Of late, I’ve been having a lot of conversations about the emotional and communication differences between men and women. Recent inspiration by various works of art (Terrance Nance’s Random Acts of Flyness, Issa Rae’s Insecure) has led to a series of enlightening and informative conversations. One thing I have noticed is how many of the men I talk to will reference anger of some sort in emotional spaces where I would reference sadness or depression. It is only in recent years that I have been able to clearly identify times of anger and rage in my past and it is amazing how long it took me to call past feelings by such a name.
bell hooks has spoken about the “killing rage” that can be used to end the evils of racism but I like to think of the phrase as an apt descriptor for the felling that burns through women’s veins in reaction to the racism, sexism, or other oppression that they experience through their life. Many times I believe men do not have the language to effectively express their emotional and mental state, but if there is any emotion that I believe they are more well-versed in identifying and acting upon, anger is it.
I feel as if I lack the language to identify the feeling that comes on me when those I love disappoint me. Though I shed tears, it is not solely because I am hurt, it is because I am angry.
It is because I feel misunderstood and silenced.
It’s because I want to hit something but don’t feel comfortable swinging. I have an image to protect. A legacy to uphold and a stereotype or two to fight off. I don’t have the confidence to physically address someone because that is not what young ladies do. Never raise your hand, lest you be deemed a hood rat, a World Star, a woman to suck your teeth at.
I’ve spent much of my youth trying to convince the world that I was not angry. That no person could have such a hold on me to try me to anger, to violent thoughts and clenched jaws. I may not be above hurt feelings, but I am above rage. I am above the knee-jerk reactions to someone hitting a trigger. I am above the negative thought and the ill-wishes.
I don’t really know how to describe a woman’s rage. I can’t say that I can easily identify anger because I’ve spent so much time running away from it.
What is there to be said of a woman’s rage?