Why Being Angry In The Age of Trump Is Deadly
I need to save myself, fast!
Yes, it’s about Donald Trump, and the trappings that come with managing a hostile climate that breeds ill-will towards assigned enemies, representing the utter devastation of Black lives.
And of course it didn’t take a maniacal president with a penchant for radicalizing White terrorists for anyone of us to be fully aware of the real and present danger that police brutality exacts, or to comprehend the traitorous levy of a woefully biased judicial system.
But when your existence is an alarm clock that goes off every hour on the hour without any reprieve, due to the mechanisms of high-priced platforms that were built for this season of chaos, on the scale that enables the validation of evilness from the highest office in the land — there’s the threat of slowly but surely lose your shit.
Aside from the growing and unreasonable habit of tracking Twitter accounts belonging to enemies of the state with roaring clap backs that weirdly lighten the burden of discontent, there’s also the overall feeling of emotional and physical fatigue.
Getting older is a blessing but it’s also the brutal lesson in how some things will never change. You can only control so much. And even when you give all you’ve got, the outcome won’t match that investment. You keep trying to embrace daily reminders of how your best days are still ahead, but that’s a challenging task when the demise of another year is at hand.
You do the best you can to keep your head up.
As a writer, I find solace in the words that I create with the discipline that has helped to inspire other genres of expression, thereby opening up a whole new world that needed arousal.
But the mental disease of unrelenting despair that’s briefly alleviated with the Buddhist chants and CBD tinctures is a personal pain that has to be addressed accordingly sooner rather than later. And while I was planning on seriously exploring options for therapy in the new year, the awfulness of today frightens me into going with the “sooner” route.
The tense conservation that morning with my mother has become a frequent interaction that transpires from accumulated years of eventfulness. The good, the bad, the ugly and uglier starts demanding the attention that was delayed. And since the next decade looms with the danger of what unfinished business can deliver, it’s healthy to clean house when you can.
All I wanted was to head to the gym before the brisk walk to the shopping plaza to pick up necessary items. Visiting my parents in their neck of the woods is daunting when you’re not driving. As a longtime resident of New York City, I was accustomed to trekking or jogging everywhere with the least amount of obstacles.
But those privileges aren’ transferable to the rest of the country because drivers always have the right of way, which explains why it takes forever to cross the street. And when the light does change, you must run to make that small window and avoid getting hit.
The lack of sidewalks is also a bummer, and the apartment complex where my parents live tried to rectify that issue by carving out a slab that can barely fit a full-sized adult.
I noticed that as I made my way out of the entrance and towards the busy street to wait for the light. As I stood watching the cars go by, the feelings of irritation were settled in my sight. You think a lot when you’re at that age where everything is just as big a deal as you fear.
As I made my way down the hilly part after crossing the street, I was at least able to note that it was a gorgeous fall day. The two Black girls with their Chick-fil-A bags had joined my procession and walked ahead of me, and because their casual pace didn’t gel with my speed, I decided to step down from the fashioned sidewalk and come to street level.
After living in cities that traditionally devalue the safety of anything walking, I’ve been trained not to assume that drivers give a damn. This means keeping close to the curb when I’m close to to the street. And so I made sure to stay within the confines of the painted slab that indicated I was far enough away from the slow moving vehicles.
Suddenly there was a startlingly loud horn from behind and the car drove forward with the irate driver yelling that I was on the sidewalk.
The two Black girls immediately commented on the driver’s rudeness, and their reaction keyed into my shock and resentment, especially when I knew that he was being an asshole for the fuck of it. I definitely wasn’t the moving object purposely blocking his view.
The burning anger was intensified by the fact that he was a White male, and coupled with the Black girls echoing and confirming the obvious hostility, I was inspired to flip the bastard off.
His advantage was being able to drive off, while I kept walking in the same direction.
I knew I was on a mission even before I could stop myself.
The sweltering inferno had devoured me in seconds, and the only way to cool off was to let it all out. He parked where I could get to him, and as he got out of his car, and I got a glimpse of his gym attire, for some reason, there was even more fury breathing out of me.
I stood in the middle of the parking area and gave him the finger again, which encouraged his curses, and motivated me to say something that I’ve never said before, at least not on a Saturday morning, in a family friendly shopping center.
I won’t say exactly what it was because I’m too mortified, but it was in reference to his race.
As soon as the words fell out, I found the cold chill that I thought would make me feel better.
By the time I returned to myself, my whole body was covered in sweat and I was shaking uncontrollably. Getting that angry has happened before, but it was usually regulated to the discipline of saving my energy for those who deserve it, instead of bonafide idiots.
The fact that I wasn’t willing to just keep it moving, and insisted on hunting my prey, for the duty of letting him know why he was a piece of shit, which had more to do with the color of skin, was an unnerving realization that shook me to the core.
First off, I could’ve gotten blasted away by this dude, and the authorities would blame me for my murder based on bystanders, who would readily attest to how the enraged Black woman forced the burly White guy to defend himself.
And then there’s the glaring evidence of how the internalized data from the “summer of hate” when White folks were calling the cops on Black folks, occupying the spaces that belong to every human, must’ve stuck around for the manifestations that you don’t see coming.
We think we’re okay.
As long as the daily rituals are fulfilled without disruptions , there’s no incentive for check-ins, just to re-affirm that we’re not stealthily falling apart at the seams.
I’m not regretful for the first “fuck you,” but I hate that it escalated to the point where I became unrecognizable.
At the same time, I’m willing to give myself a break, as a Black woman, who can’t afford to act out like her White counterparts without strong the likelihood that I could be arrested or worse.
But most importantly, it’s apparent that I have to proactively seek the self-care that will keep me centered and protected in the knowledge of how I’m too precious to resort to street fights with grown adult males, who have won even before the gauntlet opens.
I am most certainly angry, and this disposition retains the heat that explodes before I can duck for cover.
I don’t want to be the Black woman who downplayed how those temperatures can rise just in time for the encounters that will turn a mid-morning stroll into the journey that won’t bring me back, for reasons that weren’t worth the gamble.
Everything is about race, it always has been.
I was convinced the White guy who sternly blew that horn at me, did so as a way to embarrass and demean, and since it was blatantly unprovoked, it instinctively felt like a racist attack.
Maybe I was wrong to rush to that conclusion, but either way, I shouldn’t have invited more shit to the pile with that confrontation. And I absolutely shouldn’t have said what I said because I know better.
There are things I have to change and probably scrub away from my calendar of activities in order to prepare for the bigger assignment of tending to the exposed nerves, that are so much more entangled than I could’ve imagined.
These times are not ordinary or livable, and while we do our best to navigate through the terrain of lawlessness with the tools of disengagement, the falsehood of our mental state only buckles when real life drives though — fast and furious.
What happened makes it’s clear that drastic adjustments must be made.
Once I re-entered the complex after the mess, and made my way down the driveway to the apartments, paying extra attention to the painted stain of a sidewalk, I walked past a lovely young Black woman, who gave me the most amazing smile, which I happily reciprocated
Only then did the hot tears stream down.
Yeah, I have to save myself, fast!