reflection: on anger

January 27, 2012

yesterday i posted my response to the east haven mayor bullshit here in the wonderful constitution state.

i struggled as i wrote it.

it is difficult to write from a place i don’t find myself at often: anger. i discussed it with two close friends prior to posting it because i kept saying, “i don’t know that people have seen this side of me… in fact, i don’t think close friends have seen this side of me.”

i am not an angry person. actually, whenever i get upset, one of two things happen almost instantly: i start laughing because i feel foolish or i start crying because anger doesn’t feel good at the center of my chest. but i did some self therapy yesterday. and i started to tell myself, that maybe some of the things i need to start letting go of are behaviors that i have had for the last thirty-four years. holding on to anger and not showing it is one of them.

there is nothing wrong with anger. so long at is doesn’t lead to hurting self or others. i think it’s perfectly healthy to be angry. to express a “FUCK YOU!” can feel so good or in my case, “tu maldita madre, hijo e’ puta.”  It actually feels liberating… a release of energy.

i let it go… and breathe out of it. almost instantly i feel better.

when my brothers and i were young, my oldest brother Manny was always known for being the “quiet one.” i mean, you couldn’t move this kid from his core (to this day, he is pretty much unfazed)… he has this amazing ability to just disconnect. he doesn’t even have to dust off his shoulders, ’cause the dust doesn’t even settle on him. it was something that frustrated me… i was a bit envious of his ability.

but one day, i have no idea what my two brothers decided to fight about… all i know is that Manny and David went at it like two caged animals and i witnessed the entire thing. Manny and David fought like men that day. but Manny fought like a man that was carrying his ancestors worth of anger inside of him. there was blood all over our living room. i was so scared, i called my uncle Tito Chan crying because this was not a typical fight between my brothers. that day (i think i was like ten) i remember looking at Manny’s eyes and i realized quickly that Manny had left. that something greater than Manny had shown up that day.

this is what happens when we hold on to anger. we either explode or implode. neither are healthy.

we cannot contain ANY emotion. in doing so we dishonor our human process. and the point is to go through the motions and the emotions. express what you need to, sit with it and then let it go.

do not tell people to not feel anger or to not express it. fuck!, we need more angry people. we’ve become so blah about everything. we just have to know the balance of healthy anger.

when i wrote the piece i was angry because my Latin@ community is constantly under attack. i express myself through writing. this is my outlet.

am i still angry today?

yes. because injustices are taking place and we are forced to stan idle and keep quiet. but i didn’t want to bite my tongue anymore. and i didn’t want my work to sound like pretty poetry because the situation that is happening in this country is NOT pretty.

be angry. let others be angry. cuss. spit. scream. punch a pillow.

then let it go…

but keep the fighting spirit.

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reflection: the D word

December 26, 2011

recently a friend of mine posted something to the effect of how LGBT POC’s needed to speak up about the realities of depression in our lives. i’ve been thinking about it for the last few weeks, as i have been battling my own “demons.” the season doesn’t help either; short and cold days mixed in with holidays that are suppose to be “the most wonderful time of the year” only throw me deeper into this state of “wtf?”

i’m a positive person. and for many in my circle of family and friends, i’m considered “the life of the party.” when i have shared with people that i suffer from depression their first reaction is “really?” which has often left me to keep silent about it because i don’t want to be seen as anything but that “happy self.” god forbid i should say that sometimes it gets bad enough that i have to take medication to “level me out.” and when you add that piece to the mix you are then seen as unstable to many and if it’s on your life “record” and you decide to apply to certain jobs, your ass is shit outta’ luck ’cause well… “you just might GO crazy.” it is after all, the thinnest line.

culturally, it’s a taboo. as Dominicans and Puerto Ricans immediately will categorize you as “crazy.” they don’t necessarily believe in going to talk to someone about your problems either. and don’t you dare mention medication. i mean, that just puts you on the sidelines for good. my behavior changes when i’m feeling this way. i find myself sleeping more and disconnecting myself from loved one because i don’t want them to see me like this. because i don’t want to “change the image” they have of me

i’m a happy person. it’s just that sometimes i’m not.

i would be the first to encourage a loved one to seek help, to trust that things will get better, to believe that whatever it is they are going through is “momentarily.” and when i am going through it myself, i keep repeating those same words. intellectually, i understand that “this too shall pass.”

but it’s in the moment that this shit is toughest.

it’s in the moment where your thoughts take over. in the night time when the silence is loudest, all you can feel and hear and see is a fucking desire to just disappear. because you believe that in the absence of you, the rest of the shit that weighs you down will somehow disappear as well. that maybe, you become free of the shit that you carry if you’re no longer around.

and you look for places to find encouragement. reading quotes. quoting scripture. talking to a friend. finding ways to find ways out of your own self is a conscious fight we must make.

i can’t tell you what the root of my depression is. i can tell you the many places in my life where i feel unaccomplished. alone. sad. hopeless. helpless. i don’t know if this shit is nature or nurture. i just know it is. i have dealt with it throughout my lifetime. and yes, there have been days when i didn’t want to deal with it and i thought about other options. it is difficult to wake up to our respective realities some times.

yes, i know that there are people who have it worst. but i compare myself to no one. i am carrying my own weight.

i agree with my friend that we must speak out more about this. it helps to know that we are not alone. it helps to talk it out with others in similar situations.

i know that this will pass.

but for the moment… it sits with me. breathes with me. sleeps with me. and weighs on me. and i walk with it.