By Devin Riggs, IATG ContributorJanuary 27, 2016
I’m about to pull my hair out I’m so mad. It’s an underlying anger, simmering just below the surface of my conscience, rumbling and tumbling around making my muscles tense and my head throb. It’s not the blow out, confrontational kind of anger. Not yet, but it’s still there. It’s still boiling. It definitely exists, contrary to what society has taught me about women and anger.
Women aren’t supposed to get angry. That’s what I’ve been told my whole life in subtle, wondrously manipulative ways:
“It’s not that big of a deal.”
“You’re acting crazy.”
I’ve spent a good portion of my life being treated like my feelings don’t matter, being treated like my emotions are a sign of weakness or a side effect of menstruation. (Just because it may be “that time of the month” doesn’t mean my feelings are invalid). They have been pushed aside for too long.
And that’s why it’s so hard to express my anger now.
It’s terrifying trying to explain to another human being that you’re mad at them, especially for something they don’t even realize they’ve done. Because past experience has proven that they will not accept my anger as justified or worthy of discussion.
My body is screaming at me to do something. My bones ache. My blood is raging in my veins. My heart is leading the battle cry. I have to say something. I cannot hold it in any longer. I cannot go on pretending that everything is okay, because everything isn’t okay.
I want to say this:
You hurt me. You disappointed me. You let me down, and I’m angry. So so angry at what you’ve done. Without even realizing it maybe. Because I do admit that maybe you don’t know what you’re doing. I don’t know the whole story. Because you won’t talk to me. You won’t tell me anything anymore. We’re strangers now, who happen to know all each other’s secrets and run with the same crowd.
This is not what our friendship was supposed to be like. This is not what we promised each other five months ago. This is not what I want. And all I can do now is assume you don’t care what I want, because why should you care? There is nothing I can give you anymore, and you have no obligation to give me anything in return. Our carefully constructed stroke of genius has fallen apart in my hands. And you seem to have no interest in helping me pick up the pieces.
You don’t seem to care about me at all. And that’s what hurts most of all.”
My anger is real. My pain and disappointment are valid. It is not a trick of the light, an overreaction, or an unfortunate time of the month. It cannot be overridden just because it happens to be uncomfortable for someone else. My anger is worth something. It is worth an acknowledgement. It is worth a conversation. Let’s stop telling each other that it’s not.
How do you express your anger? Why is it healthy to express your anger? Why are girls told they should curb this emotion?
Devin has a degree in education with a focus in English. Her passions include Doctor Who, penguins, hats and scarves, potatoes, dancing, photography, and making people happy. She believes in the healing powers of music, spending time in the great outdoors, and a good night sleep.
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