I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my gender. Or, more specifically, the implications often aimed at my gender.
I’ve never questioned my gender identity. I’ve always considered myself very much female. But this is something I often hated about myself. I was raised to believe that any feminine traits–strong emotions, in particular–are at best useless, and at worst, slowly ruining every part of society.
Other than child-rearing, obv. OBV. Emotions are useless to everyone but babies.
Unless, of course, that emotion is anger. Anger is progress. Anger fixes everything. Basically, I was taught that the only emotion we strongly associate with masculinity is the only one worth feeling.
It’s OKAY to have other feelings. It’s OKAY to express them. It’s OKAY to be weak, ineffectual, and a burden to society. Don’t worry about it. I’ll still care about you. I just won’t respect you.
I mean, it’s not REALLY your fault, what with a vagina that releases all the Whining Hormones, right? I bet you wanna save trees, too, don’t you? Pussy. Trees can’t even punch anything. FUCK ALL THE TREES UNTIL THEY START GROWING FISTS.
So, predictably, I was a very angry person for a long time. Not just at the world, but at myself for having any other feelings. I spent a lot of time wishing I wasn’t a girl, while also confusedly hating the thought of being anything else.
I still struggle with anger. I’m still a hater. I tend to focus almost exclusively on the negative aspects of every experience.
I’ve justified this by claiming that anger makes everything FUNNY.
And I’m right. It does make things funny. But it also makes everyone feel like shit. They may not know it while their diaphragm is spasming and weird sounds are spurting out of their mouth holes, but eventually that vitriol creeps into the crevices of your mind. It can’t not. You can’t laugh at a joke unless you understand the source of the humor. If that source is shitty shit that everyone hates, all I’m doing is reinforcing your neural pathways to Shitty Shitville. Who wants that? Not me. Not anymore.
Humor is an easy disguise for darker feelings. I’m delivering an empty gift, but no one can see past the sweet wrapping job I did.
(this also applies to my sweet rapping jobs, just fyi)
It took me a long time to realize that anger is the weakest emotion, at least in the long run. It might be good at inspiring action, but during the execution phase? All it does is burn shit down and piss off even more people. Who then go on to burn more shit. Now everyone’s angry! LET’S BURN ALL THE THINGS!
Anger largely serves as a shield between you and the world. Anger is righteousness. If I’m mad, then someone else is to blame. I have every right to sit on this cloud of my self-proclaimed innocence and shit on everyone who disagrees. I am Right, and you are Wrong. That means I can treat you any way I want–including violently–until you agree with me.
How much can you really fix in this world if you spend all your energy forcefully absolving yourself of blame?
It took me a very long time to embrace any of my “girly” emotions. You know. Things like love, and compassion, and empathy. Feelings that inspire people to help each other, rather than tear down everyone you’ve decided is “doing it wrong.”
Even if you inspire other people to be angry with you. Now all you’ve got is a group of rageful assholes punching in increasingly indiscriminate directions as their anger gradualy eats away at their critical thinking skills.
CONGRATULATIONS. You know eventually they’re gonna run out of shit to punch and start punching you, right? That’s the nature of anger. It’s never just… done. Not when it’s being toted as a life philosophy, at least.
Soooo, uh. Yeah. that’s what I’m thinking about today. Positivity. Or lack thereof.
(Chrome doesn’t seem to believe “positivity” is even a word. YOU’RE NOT HELPING MY CASE, GOOGLE.)
Being positive is nowhere near as immediately rewarding as rage. When I write something “good,” all I can think is, “this is fucking boring and you’re an idiot for thinking your words could change anything.”
But you know what, man? MAN? I wouldn’t have started running again if not for the positive words from my friend Mason (and his awesome wife Ruby), who worked his way through the same program. He had insightful, inspiring thoughts on the subject, even when it was challenging.
If everything he’d written about running was some iteration of “fuck this, burn the world down,” I would have probably laughed heartily. Then I would have cracked a beer, kept my ass on the couch, and chain-watched The Strain for 6 hours. In the end, my life would have stayed exactly the same.
Anger is fire. It’s extremely satisfying to watch flames combust and consume.
Positivity is water. It slowly ebbs away at stone. It’s full of life, full of change. It just takes a long time.
Mason’s drop of positivity might have been what pushed me over the edge, but it was a thousand little drops of happiness and good feelz over the last few years that really inspired me. I have everyone to thank, and yet the things they’ve given me are… untraceable. Those people will never get the direct satisfaction of knowing how they’ve helped.
That lack of reward can make it very hard to keep trying. Anger feels so much more productive, because you can often see the results.
I can’t recall, though, the last time my anger actually was productive. These days, it feels like running on a treadmill. Energetic, but futile.
Speaking of running! I missed a few days, but I plan on getting back on track (oh ho ho, this would be a pun if I ran on a track) tonight. It’s been a strange week, but the only way to do stuff is to do stuff. So. I’m gonna do some stuff.