In the past year and already in the first couple of weeks in January, a new chapter in our grandchildren’s history books continue to write itself. The history of constant publicized racism, social injustices amongst minorities, a pandemic, and now a domestic terrorist attack on the US Capitol. These events muster up so many feelings but the hardest one to accept is anger. As a disclaimer— one that isn’t necessary, I recognize this blog may stir up some controversy but let’s be real, genuine, and truthful, wherever you lie on the side of spectrum these moments in life have really been challenging to unpack and the conversations need to be had.
So before I go any further about my thoughts around anger because I have nothing else to feel, let’s take a moment to reflect. Taking a step into deep thought and consideration of these historical events. Some of these encounters are nothing ancestors both black and white haven’t seen before but how we have sat throughout the unfolding tells a different story. Many of us across the world sat with these emotions we deem difficult as we watched countless murders of black and brown men and women. Reflect on what it felt like when the pandemic made it challenging to turn the other cheek.
You could imagine as I’m writing this, I have nothing else to feel but anger. Angered at what the lives of the Breanna Taylor’s, Ahmad Arbery, and George Floyd’s could’ve been but no longer because they were taken too soon. Angered that our country has been divided by racism, hatred, and pure evil. I want you to also imagine that this isn’t about the anger I feel but the encouragement to acknowledge and honor yours as well.
Often the ridicule by others regarding our own feelings can leave us feeling suppressed in those emotions. Those feelings and emotions are tucked away in a Pandora’s box, compartmentalized in our brains to say “I’ll deal with that later.” What if later never comes and the explosion of pain, hurt, sadness, defeat, and anger is revealed? It comes out that way because society makes it feel like we should get over it or that emotion is not valid. As cliche as it sounds, it is valid, your feelings matter. It’s true because when such events like recently take place we have nothing else to feel but the hard stuff—like anger.
Usually I found myself as a clinical therapist saying “nah nah, let me find some compassion, let me deal with this anger later, I shouldn’t be feeling this way.” I knew I would regret consuming so much of the media that fueled my anger. I needed to watch. I wanted to read. I was obligated to listen. I wonder how easy it was for some of my readers to shut it off. Not just the TV or radio but the true feeling of being pissed! Being angry! Ready for whatever it took to release that anger. Pretty difficult, huh? That’s okay, that’s normal.
Now before you suit up and go to war I’m going to rain on your parade a little bit. I’m going to be therapeutic and say “that’s not what I want you to do with your anger, it’s not how I want you to handle it.” At this point if you’re still reading, one, thank you and two, don’t take off because I encourage you not to attack physically. Once you’ve allowed yourself to truly sit with the anger, honor, and understand you have nothing else to feel then begin the advocacy again. Protest, have healthy conversations, and debates. Truly express that anger in doing what feels right for the black and brown community that continues to suffer daily as well as the indecencies of some American people.
Sometimes we find ourselves left with the misunderstanding that something needs to happen immediately. The immediacy is allowing yourself the grace to express how you feel. Allowing no one to devalue those emotions and make you feel poorly for having them.
By now I hope you’re doing the best that you can with all that is going on in the world. After taking some time to read this blog post you’ve given your true feelings some grace because it’s okay if you have nothing else to feel. You’ve allowed yourself to take a deep breath and say “I’m owning this anger (or whichever feeling you choose) and proud of it!
Although, yes, I want you to own that space! Also find creative, therapeutic, and healthy ways to take care of your feelings. When you believe things are getting too heavy please take a moment and follow some of these steps to protect your mental health and emotions.
- Take a media break. That’s all media’s! Television, social media, alternative facts media! All of it.
- Talk about how you’re feeling. Whether it’s a healthcare professional such as Therapist, Psychologist, or even a supportive friend allow yourself to release it verbally.
- Journal. Journaling can provide a safe space when the words can’t be spoken. No one ever has to read it and it’s actually extremely therapeutic (for some ????).
- Get some fresh air. Take a walk and put your mind on other things like the nature around us.
- Take a kickboxing class (that will definitely get some anger out) or simple exercise.
- Practice mindfulness meditation. Some apps like Headspace or Calm can ensure you’re getting your mediation on.
- Reflect, rest, refresh. Give yourself the ability to go into deep thought and rest knowing you can start over when things feel tough.
When you have nothing else to feel but anger, my reminder to you is that is fine, that is grace, that is your response. Allow it to happen organically and don’t force it to stop! Readers of all walks of lifebe kind and true to yourself.