shapes of anger
10 Oct, 2017
Feeling comfortable and at ease in my body has helped me to scrape together vital strength and pride, and it has enabled me to be socially defiant. These things obviously leave elements of grief in their wake, because of that stubborn residue of implicit social invalidity and immobility. It leaves me wondering what it’s like not to be reflexively brave all the time, or unfaltering in my patience with others, and with my body-mind. I occasionally yearn for the effortless simplicity of not having to constantly bridge the abundant gaps between my mind and my body, and between my identity and social assumptions of who I am, to just conduct my life. I have trouble sitting with this, as it feels too much like self-pity, too much like I’m insulting the perfectly adequate body I have.
Nonetheless I can understand this sort of grief as an intuitive consequence of moving through a society that has narrow ideas about bodily appearance and productivity. Still, I feel the absence of being proficient at doing any task, of not being able to have random conversations about anything that comes to my brain, or even quickly typing an e-mail. But these are phantom losses, intensified by social pressures and then by my own impatience, they are things I haven’t ever had, they are stuff that my mind-body configuration just isn’t capable of, but then again, it has never been. This is obviously so draining, and it persistently teaches me humility and how to really be present, teaches me to let go of trivial nonsense.
Whenever this intrinsic grief (and exhaustion) gets turned outward, usually as a fleeting and imprecise adjustment of focus, and I momentarily feel it as rage, I begin to feel like I am caving in. I feel like I am being choked by the prevailing damaging social narratives about disability and how I should be. Anger, as a sensation in my body, has always seemed like a smokescreen to me. It deadens my nerve-endings, and makes any other emotional coordinates hard to analyse and distinguish, therefore it seems like yet another layer which can restrict, divide and embroil. It makes it harder to be patient with myself and others. I often feel like aggression erodes any capacity to connect with people, make peace within my body, and just cultivate meaning and calm...