I have something I want to talk about. It's an emotion.
Growing up it was practically considered a bad word in my family. See, here's the thing, my family does not like conflict. Peace and harmony were considered extremely valuable and a lot of work was done to make sure things stayed peaceful and harmonious (at least on the surface).
I have nothing against being peaceful. In fact I think the world could use more peace and harmony. It's a great ideal. Unfortunately there are times when the only way to get to a period of peace and harmony is by having the guts to endure conflict.
This is not something I learned how to do. Anger, in my family was the forbidden emotion. You were allowed to be sad and happy and bored and scared, etc. You were allowed to be yourself as long as you didn't create conflict. Anger has a tendency to create conflict. I grew up afraid of conflict. I am still terrified of it, but right now I am more angry than terrified. So, here' s to learning how to manage all of the emotions and to create and use conflict for something positive.
Here's the thing, emotions aren't bad. They have a purpose. Anger isn't a bad feeling, its a powerful feeling. It is a feeling that inspires action and it is actually a great antidote to fear. Think about it, what makes someone strong enough to stand up to the bullies on the playground? Anger.
Anger is power. Power is scary because it matters, but it is also strong enough to overcome fear and lead to sacrifice.
Anger is the power to act. It is the power to fight and create, and hope, and give, and believe in something greater than yourself. Anger is actually a very important and very "spiritual" emotion-- if it's used correctly.
When we get rid of our anger, we get rid of our power and become victims. By suppressing anger we give anxiety complete control over our lives because if something destructive happens and we don't have the anger to fight for ourselves (or others) then we can only live in terror of that destructive thing. The result is that we ignore the destructive thing, we hide or pretend it isn't there and we quiver in terror whenever it comes up and then when we can't ignore it we say we are not at fault, that we are helpless, and the "good guys" and didn't do anything wrong.
Except that we did do something wrong and we are not the "good guys" if something horrible is happening and we are choosing to do nothing about it.
I get it. It's scary. I'm getting ready for my first protest and I've been anxious all week. If I hadn't recently learned how to be angry I would probably have cancelled because of how scared I am. Today I locked myself in my house and spent the day reading and crying because there are a lot of changes in my life right now and I'm scared. But I'm more angry than scared. So today I cried, and Saturday I'm driving to Irvine and participating in an event I believe in.
I know that we all have our own journeys and we come to accept all the parts and emotions we possess in our own unique times. I know that you can't force someone to be ready to fight if 1. they aren't and 2. they don't agree. But here is something I've learned recently...
When things start to go wrong you can confront and deal with them or you can ignore them. If you ignore them they usually get worse. If you choose to ignore an issue and it gets worse you're still at fault.
The sooner you confront and deal with an issue the less painful it (usually) is. Now things in our country are getting bad. They've been bad and I haven't been in a place where I felt strong enough to be angry and fight so I've simply avoided the news as much as possible. But they are getting worse and it is time for me to get involved-- even if it is small at first. I hope that others get involved too because this needs to change and hiding from it isn't going to solve anything.
I believe in peace, but sometimes you have to earn your peace by defending what is right. I've been hiding in fear for too long now. I'm sick of it and I don't think I'm the only one.
I'm tired of feeling afraid and powerless. I'd rather be angry.
I know conflict is scary, but fear is not my ruler anymore. So I'm going to start talking about politics and I'm going to start doing what I think is right.
This Saturday, June 30th there are going to be protests all around the country. I'm going. I know that not everyone can make it, but I think it's time we do something.
So I'm going to add the information here in case anyone else is angry enough to act (peacefully) for what they believe in and this is going to be a start, but I'm deciding that I'm not going to hide from politics anymore. I might not have all the time, energy, or resources to be fully involved but I'm not going to be a quiet by-stander turned victim anymore.
Let's get angry. Lets use that anger to do something good. Let's be warriors who fight for peace and earn respect through constructive action.
If you want more information on the Families Belong Together Event on June 30th click here.