deep racial, bodily or other sensitive difficult issues.

I own my words. I own how I express myself.

Frankly if all you took away from that entire entry, is to tell me not to be angry; you missed the entire point.

The. Whole. Point.

For both my regulars and the drive bys. I present you with a link where I will tell the whole world again, maybe I am not the droids you are looking for. For lots of reasons. I will leave you all with this bit from that entry. If stress we agree is bad, how much stress should I put up with for the sake of not being or coming across angry or being nice?

I expended a huge amount of energy trying to hide my tears, trying to talk to people who would look at me like I had asked for a kidney and their first born when all I had in fact asked for, was for them to think a little bit or at least save their comments for when I wasn't around.
Guess where that got me?
You know what kind of things I asked for? In the nice, openly communicative way I learned in school? I wasn't specific in that entry but here we go.

Things like, please don't say nigger around me. Please don't talk about how my hair is like a brillo pad, please don't make rape jokes, please don't  call me a slut because I have on high heels, please don't touch my hair without asking, please don't out me to people I don't know, please don't "act ghetto" around me, please don't comment on my body, please don't , please don't PLEASE DON'T.

In those 50% of communication moments, I was kind. I was quiet. I was polite. I said I wasn't angry. I said I was hurt. Do you know how humiliating it was? I that okay?

Guess where it got me?

Vomiting, headaches, fear, being ostracized, bullied, losing "friends", depression to the point of being very suicidal. Among other things I don't feel like talking about right now.

But at least I wasn't angry right? I honestly wonder, I look back at Baby Shannon, crying about all of it alone without support or back up, what if I had let her be angry? Could Baby Shannon have been saved some heartache and consequences of trying to deal with these issues in a nice way?

I wish I had been angry. Maybe if I had learned earlier to be angry, I could have saved myself a lot of pain, broken relationships, confusion, thinking it was my own fault, swallowing the Whiteness Koolaid with no sugar, those nights of feeling suicidal and alone. I can't do that for Baby me, but I can do it for Baby someone else who might be in the same situation.

To you Other People. Get angry. Focus your angry. Learn to channel it. Don't let it ruin you. Don't let it kill you. Use it. Hone it. Aim it when you need to.

Homo Out.


Eleonora Usher-Rigby said...

I was taught to be a little lady from a very early age. Never express anger. What I learned is not to say "no." This led me to being in very dangerous situations in retrospect, with guys who were not very nice people coming into my home. This put not only me, but my children and pets in danger.
Sometimes you have to be, not to put too fine a point on it, a FUCKING BITCH to keep the evil away.

beatfreak said...

Anon is full of shit. I also learned what Eleonora learned and I learned the exact same lessons. One of the best things I have learned about my anger is that when it rises it means that someone has crossed my boundaries. And do you know what my number one boundary is? Being regarded as a fellow human being with feelings and rights.

As Rage Against the Machine said, "Anger is a gift."

Anon would rather you not regard yourself as a human being. Fuck them! They are more than welcome to swallow the poison pill of repressed emotions.

Tapati said...

Anon is naive at best. I'm sure we all start out thinking we can calmly explain to people from the oppressor group and then things will be great, right? It never seems to work. They are always defensive and discount everything you say.

If they were the type to get it, they most likely wouldn't be doing shit like using the n-word in the first place. As we get older it's easier to spot the type that will never get it and anger is a great tool to back them off and the only one that has any effect.

It's far worse for women to turn anger inward and hurt ourselves with stress, illness and potentially, suicide.

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