Photo credit: Moviephone.com. Image description: Faye Dunaway as actress Joan Crawford in the 1981 movie Mommie Dearest. In the image, Dunaway as Joan is wide-eyed and open-mouthed. A cosmetic masque is smeared on her face, and her hair is pulled back by a thin, cloth headband. She is holding a blurry white object in her hand (an article of clothing on a wire hanger).
I’m never going to be the one who can give you a “hot take”. I’m not capable of processing information or my feelings about it quickly enough. My feelings change with new information and time. It is how I am wired. I used to get tied up in knots over it. My life felt like a constant, uncontrollable, emotional whirlwind because I was always trying to rush through my feelings to get to the point where I could just be calm again. Then I would look back and try to capture how it was I felt. I would often just be coming to terms with whatever issue life had thrown at me when the next one hit. It has been exhausting.
But a beautiful thing has happened over the past few years. I have learned to slow down. I have learned how to ride the waves and process my emotions as I go along. I have allowed anger in, where I used to repress it, and I no longer feel like my life is uncontrollable. I am okay with my emotions, and I am okay with being a slow processor.
In writing here, I had hoped to slowly share myself and my journey with you all so that you might choose to reflect upon similar things. Maybe my painful journey could help ease a particular sore spot you have within yourself or help clarify an uncertainty or heal an old wound. You never asked me to provide this wisdom or share my journey. I know that. I took it upon myself to share it. Reading and writing aren’t exactly contact sports, but I have shared and will continue to do so because I know the silences that met me growing up, both within my own family and from others around me nearly killed me. I don’t want to be silent anymore. Like I said, I have sh*t I need to say before I die.
In addition to my personal journey, I had also hoped to slowly share my political journey - the steps I took to go from blindly being my mother’s daughter to becoming a young, (white) feminist, and on to become someone who wants to spend the rest of her life fighting for racial and social justice; to fight for liberation for all. I will still share this journey, but I can no longer do it as slowly as I would like.
While I am not dying (I mean, we’re all a little closer to death every day, but you know what I mean), our democracy - the version of democracy we have had, however imperfect, is dying, and that death is coming faster and closer with each passing day. This is not hyperbole. This is not the crazy rantings of a she-witch. This is not the “radical Left” distorting facts because the “radical Left”, as the fascist Republican Party has come to define it does not fucking exist. If it did exist, then the Supreme Court would never have had the opportunity to leak that fucking indictment against women and pregnant people that dropped on Monday night.
I am angry at the Supreme Court justices and the fascist right-wing assholes who put them there. I am angry at the Democrats who didn’t have the balls to call McConnell’s bluff and prevent the stacking of the courts, or to get rid of the filibuster to pass voting rights, the EACH Woman Act, or to end the Hyde Amendment. I am mad at every single person - left, right, or center, that I have told, in no uncertain terms since the mid-fucking-1990’s that the goal of the right wing is now and forever shall be to destroy Roe, only to be told I was “crazy” or “there’s no way they would overturn Roe”.
I am angry at myself for straying from the career and life path I should have been on since I was 25 years old. I’m angry at myself for not being strong enough to push back and say, “No, YOU’RE wrong. I know what I’m talking about, and you need to listen!” I’m angry at myself for being kind and deferential and allowing others to have “their own perspective” even if that perspective was informed by lies and misinformation. I’m angry at myself and others with more visibility, power, and media access for allowing the culture to shift so dramatically through slow, steady, systematic, and absolutely calculated disinformation - a tactic which has now been thrust into every other aspect of our political discourse and amplified by social media bots and fucking Russian-government backed trolls.
But there is another anger I am sitting with today. There is a line from the movie Mommie Dearest that keeps running through my head. No, it’s not “No more wire hangers!”, because that exact line doesn’t actually exist in the movie, and I’ll go into why the coat hanger is no longer an appropriate image for reproductive freedom at a time when I am less livid.
At one point, Joan Crawford, played by Faye Dunaway, says to her daughter, “I don’t know what to do with you,” and her daughter, Christina, responds angrily, “WHY NOT?!”
I have spent too much time being angry with and by myself. It has done nothing to serve me, and it has most certainly not helped me to serve others.
But I can’t be the only one angry all the time either. I am angry at every single person who went about their lives on Tuesday as if nothing had happened. I am angry at every single person who isn’t angry or even scared. I am angry at every single person who thinks this doesn’t mean anything to them or their lives. I am angry at every single person who thinks there’s nothing they can do, or worse: they don’t want to do anything because they don’t care. My anger is reserved especially for you today and everyday going forward.
If you’re not angry, WHY NOT?!