Women’s anger is real, it’s uncomfortable, and it made a visit to my house recently.
In the past two weeks, I experienced a tremendous degree of anger. Spit-nails and break-boards-with-my-bare-hands level anger. My anger gives me a window into a world where people act it out and hurt others, sometimes fatally. It scares me that I can understand that impulse.
To keep from harming with my anger means somehow I have to contain it, hold it in, hold it back. But when I stop myself from expressing it, it doesn’t disappear, it’s just sublimated. I place a thin veneer of ‘niceness’ over the depth of my anger and my inauthentic smile fools no one.
Women face a paradox when it comes to expressing anger. We can’t act it out; when we do, we’re not taken seriously, not believed, told to smile or calm down! It seems, unlike men’s anger which often gets results, women’s anger is not welcome in the world.
But if we don’t express it, we have to choke it down and the cost of swallowing our anger is high.
Is it possible there’s a different choice?
What Comes After Women’s Anger?
When I started this blog around the time of #metoo, I wanted to write about what comes after women’s anger. I wanted to support women in claiming or reclaiming presence, power, voice, radiance.
It was my vision to answer the question what’s next.
How could women navigate the very thin line between anger and excitement or enthusiasm or passion? How could any woman use her anger for positive change, for creating a fire in the belly, for realizing gifts and using those gifts for something purposeful?
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. Maya Angelou
But during this past couple of weeks when several things piled up on top of each other, and I realized I was in a total rage, I didn’t care about what was next or how my anger could inspire me to positive action. I was ready to blast anyone who came within fifty paces.
What about my rage NOW?
Can We Talk It Out?
A good friend offered to listen because she could see clearly there was something amiss. And in the past, that invitation would have been all I needed to start talking about it.
This time, I felt very reluctant to talk about it with anyone.
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How would I explain the depth of my anger when most of the source of it was larger than life issues like injustice, lack of simple kindness and compassion, blatant misogyny, and the expectation of privilege by old white dudes and yes, some white women?
Without completely understanding why I felt reluctant to choose the normal path, I decided I was going to sit with my anger. I was going to move my body to the beat of my anger; I was going to sound and sing my anger.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with talking to a friend and I’ve done that many times. This time I saw it differently.
What Happens in Conversations About Women’s Anger?
Just being with my anger, I saw there were two ways a conversation could have gone if I’d chosen that option.
One, I could have received advice about what to do about it. That can be annoying. (And I’ve done that. Let me try to remember next time not to!)
And two, I would have wanted my friend to agree I had valid reasons to be angry, that some people are awful and stupid, and didn’t the world suck. (I’ve done that too!)
But by moving, sounding, singing, I didn’t focus on an explanation of my anger. Instead I was inside the experience of my anger.
And I saw this:
I can’t implement any positive change in the world if my frequency is the same as the source of my anger.
Ah, I got it.
Women’s Anger and Women’s Voices
I was fortunate to get proof that sitting with my anger, voicing it, moving to the beat of it, was the right way to go.
After I resolved it within myself, I was preparing to email and connect with a friend to resolve a conflict, but before I could, she emailed me wanting to talk.
My internal barrier to a conversation had been released.
While we were talking, we didn’t hold back. Some of the issues were hard to say and hear, and yet our conversation transcended anger and spun gold from conflict.
Not all the causes of my anger have been dealt with yet, not will they all be as easy as talking to my friend. It was possible to talk to my friend: it’s not possible to single-handedly solve such huge problems as injustice, misogyny, lack of simple kindness and compassion.
But I’m am peaceful. I stopped myself from bitching and complaining.
I felt anger, and I moved, and sounded, and sang.
There is a high frequency power and radiance within women’s anger.
Let’s rise to that!