Written and Illustrated by Joelle Christie.
I am angry. Angry as hell, and I have every reason to be. I am dark skinned and Black, queer, gender non-conforming, disabled, and fighting to exist.
I have always been angry. As a kid, my anger was explosive, and very often, destructive. I’d flail my body to the ground. A self- burial. I’d toss my flesh and bones into the closet. A mausoleum of my hurt and pain. Anger felt safe because it made sense.
My anger tells me many things. It reveals Truths that are often silenced, forced into hiding. My anger says:
“The way you are being treated is unfair.”
“You deserve more than what you are being given.”
“You don’t have to prove yourself to people. You don’t have to earn their love.”
My anger is the fire in my heart. It is a reminder that I am indeed alive. I can breathe. But for so long, I suppressed my anger. I squished it down into a tiny little ball that I could swallow, and I told myself lies:
“I’d rather be accommodating.”
“I’d rather mold myself to make other people comfortable.”
I didn’t want to step on any toes. There were always harsh consequences for doing so- Abandonment. Negligence. Abuse. I didn’t want anybody to be angry with me. I just wanted to be accepted.
What does it mean to be accepted at my own expense? What does it mean to have all these people around me who don’t know me or see me? What does it mean to be a shallow, empty shell of myself? It means being alone in a room full of people. It means living a life of isolation, anxiety, and depression.
My anger is a catalyst for change. It teaches me that I can change my circumstances.
No matter how hard I tried, my anger couldn’t just go away. It would grow and grow and grow and grow with nowhere to go. Anger that has nowhere to go can be deadly. How could I confront this beast eating at me? By recognizing that anger is nothing I should be running away from, but a force that guides me and drives me.
My anger is a catalyst for change. It teaches me that I can change my circumstances. I don’t have to tolerate peoples’ bullshit. I really don’t. I may have been taught to bury my needs and desires under mountains of “Yesses” and “Okays” and “Sure, I’ll do its”. But my anger teaches me the power of “Nos” and “I can’t do that’s” and “I don’t want tos”.
My anger teaches me that it’s okay to be tired. To be over it. To say, “I hate it here.”
I am tired of showing up for people and giving myself to people while sacrificing my own needs. I am tired of being someone’s shoulder to cry on, but when it’s time for me to express my anger and frustration, there is no space made for me. I am tired of transactional relationships. I want to be supported because people genuinely care, not because people want to get something out of me.
I let the parts of myself that do not serve me die a beautiful, merciful death.
Anger reminds me that people have failed me in many ways, and I deserve to be upset by that. However, other peoples’ failures are not a reflection of who I am. Rather, the ways people have harmed me says a lot about who they are. Their insecurities. Their trauma. Their shit. Maybe they felt like it was easier to project their fears onto me than deal with it themselves. I am more than the ways people have neglected me and hurt me.
Through anger and destruction come creation and new life. I say out loud and proud:
“If you are not contributing towards my wellness, your presence is not needed here.”
“I no longer wish to be around things that harm me. I deserve space from them.”
“I deserve more than what you are giving me. I choose me.”
Anger, like my guardian angel, reminds me that my life matters. When someone does something that attacks my existence, anger boils up in me. Like lava, it floods. My anger is here to protect me and defend me against harm. I remind myself that I am powerful. That no one dare question my existence. I am here. I am liberated. You will respect me or perish, your body encased by the solidified lava. Your burial awaits.
My anger teaches me that destruction is necessary for transformation. We were made to transform. I let the parts of myself that do not serve me die a beautiful, merciful death. My past selves and future selves gather in a room together to mourn and grieve, both a funeral and a celebration of life.
Anger is a cornucopia of so many emotions: sadness, grief, fear, desire, love. When I suppress my anger, I deny myself the ability to feel my full range of emotions. When I embrace anger, when I embrace destruction, I am also embracing transformation. Whoever told us to be afraid of destruction, didn’t want us to change.
About the Author
Joelle is the creator and writer of Mirrored Love, a blog about love, relationships and healing. Mirrored Love is all about connection. It’s about seeing ourselves in each other. It’s about the kind of work that needs to be done within ourselves and within our communities in order to love with intention. Love is an action.This blog uses storytelling to document the possibilities of radical, Black Queer love. Support their work by subscribing to Patreon.com/mirroredlove.