you could say we're pissed
This post is to help the people who aren’t feeling the feelings.
The last few days have probably been pretty trippy for you, huh?
Everyone around you looks like they got the flu at a funeral.
The women in your life have been meaningfully silent, glued to their monitors, sequestered with their earbuds. Someone cried. Someone called in sick. She keeps grinding her teeth. Something’s going around.
Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you, why the women are taking this so hard. I mean, you get why we’d be pissed, but this seems excessive.
Allow me to explain.
Yeah, you could say we’re pissed.
Although “pissed” feels a little far over on the “peeved” side of the rage spectrum to be fully accurate. I’d say many of us are enraged? Like, biblically? In a way that feels ancient and eternal, possibly even like a supernatural portal to infinite bubbling righteous fury?
We are incandescent. We are roaring. We feel dangerous. It’s a rush and a panic to recognize that we feel an urge for physical violence and destruction. We wish a motherfucker would. We want to hurt people. Having been hurt ourselves, this feeling scares us even as it comforts us, the way you might feel if you put a loaded gun in the bedside drawer.
I’ll confess, I’ve been luxuriating in wildly satisfying fantasies of violence against these men.
I want Lindsey Graham to do the Game of Thrones Naked Shame Walk for 40 days and 40 nights through densely populated areas, while he recites his unhinged monologue from the hearing on loop. I want him to know how it feels to be the smallest voice in a crowd that fucking hates you and will scream you into silence, or turn their backs on you as if you could not, even in your spectacular shame, make any impact whatsoever on their day.
I want to pepper spray Chuck Grassley right in the asshole. Yeah, I said it. I have a can of bear spray that I want to shove straight up his pooper. I want him to be embarrassed about the nature of his pain.
I want to punch Orrin Hatch in the throat every time he tries to talk. I want him to feel what it’s like to stop yourself before you speak, to weigh if it’s going to be worth the pain.
I want to stuff Brett Kavanaugh into a medium-sized dog crate full of greasy, black Brooklyn train track rats that haven’t eaten in a week. I want him to feel a thousand tiny nibbles on his skin. I want him to panic. I will let him out when he is sorry for being one of those fucking rats.
I would never do any of those things, but it feels good to imagine having power over these men. It feels good to imagine my power until I remember that my power is imaginary.
Anger is a useful emotion for people who are in unbearable pain.
And please understand (although if you don’t, you won’t be able to. It’s not the kind of thing you can imagine) that it is painful to try to convince someone that you matter. “Please care about me,” is a hard argument to make without shame, because the fact that you’re making it means two things are true: they don’t care about you, and you do care about them. It’s hard not to feel alone when you beg the people who write your laws to care about you, and they close the elevator door.
It’s safer to say, “Fuck you,” than “Please don’t hurt me anymore.”
“Fuck you” means nobody cares.
It hurts to be the unmet hand.
You never really know when someone is going to slap you.
You never know when to stop reaching out.
We are pissed and we are afraid. The spectacle of anger we saw in Brett Kavanaugh scares us on an animal level. Most of us have spent our lives monitoring our faces, softening our voices, and contorting ourselves into pleasing shapes in order to avoid ever being in a room with that man, yelling from his red, twisted face. I wanted to run from him and hide. I wanted to run to him and soothe him.
You could call it pissed, the primordial lava flow of rage that flowed through me when I felt the untrustworthy impulse to comfort an angry man who will write laws about my body. It made me angrier that you felt sure we would be fine with his belligerence, that you were surprised anyone believed the woman. It made me furious when you expressed annoyance at our insistence that she be heard. Who do we think we are, asking questions? Who in the hell do we think we are, wanting answers? And after you already let us ask the questions? Cheese and crackers, how greedy can we be?
We are pissed and we are grieving. We revisit the moments that divided our lives into before and after. We remember there was a before. We loved the girls we were. It hurts to know they were hurt. We look at our friends. We look at our children. We look at our grandparents. We love the girls they were, too.
It hurts every time someone we love remarks on the admirable accomplishments of a man who hates women. We grieve when you do that. We grieve for the death of our trust in you.
Our untrustworthy impulses will remind us to confide in you so we don’t make you mad. We are furious. We grieve.
Yeah, you could say that we’re pissed.
You could also say that we’re in pain.
Some of us have stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Some of us have migraine headaches, light sensitivity.
Some of us ache in our bones and muscles.
Some of us feel shooting pain in our limbs. Some of us have chills.
Some of us are on the ground with back spasms.
Some of us are eating soup for dinner because our jaws ache from clenching and grinding.
We are pissed and we are not sleeping well.
If we can fall asleep we have nightmares. Some of us wake up with our eyelashes crusted from crying, unconsciously.
We are pissed and crying at the gym while we realize that a thing we used to do for fun has become a thing we are doing to survive.
We are pissed and taking another shower.
All of these symptoms add up to something that you may never understand. If you don’t understand, you won’t be able to imagine it. It’s not that kind of feeling.
The women you know are walking around
like they got the flu at a funeral
because we are ill and grieving
and questioning the meaning
of anything at all.
The women you know have just been reminded how many of them live as unmet hands that have been reaching out into space since the moment that divided before and after.
They’ve waited for someone to reach back and say, “I care about what happened to you. I will be with you.”
And what just happened was we had a hearing where everyone talked about the Christine Ford’s hand.
There were motions about what to call that unmet hand.
There was an orderly debate about how nice her hand is, how confused her hand must be, to be reaching out to these men.
And after the whole spectacle in which a woman stood in the middle of the entire fucking world with her hand open, asking for someone to say, “I care,” they voted to leave the hand unmet. They voted to walk away from her.
We know exactly how that feels.
So yeah. We’re taking it hard.
It’s fucking humiliating.
We are grieving. We are discovering how many people we love won’t stand next to us.
We are afraid, ashamed, in pain all over our bodies.
And it’s not even fucking over. Not even this round.
You could say we’re pissed.
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