Anger drives readership. Division is sexy. I want people who oppose or just don’t understand transgender people and issues to see things through the eyes of a loving parent. It’s my hope that through the lens of love, that views will change. In my next post I will share how this has succeeded and made a difference. But there’s a thought I cannot escape, if I am angry or divisive I get hits, if I say something that triggers the bitterness in others, I get hits. If I go to war with the United Methodist Church I get readers and comments. Should I complain how a major food chain happened to have a waitress who said things that hurt my son’s feelings, the same result. I recently wrote about a group who falsified data about transgender youth and got record hits and angered a lot of conservative evangelicals.
There are other things I have written about that I also wanted people to read, and they just did not connect with the public. The beauty of transitioning and becoming was something I wish more allies and enemies would read. I also lament that more people did not read about the difference transgender youth make when they band together.
The constructive and the simple are not celebrated as often as they could. We, as a society, seem to love being angry at someone or something. There’s an obsession with opposition and we share things that make us mad. At water coolers and online we enjoy to talk about the things that we find incredulous and say cruel things about others.
In 2006, Dr Maya Angelou said the following:
You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.
I am seeing first hand what cancer does when it eats away at someone. My mother was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the mouth. Yesterday they cut out a significant portion of her mouth and jaw and replaced it with bone from her tibia and metal plating. I do not know how much longer she will be alive, but the rest of her life will never be the same because of the cancer.
Anger that becomes bitterness will change you, it will twist you and deform you. It will eventually destroy you. It will do nothing to the object of your displeasure. I used to think my anger was bad and I should not get greater readership when I write from a place of anger.
Anger is an aspect of love. We get angry when those we love are hurt by someone. We get angry when we see injustice. If we express it an a constructive and healthy manner, we can change the world. If we allow it to fester within, we will be consumed by it and lash out like a rabid animal trapped in a corner.
Peace and love and butterflies did not start the movements that changed the world and rights of countless others in a vacuum. It was anger that people who were loved by someone were being mistreated. It was the energy that gave someone the ability to create and construct change.
Over the last week, I have had to delete comments on my blog that called transgender readers, and my son, horrible things in threatening ways. These people are bitter. They are twisted and deformed. Their words are monstrous. The response to my anger was bitterness. My anger built awareness. My anger seeped in love for my child shined a light on the darkness of their bitterness.
I can live with a little anger. Maybe the sublime doesn’t get as many hits and comments, but I will keep writing those posts as well. Because beauty matters and if I do not write about that, I will forget what I am using anger to fight for. I am fighting for that which I love most in this world. My family is what I love. My son is beautiful. He’s not a mistake, an abomination, or insane. The narrative of bitterness is destructive, my anger seeped in love is building things.