I became friends with my anger the same way a child becomes friends with a cat they’re too afraid to pet but…nonetheless, they keep trying.
2023 was a rough year. I hesitated to write that at first only because I don’t like claiming any year where I make it out still breathing a bad one, however, it’s hard to not do some comparisons after reaching the ripe but tender age of 33. Also, this year about a bajillion planets in our solar system went retrograde (okay, not that many but six is plenty and ending the year with Mercury retrograde was enough) so I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on what my emotions have been trying to tell me–particularly, anger.
Being raised a woman, Black, southern, and military will do a number on how much anger you’re allotted per day. Fear of being seen as too mean, too bitchy, too masculine, held me back in more ways than I can count. It also allowed people to stay in my sphere longer than they should have. I learned that the best way to make friends with my anger was not only by listening to her but actually wielding her to protect my own energy.
So I’ve started barking and hissing at people.
Not all the time. Just when warranted.
Drastic? Maybe. Do I live in New York City and crazier things happen? Yes. Regardless of where I live though, something had to change. So I’ve additionally just started telling people about themselves.
Now, some may be thinking “Why bother? Why waste your energy?”…and that’s real. 2024 is also known as the year of abundance and karma (the addition of the numbers 2+0+2+4= 8) and after time to reflect on, well, my whole life – I know my good karma cup is overflowing. And the abundance is here and more will only follow. So 2024 for me will be the year of going after and receiving everything I want and deserve, period. Point. Blank. And the only way to make this possible is to embrace all facets of myself, especially the ones that make me uncomfortable. So anger and I have been courting since 2023.
The Angry Black Woman stereotype has, of course, gone through my brain a million times. Damaging tropes like being seen as angry or strong all the time have followed Black women for years and as if we haven’t endured enough on a daily basis, of course studies show that these stereotypes have long term negative effects on Black womens’ health. But nothing can be more unhealthy than bottling this suffocating emotion. I can no longer afford to care if I look or come off angry. Guess what? I AM ANGRY! Angry like my ancestors who first saw the devil and no one would listen, angry like the child who isn’t regarded until it’s too late, angry like all my mothers before me, angry like Kali.
Speaking of Kali–this past year I’ve had to do a lot of reckoning with being a spiritual worker in the age of capitalism…which has poked my anger even more. Kali is the Hindu goddess of death, rebirth, destruction, time, and also often seen as Mother Nature herself. In today’s society, people who work in spirituality are often seen as easygoing and accepting of others’ blatant fuckups. I’m remembering the class I took on being a holistic business owner. To be a yogi, and teacher of such especially, is to put your care at high regard in order to better communicate and service the collective and the world. Protecting your peace doesn’t always look like giving someone a flashy smile or bouquet of flowers. Sometimes it looks like putting a stop before something starts because you’ve been there before. Sometimes it looks like shutting yourself in your room, avoiding all contact. And sometimes it looks like rage. It’s important to note that Kali’s rage is justified. It’s not some nonsensical, unnecessary vengeful feminine outburst. Kali becomes enraged at injustices in the world more than anything. When her devotees are cruel to their environment and other living beings, Kali goes off. Rightly so.
Om Krim Kalikaye Namaha— Mantra Invocation of Kali
One of many reasons why I didn’t write much this past year is because I unnecessarily threw myself into survival mode after moving into my own apartment. The other reason is because–as previously hinted– I’d been in a state of rage for the majority of last year. I should hope it would be obvious as to why but just in case you’re wondering what’s happened…the world is on fucking fire–literally–a genocide is happening before our eyes, the minimum wage still hasn’t been raised to a livable wage, a whole bunch of imbeciles are arguing about who is going to win a system that only benefits them, and millennials are still being blamed for everyones’ problems.
What’s more is that throughout this time with both personal and outward turmoil, I refused to be seen as a “victim” of circumstances and being the overtly logical being that I am – I hadn’t allowed myself any room for healthy emotional expression. Whether that be happiness or grief. I had hardly allowed myself creative expression as I didn’t want the pressure of turning every hobby into a monetary venture. I simply existed. But nothing was more uncomfortable than enduring my own silence out of fear that my boundaries would hurt someone else’s feelings.
To be candid, it took me almost a year to write this blog. I said 2023 was a rough one. I’ve gone through the ebbs and flows of letting emotions build and release, telling myself I didn’t need to write and that going for a walk would cure the disdain I was experiencing with this country, the English language, the world, and life itself. When I initially sat down and wrote the title, I realized that I wasn’t actually friends with my anger. I was acting like people who are afraid to pet cats. Ironically, during this year of hell, my familiar walked into my life. She actually walked up my wingspan. And my cat has been an immeasurable part of my life ever since. Pickles (yes, Pickles) has truly taught me a different way of viewing respect, autonomy, and pettiness.
And speaking of cats…I was stumped on how to wrap this up considering I can’t stay angry forever (it actually becomes quite exhausting) and lucky for me, my unofficial fellow Virgo uncle, Katt Williams, had a wonderful interview with Shannon Sharpe that perfectly summed up how I plan on making nice with my fierceness. While Katt’s already a pro, throughout last year I got to know my anger by listening to her and speaking the damn truth. Generally when I spoke out I was met with a mixture of two reactions: surprise and upset or surprise and acceptance. I would say which I prefer but ultimately it doesn’t matter so long as my peace is obtained in the process.
The biggest thing I’ve learned throughout this delicate integration, is how to approach my own anger. And that can only be done through loving kindness. It’s not a negative emotion even though it may feel like one at times. After all, anger has something to say and as my number one defense, she deserves to be listened to. So while journaling and blogging took a backseat in 2023, I’m glad I sat with my anger. Yoga and guided meditations also helped…a lot. And after a year of back and forth within my own head and facing fears of not being heard or misconceived, I finally stopped giving a fuck. I have shit to say, dammit.