Yesterday, I was driving down the freeway alone, listening to the Foo Fighters as I often do when I'm in the car alone. Yes, The Foo is loud, but the speed, the solitude, and the music make me feel tranquil. Having three kids, moments of tranquility and solitude are seldom. I only really have moments like this while listening to music or knitting. My mind can let go for a bit, not think about my to-do list and meander around concepts, feelings, ideas, and other indulgences.
Yesterday, as Dave Grohl colored my drive with his delicious gutteral growling, a question that has been asked of me a thousand times bubbled to the surface of my thoughts:
"What do you have to be so angry about?"
I often used to wonder that about Dave Grohl because of the intensity of his music and his awesome yelling, but I really don't care anymore. I'm glad he has faced that much anger, whatever it was, because the rest of the world got to enjoy Foo Fighters music from it. He channels it so perfectly and beautifully and I just sit in awe of that ability to alchemize that much anger into something worthwhile. I've always strived to do just that.
"What do you have to be so angry about?"... I've been asked that question mostly by men. And mostly by men who barely knew me. A couple of times in my twenties, I was sitting at my neighborhood bar in Yorkville, and I guess those particular men who asked me then didn't know what to do about a single woman sitting alone at a bar NOT wanting company. When I responded "No, thank you," as gently as I possibly could, that question was their response.
An angry woman is an unattractive woman. That is social programming. Period. Don't believe me?...
Angry women are not only unattractive, but often also labeled unfettered, crazy, or psycho:
I've been pretty quiet as most of the #metoo and Bill Cosby, Johnny Depp, Harvey Weinstein, XYZ actors, and now Al Franken situations have developed but yesterday, while driving it all came up. I want to go up to every man that has ever asked me that question and say "THIS! THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO BE ANGRY ABOUT!!!"
I did hashtag #metoo once on Facebook. Someone asked me, "Who?" I responded, "A better question is 'What happened?' or 'Are you alright?'." Since I was 12, I have experienced a constant stream of harassment, misconduct, and assault. It started with my first kiss, where an older guy decided he'd plunge his tongue down my throat and believed he had full right to do so being 4 years my senior. A ballet teacher inappropriately corrected our arm and leg positions at every class and always looked at me like I was lunch. I was in a sorority in college, so I can't even count the times I let things be said and done that I thought I had to let happen because I hadn't yet learned to say "piss off" or learned I had the right to even. A guy in a mall parking lot zipped down his pants as I was turning on my car to back out of the space to leave and tapped his penis on my window several times. A former boss would roll his executive chair up behind me to buckle my knees and sit on his lap. I went drinking with a girlfriend one night after having broken up with a fiance and was taken by someone after I blacked out. I no longer speak to that "girlfriend" and that someone is now a public servant.
The funny thing about being asked that question by those men in particular is that none of those men had ever experienced me angry so they didn't know my anger from Adam. I know they were certainly not trying to poke at the seething ball of lava inside of me fueled by double standards, socially sanctioned roles and expectations, sexual harassment, rape, two pregnancies that didn't make it, and just general blinding injustices all over the world.
So, sure, Dave Grohl is a man yet he is the source of my inspiration for wanting to say ME FUCKING TOO and to keep speaking up and doing what drives me because anger can be beautiful as he so boldly displays. I hold all of your hands and hearts in this- men and women. This is happening. Everything that was built on lies, on injustice, or on someone else's back is collapsing. And most of this world, ladies and gentlemen, is a veritable house of cards.