The Call to Write

In the aftermath of Trump’s election, I’ve decided it’s time to move forward with this blog project focused on feeling-thinking-doing for JUSTICE. I’ve been tinkering toward this blog for months, but holding myself back. Now my heart, my head, my hands are insistent: the time to write is NOW. So, I sit at the screen, hands poised over keys. Yet, the only word-like expression coming forth is “Arrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!”

In the aftermath of Trump’s election, I’ve decided it’s time to move forward with this project focused on feeling-thinking-doing for JUSTICE. I’ve been tinkering toward a blog for months, but holding myself back. Now my heart, my head, and my hands are insistent: the time to write is NOW. So, I sit at the screen, hands poised over keys. Yet, the only word-like expression coming forth is “Arrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!”

I often joke that I study language (composition, rhetoric, and literacy studies) because “words are hard.” It’s hard to come up with the right words. Or meaningful words. Or words that express how I feel, words that represent what my body communicates in breath, in pulsation, in temperature, in pain.

What I can say is that my whole body H-U-R-T-S. Now more than ever, I have no idea how to sit in meetings, classrooms, and presentations that normalize whiteness. Sitting makes no sense. My body wants to curl or hurl … to jump up or out …

My body speaks my mind. A few days ago, I burned my hands with jalapeno and then heated up the burn in a warm bath. The result = hands on FIRE. Aching to write-do-act, my hands, like my body, were literally incensed. Yet, the more I used my hands, the more the fire calmed. Or perhaps the fire was just transferred into its rightful place (in this case, an article tracing rhetorical interventions into microaggressions).

I am reminded of Audre Lorde’s “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism.” Lorde inspires me: “Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.”

My mantras for this time: I allow myself to feel my emotions honestly and fully. I allow myself to acknowledge anger as a powerful source, one with transformative potential. I allow myself to write imperfectly, emotionally, toward moving forward.

mantra-copy

I may be writing nothing but “Arrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!” for a while.

 

 

 

Author: Beth Godbee

I’m an educator living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with connections to many places, including East Tennessee, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. I write from my identities as a white, feminist teacher and researcher; reiki and yoga practitioner; hiker and vegan. These commitments lead me to think and write about intersectional identities, embodiment, power, and rights, among other matters. My deepest commitments are to equity, justice, and peace. In this blog, I document my ongoing efforts, struggles, and attitude of “try-try again” to align with these commitments.

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