It’s always a good time for reflection I find, and matters that warrant reflection tend to find us even when we don’t want them. For me it was last Thursday night. While speaking to another blogger about the way my career if you can classify teaching as such impacts everything else. The way I’ve found myself separated from my writing.
A bypasser happened by just as I was relating my disdain for “the Angry Black Woman” stereotype and how the anger generated by my work was something I didn’t want channeled into this place, and in passing he simply said, “But you are an angry black woman.” -_- I cant dispute the black part, but the rest of it…
At first I was all full on denial. I was all “How could you” and “Me? Seriously?” But the more I thought about it, he was right. Not in the way he thought he was, as he plastered that innocent look on his face and stared me down quietly dismissing my protests. You see when he thinks of the Angry women he thinks of the man-basher, the femnazi, the decry-er of all penile possessors. He knew he was right, I am angry, but he has no clue why. Thanks to him, I can come to terms with why I am angry.
Now I’m going to clear my air and let it all come out. Why? Because I don’t ever wanna be that stereotype. I outgrew her in college, I disdain her in my peers and my elders, and I resent her presence in me.
Being a teacher alone gives me more than enough reason to be angry. The broken system, the endless parade of social issues, the lacking resources, the ever rising workload and the qualifications my “betters” refuse to acknowledge, the pay that inflation and taxation shrink daily. The helplessness, the hopelessness, the undeniable truth, that I, in the eyes of anyone outside the immediate environs of my profession, am worth little to nothing, yet this thing has consumed everything. This I say with authority after an all nighter marking. Yes I am pissed off, but that isn’t the end of it.
I am angered by the state of affairs of these 108 square miles and the refusal of my people to see and do. I am angered by the allergy people seem to have to self respect, and knowledge and the English language. By the fact that so many of us are too bogged down with surviving to even try to achieve our dreams. Even simple ones like mine, of a piece of the rock to call mine and the assurance of my next meal and that of my children. Because even the comfortably middle class, who have to work three jobs for the assurance, can’t attain that anymore. Though all things are built on the backs and tax dollars of the middle classes. I’m angry that I seem to be the only one angry.
Even removed from all that, I am a woman. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think I know how to be anything else. I don’t think I could ask for a better defining feature than the fact that my body has nurtured and ushered into this world, three souls that I believe can change the game, if they ever use their powers for good and stop trying to outsmart me. I am angered by men. Men like that self same boy, and that it’s women like me that have created their sense of inferiority.
Now a little background to that. I am an Antiguan Woman, the grand daughter of two strong women, who endured and endured things that until recently I didn’t think people were capable of enduring in the name of children and family. Notice how my Grandfathers have no real place in that statement? Both great men, both made contributions to community and country that are worthy of note, and while they have constituted the face of the family they were not and have never been the driving force behind them. They were allowed the freedom to do those things by the women who so diligently tended their affairs and raised their children even without them at times. Even ensuring that those same children were ones of whom they could be proud.
My people have never been ones ruled by patriarchy except in government, and I strongly suspect it’s because women, up until now, have had better things to do than sit in parliament debating all the things that were only abstract concepts compared to the actual practicality of running a home, a country.
Still our men have developed, probably in the shadow of out of place versions of the social disparity, that they are somehow relegated by women to shut up and sit still. To be seen and not heard. And it’s true to an extent. Because that is the way it has always been.The men worked, they bought home some of the home’s earnings and did little else to the maintenance of home and family.
The “modern” man is a creature of expectant looks to mother or wife, when things go sideways, of little or no action in the day to day, with a lethargic approach to all things, justified by the bravado of such statements as “I do what I want when I want.” when most times what you should want is the best for yourself, for your family, for your community, and such should get off you ass and do, not hesitating because the woman you forced to do the thinking actually did it.
To make the matter worse, and maybe we Antiguan women are to blame as well, letting someone or someplace delude us into thinking that we are somehow subservient to the men and not the other way around. Our men bawl constantly, about not getting respect or being bashed for their manlyness. When really the model of patriarchal leadership they think they are entitled to is not endemic to who we are, well…not domestically anyway. I’ll leave politics to our worldwide rankings.
So why bawl? Why not live up and take a place, not as the all powerful patriarch which we all know is not ever going to a thing here. But as an equal partner, a participant in all the important things that men are too manly to do. Make us see you as equals and not whine about how we don’t. Don’t hide in caves and boy clubs, behind memes and rhetoric, and careless playboy image and the thug life. Just be. Show us you are, in your words and your actions. Be more than your grandfathers and maybe then women won’t see you as the lump on the other side of the penis. Just saying. Its not the hate of men, it’s the lack of them, that fuels this.
Believe it or not, all that was supposed to be a side note. Now it’s 7 paragraphs I refuse I won’t apologize for.
Needless to say all this in home and work and country are all contributing factors to me big an angry woman. I don’t know where to go from here, and I know if I do more than scratch the surface I won’t stop writing, and I still got stuff to do, high Saturday for work and the delightful domesticity people tell me is bliss. Not such a thing.
So I’ll stop there and go back to my quiet place, hoping this angry passes before I do.