I recently reread “We Should All Be Feminists,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
and realized my reactions were different this time through. What originally invoked a passion of agreement has been replaced by a quieter response: forgiveness. It’s interesting because despite its mellow nature, I think this new emotion is a powerful one. It’s humble. It’s steady. And most importantly, it’s rooted in acceptance. Yet, it’s been difficult for me to share this change in heart, because I thought anger was the foundation to my beliefs. And I know I’m not alone. It’s an easy emotion to feel, especially right now. Whether it’s a pandemic, politics, job loss or one of the many other things to have gone awry at this time, most of us are angry about something and justly so.
Yet, this anger blinds us. It pushes us away from others. And when not kept in check—the issue we’re so angry about, often only gets worse. For me, my two biggest topics of sensitivity have been my gender and art profession. Whether it be comments on my appearance and femininity, or most recently, my choice to maintain my last name in marriage, my response had always been a defensive one. Plus, when you’re a practicing artist, people LOVE to comment, joke and question such a concept (and unfortunately, their content in the joke department is never original). However, I’m realizing in many cases, people genuinely don’t mean harm in their comments. In most instances, it is the result of curiosity, misunderstanding, or a negative experience. And even if a comment does come with the intention to harm, why should I indulge such an intention? As a result, I’m attempting to let go of my anger. It’s too tiring to hold onto. Instead, when I hear something I don’t like—I’m practicing forgiveness before I respond, reminding myself we’re all at different places in our understanding.
In the end, people are always going to have different views than our own. Yet, when we simply accept this, a lot more progress can be made. By responding to others with love, we invite them into dialogue. It doesn’t always work—however, it’s a lot easier to live a life filled with love than anger. Hence, it becomes a choice. And I’m tired of being angry—so I’m trying another route.