Once at a stoplight, the man in the car next to me rolled down his window and told me to stop yelling at my kids. Well, actually, what he said was, “Take it easy, lady.”
I told him to mind his own business, then I tore off when the light changed to green, and kept yelling at my kids. Their offense? They all went nuts at the doctor’s office at once because it was shot day. They were running around, making me chase them, arguing, and the worst of all worst things that could happen with my kids, my older son was doing his loud “Stop hurting me!” yell every time I touched him. It was his favorite thing. I’d look at him and he’d start yelling and holding his arm.
It was mortifying. And, no, I never broke his arm.
I felt like that last night watching the news. I was so mad at everything that had gone on during the day – from the Paris Accord to yet another wacky chapter in the endless Russia saga – that I had to stand up to yell about it. In my own living room. Sitting and yelling wouldn’t do justice to my rage. No sirreebob.
My husband sat in his big leather chair, his back brace, necessary because of his recent surgery, slightly loosened and looking like an enormous cummerbund. “You’re going to have a cerebral hemorrhage if you keep it up,” he said, folding his hands over his brace like a judge waiting for final arguments. Surgery has made him oddly serene, although he always did take a longer view of things than I do, and he never took all three children to the doctor at once. And no one, really no one, would ever pull up next to him at a light and say anything to him except maybe, “Go Packers.”
Today, I reflected on my anger and how it has been kept steady at this boiling point since November 8th, 2016. First, the raging disbelief and then the seething indignity, the two emotions tag-teaming through the holidays and into the spring. The sexism aimed at Hillary Clinton made me sick, like the time my mother slapped me across the face. I always knew something like that could happen but never thought it would happen to me. She never seemed that kind of person, my mother. Well, don’t we all have surprises in life? I wore Hillary Clinton’s defeat like the mark of that slap, so forceful you could see the imprints of the individual fingers and it never stopped stinging. It still stings.
Layered on is my rage at the horrible people vandalizing the White House. I waved my arms in my rant last night. “This is our great country! How can this be happening here?” Because you know I am patriotic. I am so patriotic. I believe in America and all of its slogans – the land of the free and the home of the brave. I buy all of that. Indivisible with liberty and justice for all, I believe that, even knowing that we are so flawed as a country and as a people. It doesn’t matter to me. We are trying. Or we were. We were trying.
I wonder how long I can keep being mad about so much. I wonder if my husband is right and I will have a stroke and drop dead. People will come to my funeral and reflect on how my inability to control my emotions got the best of me. And they would be right, totally right. I work, I study, I walk. I organize. I march. I am present in the resistance. But it’s not enough.
Nothing is enough to tamp down this fury.
Photo: Ben White, Unsplash