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