Reading my writing over again. During the past five years, there has been a lot of anger manifesting as violence in it. Some of the violence was real and witnessed, some of it was imagined. It seems like a lot of my processing began in anger and ended up written down or fictionalised.
I’m not generally an angry person, and maybe that has been because my writing has been an outlet for the anger. The things I get angry about now are huge things and no longer my day-to-day. I get angry over injustice-at-large, but not over perceived injustices to myself.
I no longer say “I’m so angry.” Anger begets violence. An elder taught me that nothing good comes out of anger – I need to operate out of love.
That shift has shown up quite blatantly in my writing. I hadn’t realised that until now. Witnessing violence is scarring, but it has also taught me that responding in kind is detrimental. Witnessing carries a responsibility of re-telling, ensuring that the events that have passed are documented, learned from, and hopefully never repeated.
I used to say I write because I have to. While that’s true, I also write because I have an obligation to re-tell. To make sure that certain things aren’t left out of history. Factors beyond my control – my gender, my race, my ethnic group – put me in situations where I am constantly witnessing violence against others like me. I’m privileged enough to be in a position to talk about these things. To write about them.
I won’t pick up a weapon, but I’ll wield my words in the same way.