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I’m angry. Not at you. Well, maybe it is at you. But it’s not just you. It’s everything.
I believe that everyone has a default emotion. Some people are naturally happy. Take a shit in their water glass and they’ll call it chocolate milk, or gravy, or whatever the expression is. Some people tend to be sad: cutters, sulkers, fans of 90’s alt rock bands. You get the idea.
My natural state is anger. Not because I am full of hate. No, no, dear reader, quite the contrary. I am bursting with love. Love for my fellow men and women, for music, the delicate beauty all around us, food, kittens, flowers, puppies, a well-made dress, this clusterfuck of a country I call home. Yes, I assure you, I love all of it completely.The reason I’m angry is because something is always fucking something else up that doesn’t deserve to be fucked up. It’s my finely tuned sense of justice and decency that makes me so insanely rageful all the time.
Every child with a black eye, every dog who’s out on his own in the cold because some asshole couldn’t manage to be responsible, every city that’s been jacked up and hollowed out by greedy corporations and soulless politicians–they each make a tick upon my heart.
Everything registers and remains hanging there and the weight is starting to get heavy. So I’m writing this column. I want to tell you what’s wrong with the world, what’s wrong with you and what’s wrong with me and what’s wrong with the way we think. I want to deprogram you, to teach you to be angry instead of downtrodden and helpless. I want to incite you to yell better, more truthful ideas to the person sitting next to you on the train. To start a flame-war on a Facebook thread in the name of righteousness. I daresay, it may be the only way to get anything done around here.
Say what you want about the ill-effects of stress hormones brought on by rage, then shut the fuck up because I’ve heard it all before. Anger is a constructive emotion. Once you get angry enough, you act. So act. Act first by reading my column, then act by changing your mind about being a complacent victim of other people’s erroneous assumptions or presumptions or prescriptions or laws.
Once you get mad enough about how you’ve been treated, how you’ve been tricked, taken for granted, or pushed aside, the verbs that concern you will go from passive to active. You’ll be the one treating then, tricking, if you like, taking and pushing. You will be the one driving people’s opinions with your honesty and brilliance.
Let’s do this together, sisters. Throw off the veils and tell, for once in our lives, the truth. The whole truth. We owe it not only to ourselves, but to the world. Seriously, it’s about fucking time.
As poet Muriel Rukeyser once said, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Now is the time for the world to split open. We have tried for so long to coerce and flatter, to trick the leaders of the world into thinking they’ve discovered the truth by themselves. We have buried our experience in bitterness and resentment. We have asked ourselves, “Everyone feels this way, but what can be done?”
Now we must use our anger. We must be so driven by our anger, which is driven by our love, by our instincts for survival, that we can no longer be ignored. We must face every message that reaches our eyes, whether through the media or the government or the church or education or medicine, with suspicion. We must dissect it critically and get angry at the parts that are incongruous with our own experience, with what we instinctively know to be true.
If a message does not hold up to that scrutiny we have to get angry enough to expose it as a lie. For example, a pink ribbon promoting breast cancer awareness on a can of diet cola, an insidious substance which not only destroys women’s health but which is also the subject of deeply damaging advertising campaigns which attempt to convince women that diet cola is the cure for their fatness and inadequacy. That’s the type of shit I’m talking about. Fuck that shit. Feel that it is super fucked up and then say so. Say so to all your friends and say it to your beloved Gramma when she offers you a Diet Coke from a 24-pack that she bought on sale at Walmart a few days before. Tell her, “I love you Gramma, but fuck no, that shit is poison. Throw it away. And quit shopping at Walmart.”
Wake up, my ladies. Take your fierce, hilarious, intelligent selves right to all the terrible problems and force them to change. Angry women are the only thing I can count on anymore. Please don’t let me down.