Image: cover art for Rico Nasty’s newest album “Anger Management”. She inspires me to be confident with my anger and reminds me that my feelings are valid.
Kids are taught to be nice. Kids are taught to forgive. Kids are taught to be polite. Kids are taught to listen to adults no matter what.
Women must be nice, even if we are being treated poorly. Women must forgive and forget because anger is ugly, anger is bitchy, anger makes you crazy. Women must be polite to avoid possible violent encounters. Women must not show their emotions, yet not be stone-cold because if we cry we are labelled as overly-emotional, if we raise our voices or have an angry tone we are pmsing or irrational and are silenced, and if we are stone-faced we have a resting bitch face.
Growing up, I was the “pleasure-to-have-in-class” kid. I rarely, if ever, questioned those older than me. I stayed quiet. I overly apologized for everything, even if I did nothing wrong. I sugar-coated everything I said to avoid sounding mean. Now, at 22 years old, I’m realizing that I’m done. I’m done being quiet. I will not be silenced by the gendered pressure to be polite. I’m angry and I’m yelling.
I won’t put on a facade and pretend that expressing my anger is easy though, it’s scary and it’s new. I have to constantly check my language and actions because I am programmed by society to not be angry, to repress those feelings. My automatic response is usually, “sorry” and,I sugar-coat my emotions to avoid conflict or give the receiving party an easier time. But I’m beginning to recognize these negative responses and I’m working everyday to undo the program in my mind, because I hope that if I do so, it will provide other people the opportunity to do the same.
Now, when I say “sorry” for no reason, I say, “wait, no. I’m not sorry” and I continue what I was saying. It may seem rude, but I shouldn’t have to apologize, so I won’t. When I find myself sugar-coating my feelings, especially in text, I erase the sugar and leave the cake bare. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s necessary.
I am allowed to be angry. You are allowed to feel anger. We need to be vulnerable and show these emotions so that others can do so freely, so that women anger is no longer met with disregard.
So, I encourage you to show your emotions freely, whether it be to just yourself, to a single friend, to a group of people, to a group of strangers, to the internet. Be loud. Be you. Be angry. Be sad. Be happy. Don’t apologize if you shouldn’t. Be confident in your emotions. It’s scary, but I’m here for you and I’m trying everyday alongside you.
Disclaimer: I’m not condoning violence or being angry over everything. Evaluate your anger and don’t have anger be your first option. What I’m saying is that when anger is appropriate, feel it and show it freely.