Putting out fires with gasoline

The desire to write ebbs and flows in me. There are two things that motivate me; love of truth and righteous fucking anger.

I’ve been writing a lot lately.

As a girl, I was taught my anger was unjustified, unbecoming and unwelcome. I wasn’t allowed to be angry, to arm myself with fury, to cloak myself in fire. Anger was a weapon and I needed to learn to defuse it in others, men especially, lest they burn me with it. I got pretty good at it. I can mediate, smooth over ruffled egos, placate and make myself invisible.
I might as well have been drinking acid to dispose of it.
If I fought back against abuse the problem was me. I was fuelling the fire, I was making the problem worse, I didn’t know my place. My anger was a raging bushfire and the only thing it could consume was myself. Denying it didn’t make it go away. It bubbled out of me in health problems, spite, and self-harm.
I’m learning not to deny my truth. If something scares me, I find my centre. If I am tortured I go to a safe place inside. If I need validation I seek out my peers. If I am lonely I turn to friends. I act. I can’t do nothing when I’m angry. I can’t just let it go.

But I can’t throw myself into political activism, badger politicians and get beaten by police either. I don’t have the resources to participate in conventional forms of protest. The voice implanted in me by scapegoating and abuse tells me that it’s all my fault. Why then, am I not single-handedly saving the world? Am I not trying hard enough? Is my survival not a victory?

It’s tempting to feel inconsequential and impotent, to not try because nothing matters. Fostering ironic detachment is just another engine of control. Don’t turn away from the ugliness in despair. Not voting isn’t a choice to abstain, but one to uphold the dominant paradigm. Whatever you do, don’t you dare give up. They are threatened by your strength. People will try to smother your passion, to shame you for your zeal. Do not let them. You are more powerful than you realize.

Fire is a tool. Even if only a handful of people are moved by my words for just a moment, that is enough. I am enough, and together we can win. I write when I’m angry. Discover what you can do and do it. Burn.


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