When Love Looks Like Rage

I’ve been writing about facing my own bullshit for years now. Looking at the muck in myself I was reluctant to look at. Owning my journey and all my mistakes. Learning that if I really wanted to heal, honesty with myself was the first door I had to walk through. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with the “other” side of Love — not the peace and harmony side — the painful, raw, realness of living life as a human side.

Love can look like a lot of things. Of course, we prefer peace and harmony and everybody getting along. And that is the ultimate goal, yes. But as any Mama Bear will tell you, Love can also become enraged at injustice.

You know (some of) the history. We learned it (from a white perspective) in school. But pause. Can we sit with it for a time and really feel the gravity of it all? Are we so afraid of rage that we allow ourselves to gloss over an entire series of events that did happen and are still happening today? It’s (way beyond) time, as a country, to do what many of us have been doing on a personal level. It’s (way beyond) time to take a good, up close look at our own bullshit.

FYI, I am going to use the terms “we” and “they” frequently in this post. “We” applies to upholders of society (those in positions of power, the majority vote, and, frankly, often white people). “They” applies to those oppressed by the very society some of us uphold.

Is it not enraging that we kidnapped, bought, sold, and bred humans to do our labor for free and then beat, raped, tortured, and murdered them without consequence for 250 years?

At the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln promised each newly freed slave 40 acres and a mule to begin to build their lives and wealth. Is it not enraging that after he was assassinated, an alcoholic, openly racist, nasty man named Andrew Johnson became the new POTUS and said, “This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men,” and promptly denied the promised acreage and mules.

Is it not enraging that all through the 20th century, white people mercilessly bullied black people, especially those who were beginning to find success (against all odds, mind you) by cheating them out of money they earned, vandalizing their businesses, and assassinating them?

Is it not enraging that we sent black people off to war, to fight for white freedom, then welcomed them home with more segregation bullshit, unfair legal proceedings, underfunded facilities, and continued backlash against any black people who appeared to be getting “too” successful for white men’s comfort.

Is it not enraging that we continue to push black people around the country, first by kicking them out of the cities, then “redlining” the suburbs to prevent them from settling in any neighborhoods other than the ones we wanted them to, then when they tried to go back to the cities, we used “gentrification” — a term I learned in social studies class as a good thing that “lifted neighborhoods out of poverty and made them… nicer” — except that it was just a propagandish way of saying we divided, conquered, and kicked black people out of their homes and neighborhoods yet. again.

We forced them to start out with nothing. And we continue to beat them down with subpar education, healthcare, real estate, political and social representation, and legal justice. All of this is proven statistically. There are numbers to back all of it up, and it is still happening. So it enrages me when I hear, “iF tHeY rEaLLy WaNtEd To, ThEy CoULd Be SuCcEsSfUl,” or “We ALL bLeEd ReD!!!” or  “WhY iS eVeRyOnE sO aNgRy???” Learn the history and it will become incredibly clear why everyone is so angry. You might not see it where you live. I didn’t for a long time. But that was because my privilege was blocking my view. Racism didn’t end when slavery ended. And it still hasn’t ended. It isn’t enough to teach our children that we’re all the same on the inside. We need to teach them to look for the injustices — past, present, and future — and speak up against them.

I am disgusted with our political system. Both sides. And I am disgusted with the fact that, once again, an issue of virtue has become a left/right issue. In my adult life, I have registered to vote as both a Republican and a Democrat. I’ve also chosen not to vote (which I don’t recommend and I won’t be choosing that option again.) It infuriates me that it is assumed I will “pick a side” because I’m not thrilled with either one at this point. From here on out, I am on the side of humans and I will not let red or blue tell me how to feel about that.

It is complete bullshit that political parties and their respective news outlets have hijacked this cause for political and financial gain, often with no intention of following through on their empty promises once they have the votes they are seeking. It is complete bullshit that extremist organizations hijacked the protests and turned the focus away from those who have needed and deserved our attention for centuries now. It is complete bullshit that people see this as a war against all police instead of a war against a system that allows corrupt police to do what they do. 

I wish we could take politics out of it, but we can’t. Politics is a major underlying cause here. I wrote a while ago about weird health symptoms I was having. One would pop up, then disappear, then another would pop up. They would come and go and it was like playing whack-a-mole to solve each symptom. It wasn’t until I had an underlying cause diagnosed that I was able to start truly getting rid of the symptoms. Racism is the same. The corrupt racist police officer who murdered George Floyd is a symptom. Looking through a microscope and picking apart the individual incidents like some are doing is missing the point. Stepping back and looking at the overarching patterns, admitting they exist, and going from there is the only thing that will bring healing and all that light, peace, and harmony some are (ignorantly) calling for right now. 

Politics is supposed to be a vehicle of Love to serve all humans. Does that sound weird to you? It sounds weird because the politics we know has become so deformed, diluted, and corrupt that it is nearly impossible to find any semblance of justice there. But it is our job to learn, speak up, and vote.

If you are confused about what to think right now, I understand. But there is too much at stake for us to claim confusion and check out.

It’s time to do the research and surf the nuances. To quit waiting for news outlets, political parties, and out-of-context quotes on social media to tell us what to think. We’re better than that. We’re better than turning away from people in need because we won’t dig in and learn the facts ourselves.

Here are a few examples:

It’s too easy to see a statistic that says “Cops kill more white men than black men every year” and say you jUsT dOn’T kNoW wHaT tO ThInK nOw. Dig deeper. Do the research. Yes, that statistic is technically true but it is deceptive. Because there are more white men than black men in this country. Now, if you take the percentages of white men and black men killed by police each year, you will see a different story. Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by a police officer. That is something I can work with when figuring out “how I feel.”

What about “black on black violence” statistics? Again, keep digging. For starters, that could work with any race. It’s a matter of proximity. Yes, black people are statistically more violent toward other black people. White people are statistically more violent toward other white people. And Native Americans are statistically more violent toward other Native Americans. It’s a matter of who they live, work, and exist next to. Ok, now take it a little further. What causes crime and violence? Poverty. A massive gap between the richest Americans (all white men, btw) and the poorest which is still getting bigger. Poor education. Lack of social workers. Inadequate healthcare. A for-profit prison system designed to keep people in it. Now we’re getting somewhere. There is an underlying root cause that needs to be addressed and only focusing on the symptoms helps no one (except white people who are comfortable with the status quo).

Another copout is, “What about Oprah!? What about Obama? They are PROOF that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough!!!” BULLSHIT. Again, look at facts. How many white presidents have we had? 44. How many black presidents? 1. For you non-math experts, 1/44 is a tiny fraction. Oprah and Obama are anomalies. They are a deviation from the norm and holding them up as examples is the epitome of tokenism. Look it up.

We can quote Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, but we need to know that before he was assassinated, he recanted it, calling it naïve and saying his dream had “turned into a nightmare.” We can quote Jesus’ messages of love and harmony, but let’s not forget his rage when he saw what was happening in the temple.

Love can look like rage. And we should be enraged. Our white ancestors committed grave injustices. Some of our white neighbors continue to do the same. Black people never got their 40 acres. Never got an apology or amends. Never got a history book that told the whole truth. And the system was never changed enough to stop the abuse from happening. Many of us continue to turn a blind eye because all of that doesn’t affect us personally. 

Enough. Let’s quit being triggered by the word, “racism.” Too many of us define racism as wearing pillowcases and lynching. Not enough of us define racism as saying, “All lives matter,” and then moving on with our lives because we can. Racism is a spectrum and we’re on it.

It’s time to be a “good ancestor” (term coined by Layla Saad.) Call me angry. Call me a bleeding heart. I’m good with it. I cannot look at this history and not feel sick about it. And I cannot do nothing. I am enraged and Love is willing to work with that.

Loving After Heartbreak

Loving Smackdowns from the Universe, Part 1

I live with a man now. A kind, hard-working, smart, hilarious dreamer. Is it a coincidence that I pretty much stopped blogging as soon as we got serious? Absolutely not. I wish I could say that is because we have been too busy having hot sex and saving the world together. (Although there has been a lot of the first and we’re truly working on the second.) But that’s not why I stopped writing. 

I stopped writing because he shook. my. world. 

See, I was GOOD you guys. I was so, so good. Livin’ the single gal’s dream. Picked up the pieces after my divorce. Picked up more pieces after dating and sex and various short-term post-divorce relationships didn’t go so well. 🥴

I was working out daily, journaling, blogging, socializing, leading workshops, getting my finances in order, traveling, running my little business, learning to love myself, and was just — GOOD.

Until.

A perfectly imperfect man showed up to love me UP CLOSE. He was ready to go all in. It was confusing and terrifying. If you’ve ever had to start over in a relationship after getting your heart broken mashed shattered puree’d wrecked, you feel hard what I’m about to describe. Because I wasn’t actually GOOD. 

As soon as I thought about dipping my toe in the River of Starting to Love Again, everything from my past I’d worked so hard to bury came screaming back to the surface. Insecurity, lies, memories, manipulation, guilt, shame, hurt — ohhhhh the hurt. There it all was, not just for me to face but for another person to witness up close and personal. 

Um. Fuck.

The collage of fear going through my brain at that time is hard to put into words, but I’ll give it a try. Imagine a non-stop loop of the following:

“He is amazing but it’s too good to be true.”

“There has got to be a lie here somewhere.”

“I don’t know how to do this the right way.”

“I just realized I have no idea how to communicate my feelings.”

“I know. I’ll get some Mace.” (I actually did, btw.)

I was sitting on pins and needles waiting not just for him to hurt me, but for me to hurt him. I trusted no one, not even myself. And I tried everything to get him to break. I gave him the silent treatment. I acted disinterested. I sat him down and told him every horrible thing I’d ever done. 

A man less persistent would have left early on. I’m glad he didn’t. He was patient and kind. Let me cry. Let me rage. Let me accuse him of things he didn’t do. Let me rip into him for tiny issues. Let me verbally process my past. Let me feel every damn emotion I had ever been ashamed of. It was messy. I was messy. It shook me to my core.

And it was medicine, pure medicine, to be witnessed 100% naked, for the first time ever. He saw all of me and didn’t want to change a thing.

Woah. Is this love? Yes, Sweetheart. This is Love.

“Why do you even want to be with me???” I would question. But the truth is, that is none of my business. He wants to be with me. He’s proved it over and over and over again. Who am I to ask why?

Now, I converse with so many people who have had their hearts broken and who have broken someone else’s heart (two sides of the same painful coin, I’ve learned). They are scared to move on. They are scared to lose control. They are scared to be seen. They are scared they won’t notice red flags. They are scared they will see red flags when there aren’t any. 

All I can say is I was scared too. And a lot of those things I was scared of happened. And because the things happened, I learned. I learned to trust again. I learned what “yes” and “no” feel like in my body. I learned that I can look into a lover’s eyes and see the truth. I learned that I am worthy. I learned that you can’t plan out your love life step by step. I learned that avoiding pain is missing out on pleasure too.

Now if you’re wondering how on earth I found a man like that, rest easy. I didn’t actually do anything to go find him. I mostly nerded out by myself reading personal development books and going to the gym. I was doing my thing, and when it was time for us to meet, we met.

So there you have it. It feels good to be putting this all out here on the blog. I haven’t written in a long time as a service to myself. I’ve been learning to love — not even again — Learning to love for the first time. Without fear, without justification, without conditions. And I just couldn’t write about it all “out loud.” Just like you don’t serve a cake that’s half-baked, I don’t like to put things out in the world while they’re still processing. Stuff that is unprocessed is very tender and it’s too easy for tender things to get broken again.

Thank you for being here. I look forward to writing more with this gift of time.

My prayer for all of the planet right now, borrowed from The Loving-Kindness Meditation:

May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free from suffering.

Stay tuned for Bitch Slaps of Kindness, Part 2 😁

My Crystal Ball Sucks (Blogaversary Post)

Announce to your friends/family/houseplant that you are going to do something (quit your job, start working out, move away, learn a concerto, go back to school, start a business, travel the world, write a book, sing Rolling In the Deep at karaoke night) and the reactions will be varied:

“That’s a cute dream honey.  Hope it works out for you.”

“Welp, you’re either brave or stupid!”

“Oh that’s WONDERFUL!  You’re so amazing!  C’mere and gimme a high five!”

“Uhhh… how you gonna make money doing that?”

“Pssh.  Must be nice to have that kind of time.  Lucky.”

Make the same announcement to yourSELF and you can count on equally varied reactions:

[says to mirror:]

“YES.  Let’s fucking do this.”

“Ohhhhh shitshitshitshitshit I take it back I don’t wanna do it anymore!”

“BEST decision I ever made!”

“WORST decision I ever made!”

“Am I brave?  Am I stupid?  I don’t even know – I’m just gonna have some peanut butter and hide under this blanket.”

We’re all (you + me + everyone else) a little bit clueless about what will happen when you go with your gut. 

We don’t know whether you will be successful or not.  We don’t know if you are insane or a genius.  We don’t know if you’re following your heart or other humans.  We don’t know if you’ll make money or lose money.  We don’t know if people will agree or disagree.  We don’t know if it will go down smooth or burn like hell.  We don’t know if spectators will throw flowers or tomatoes at you.  We just don’t know.

Take this blog for example. When I started it, I couldn’t articulate exactly why.  In fact, I could see lots of reasons NOT to do it.  The only reason I had to DO it was that I wanted to.  I didn’t foresee that putting words to my thoughts would cause me to

get the crazy idea for my first event or

look at life through a whole new set of goggles or

start wading through all my own shit or

connect with people all over the planet or

realize how quick I am to blame others or

see that there are no bad humans

 (Clearly you interact with me at your own risk.  If our paths cross, you’re fair game for overanalysis.)

I have moments of apathy.  Moments of stress.  Moments of fear.  Moments of doubt.  Moments of annoyance.  But they are just moments, and as all moments do, they pass.  And then I’m left with this …thing… that I’ve created, that I love, that I’m excited about, and that I’m sure as hell glad I started even though I couldn’t predict its trajectory.

IMG_5220
Sept. 2014. This is what it looks like when my gut talks to me.

So, regarding uncertainty:  Unless you have a crystal ball that works way better than mine, there is no way to be sure of how things will turn out when those sparks catch fire.  But guess what?  YOU CAN HANDLE WHATEVER HAPPENS LIKE A BOSS.  Don’t get too attached to how things “should” end up.  Work hard, be kind, and stick with your gut, regardless of what people (you included) say.  Usually, reality turns out much better than you ever could have mapped out in your iCal anyway.  ❤️

 

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