Twitter Made Me Angry, and I'm Not Sad About it
Illustration courtesy of Alan Berning/Flicker
I’m angry y’all.
Anger is an emotion I have long denied. I have gotten the message all my life it’s not OK to get angry. “Anger is a wasted emotion,” I was told. “Nothing was ever solved by anger.”
So I repressed it, but it was always there, visible to those closest to me.
But this morning as I got on my bike for a morning ride, I was overcome with emotion, and for once, rather than try to explain it away as fear, resentment or sadness, I acknowledged it was anger.
I cried through my 10-mile bike ride, angry at all of the things I’ve been so long afraid to be angry at.
My anger is personal. I’m mad because I wasn’t raised with the tools that allowed me to understand my emotions. I’m angry at myself for thinking it was OK to try to make myself small and fit into a life that was uncomfortable. I’m angry for always settling rather than pushing myself to my limits.
And I’m angry that just by saying I’m angry, it could thwart my career and my personal life.
My anger is local. It was fueled this week by the Twitter feeds of local policy wonks, activists and journalists like John Stanton, Sara Sneath and Jane Patton, who are smart, acerbic and tell it like it is
I’m angry that New Orleans and Louisiana was ravaged by another hurricane, and lives were lost, not because of Ida’s strength, but because of the failure of a man-made system. This time, it wasn’t the levees and flood walls as in Katrina—but our electric grid.
I’m angry it took 21 days for the city to pick up garbage, but I’m even angrier at a system that fails to pay people a living wage for doing the worst work.
I’m angry that our mayor failed to manage the disaster as well as she could, but I’m also angry she was criticized that she got angry and stood up to a man who was speaking disrepectfully about her while she was at the same restaurant.
My anger is universal.
I am outraged about the Texas ban that outlaws abortions after six weeks – I am sure I didn’t even know I was pregnant at six weeks. Cruel and unusual punishment for thousands of women.
Men, yet again, trying to control women’s sexuality, as they have done for centuries. It reminds me of this passage from anthropologist and psychologist Barbara Smuts in Sex and Friendship in Baboons: “If female sexuality is muted compared to that of men, then why must men the world over go to extreme lengths to control and contain it?”
I’m pissed as hell our planet is warming and we can do something about climate change, yet few of our politicians has the balls to demand that change. The Biden administration recently said the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change— which states that carbon emissions must stop immediately if we are to avoid reaching a deadly increase in temperature— “does not does not present sufficient cause,” to halt offshore oil and gas drilling.
Do we have to all be dying for there to be a sufficient cause?
I’m angry at the people who refuse to get vaccinated from COVID-19 because they believe the misinformation about the vaccine’s side effects and purpose. But even more than this? I’m so angry at the system that led us to oppose one another on something that should be so basic as public health.
By repressing my anger, I allowed it to surreptitiously rule my life.
I’m bringing that anger out into full view and bringing it into my life alongside other emotions like love and joy. Because, while some may believe that anger never solved anything – you know what solves even less?