Yesterday, a coworker referred to something my boss frequently asks me to do as “pulling out the old dog and pony show.” I was offended. Was it ageism or sexism or both? My husband said I should just keep quiet and live with it.
I woke up this morning wondering about an older woman’s relevance in our society. We organize things. We clean up afterward. We push our children and young people to succeed, to take care of themselves, and to try to enjoy the process. We are the primary people responsible to cook and clean at home. We work with enthusiasm, sometimes hard-won enthusiasm, at our jobs as well. We are to accept what crumbs are given to us and we are intended to be grateful. It is expected.
And yet, though we organize things, we don’t run them for the most part. Though we clean up the confetti and the balloons when it’s over, we are not the belle of the ball or the handsome prince who commands it. We are supposed to be in the background, fairy godmothers who make everything beautiful and perfect.
We are supposed to be the invisible structure, the joists under the floorboards. When they make noise, they have to be fixed or it annoys people.
We are not supposed to get angry. I remember my mother trying to instill that message into me, trying and failing. When a doctor regularly grabbed her breast at work, she felt she had to avoid rather than confront him. This was her message to me as well. It was my fault if I couldn’t prevent this kind of assault. What was I wearing to work the day it happened to me?
Fuck that noise.
Fuck my responsibility to be silent, to always support the featured reader, to be the one to hand the baton off to the new generation of raw talent. I want to tell the arrogant among them to hone his craft and come back to me if he wants to hear some examples. I want to tell him to look up the pronunciation of the words he speaks. Otherwise, he should get the hell out of the way and listen for a change.
I am angry. I am entitled to be angry. Younger people, especially men who expect it’s their due to run things, should shut up, sit down, and listen.
I am angry that people say that a white man should be nominated as the Democratic candidate for the 2020 election because that's the only way to win the election. Fuck that. I want a candidate who is an LGBT African American/Hispanic Muslim woman so that I can vote for her to become President. It's about time. It's past time.
Yesterday, I was angry at a young white guy who drove six miles an hour under the speed limit, but sped up and wouldn’t let me pass him as two lanes merged into one. Do you see the metaphor in that? Road rage is always a metaphor.
I started reading the book Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly. Even in the first and second chapters, I was reminded of the myriad ways I was supposed to have stayed quiet, to be nice, to smile, to let someone else have the credit for what I just fucking said. Thank you Soraya Chemaly. This book is wonderfully dangerous.
I think I will speak out now because there are so many reasons why I am still angry. Are you listening?
Thank you for listening, jules