Let me begin with an apology. I am sorry I neglected you for so very long. Like the tenderest parts of me, you cried out for attention, to be seen, to be heard, to be acknowledged for just existing, to be accepted for who you were just as you were. I knew you were there but I ignored you, and for that I am so profoundly sorry. You deserved better.
The truth is, I was afraid of you. When others around me expressed their rage it scared me, so I became afraid of what you might do if I let you out. Their anger made me withdraw from them. I didn’t want anyone to abandon me so I learned to tamp you down and not let others know you existed.
My religious and spiritual beliefs also turned me against you. I was led to believe that God had the right to wield both love and anger, but I was to love only. I was taught that expressing you was a failure of spiritual awakening, an immature consciousness. Love, peace, and joy were among the acceptable divine attributes and indicators of successful spiritual practice. You were to be shunned.
Compounding all this, anger expressed by a Black body in predominantly white spaces was seen as more dangerous and frightening, so I restrained you in order to fit in. To this day you are the emotion many do not want to see from me – my motus non grata. There was no space for you within me, no space for you outside of me.
In spite of my best efforts, however, you couldn’t always be contained. I remember the times there wasn’t enough of me to restrict the fullness of you, and I unleashed you on those I loved the most. I felt ashamed for hurting them, embarrassed for seeming out of control. I blamed you and tried to suppress you even more.
And when six people close to me died in the span of five years, you could no longer be silenced. With grief as your vehicle, your tank really, you broke through and broke down every self-imposed barrier with a cathartic fury. With you came a sense of wholeness I did not know existed because when I denied you I was denying a part of myself. When I denied you I felt paralyzed, numb, disconnected, because you were the perfect emotion for the moment.
To love all of me means I have to love all of you. I love you because you let me know when there is a misalignment both internally and externally. When there are injustices and lapses in love you are often the catalyst that spurs me to speak louder, march farther, love harder, transform deeper. To love all of me means to love you, and to share you in spaces where you are not welcome because of others’ unexamined fear-based tropes which led them to construct rules of decorum intended to silence, censor, control, and shame.
You are as Divine as all the other more acceptable and comfortable attributes. I embrace and love you. You are a smoldering fire within, keeping me warm and alive. I visit and tend to you every day, no longer estranged, but unified in purpose.
In the words of author and activist Valerie Kuar, “The aim of Divine Rage is not vengeance but to reorder the world.” Let us continue to create a beautiful inner and outer world together, a world of love, justice, and liberation.
All my love,
[A version of this post was originally published in Unity Magazine Sep/Oct 2023 issue]