I AM SO ANGRY!
Having said that, understand THIS: Anger is always based on – and a reaction to – FEAR! (In case you’d like to argue with the fact, pick up any self-help book or psychiatric text first.) Back to my point: what is behind my fear and therefore my anger? Before I answer, consider my brief bio:
- I am a 72 year old woman. I cared for both parents during terminal illnesses and held their hands as they died.
- When I was 24, I left an abusive relationship, becoming the single parent of three preschool children.
- I was on welfare for a year while I completed nursing school. After working at the Mayo Clinic for three years, I continued my education to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.
- In 1981, my kids and I were in a mid-air collision 10,500 feet over Ohio. We were all terrified but survived despite losing 3 feet of the wing on our private aircraft.
- In 1990, I finished my BA in Cultural Anthropology. For two years I had concurrently worked full time as an anesthetist.
- In 1992, I was in a hostage situation for several hours. While entrapped, I wondered how I would get through alive. I finally escaped from my knife- armed intruder.
- I have lived in WI, MN, AL, TX, VA. I have also lived in Cairo, Egypt, Togo (Africa) and American Samoa (South Pacific.)
Having experienced hardship, social change, cultural adaptive challenges and having faced death, I have come to recognize fear and the masks behind which fear conceals itself- namely, anger and hatred.
It seems we humans are afraid of our own fears! If we admit to being afraid, we must admit to feeling insecure, wrongly concluding we are weak, helpless, impotent. Nothing could be further from the truth! Recognizing our fears and insecurities allows us to OWN them. Only by looking inside and being honest with ourselves can we hope to accurately define our issues, address them and thus create a solution. Isn’t this form of rational thought better than the practice of rationalization?!!! For that’s what we choose when we cling tightly to our masks of anger and hatred. But from whom or what would we be hiding? Obviously, OURSELVES.
Yet this is the course chosen by white supremacists and xenophobes of all stripes. It is chosen not out of stupidity but out of willful ignorance. It is chosen because of intellectual laziness: a refusal to examine and challenge one’s own moral and cultural teachings; to think for oneself.
Choosing to mask instead of admit our fears leads to more fear, and a firmer grasp on our mask, so we can hide from our own truth. Rationalization perpetuates the need for more rationalization. Scapegoating is the inevitable result. If we refuse to be introspective, to look inside ourselves and examine our thoughts and feelings, we will be tempted to blame others, life circumstances- or any handy target- for the problems we perceive in our lives. A false sense of righteousness evolves, and those who choose to mask their fears instead of rationally dealing with them begin to tell themselves that “the ends justify the means,” Those means often conflict with their own religious and moral beliefs. But they won’t recognize what they have done. Rationalization once again comes to the rescue, spiraling their lives down like shit flushed down a toilet bowl.
But the toilet bowl is getting clogged and the shit is flooding back on all of us! THAT’S WHY I’M AFRAID! I hope you are too. And I also hope we can admit our own fears and deal with truth and reality so our lovely home, Planet Earth, will not become a sewer.
Dedicated to the people of New Zealand who have suffered the tragedy of losing friends and loved ones to an act of hatred directed at Muslims praying in their Mosque. May you find peace and know your tears are shared by all humanity. May your lives be enlightened by forgiveness of those who refuse to see.
Please read my blog With A Prayer, published 9/24/2017
Frank Meeink, author of “Autobiography of a Former Skinhead” was just interviewed on CNN (3/16/19 at 08:15). He responded to questions by Christi Paul saying fear is at the core of hate groups. Ignorance and laziness, he claimed, were part of the equation, along with a desire to prove one’s masculinity. He further said he left his group after having been befriended by men of different races and religions. We must counter hate groups by addressing their ignorance, he believes; hate against them only empowers them.