I keep trying to stop being so angry. I close my eyes and will myself to let it go, the way I was always taught to let things go. but lately there have been some things that don’t go away. I find myself unable to stop being bitter over some things. I know I’m worse off for carrying all that weight, but somehow I still can’t let it go.
how can I? it all just adds up.
I am so angry at this fucking pandemic. I’m angry at the way my government has handled it. I’m embarrassed the way the church has handled it. I’m ashamed of the way my friends have handled it. I’m angry at the way this pandemic has taken so much from me; my job, my ability to eat, and my sense of security. I think of how much more it has taken from other people. There are so many high-risk individuals who go to work every day because the government hasn’t given them any other option. There are nurses who work insane hours in packed ICU’s only to come home to family members who deny covid’s severity and downplay its impact. Its being fed the rhetoric every day that “its okay because only those with pre-existing conditions die!!” Its all so infuriating. I miss my friends and my community and crying on the El just as much as anyone else, but to risk others lives for that community is so insanely selfish, and yet I routinely see this endangering behavior.
I’m so angry at church and the way I dropped off the email lists and phone call rounds as soon as I came out. I’m sure no one knows what to say. I’m ashamed that I ever thought they would have a different response. It was silly to think the communities that raised me would stick by me after I followed Jesus into a life they deemed sinful because I didn’t look like an American Christian anymore. Because of course, there is no other way to be a christian, is there? I wish I could stop being angry at them and their arrogance, but sometimes I find myself weeping while I wash the dishes because it hits me that I miss church so fucking deeply and yet only certain parts of me would ever be welcomed there. I’m so fucking pissed off not because I hate the church or because I’m bitter but because I miss her and know she’s better than this. I dream of the day where Christianity is no longer synonymous with hatred and homophobia. I pray for the day I see a pride flag in the windows of my home church, displayed proudly for all to see. One day, the church will be the voice on the forefront of social justice, a place that amplifies the voices of people of color, feeds the homeless, and houses the immigrant and the refugee. I know that day is possible, but right now…right now I wish I had eloquent words but the truth is, I am just so fucking disappointed.
I’m angry that no matter how much time passes, I still ache over losing my best friend. People have told me to get over it and focus on the friends I have, but no one seems to understand the pain of having someone you love so deeply cut you out of their life in such a harsh way. I don’t think I understand it fully myself. When I lost my best friend, I lost a community of people along with her. I’m supposed to be okay with the idea that the narrative that will be told about me is that I am sinner, one that would rather enjoy sinful sex than be a holy christian like everyone else. People will say that its a shame that I’m politically corrupt, sexually deviant, and say they are praying for my soul. I don’t have the heart to tell people like this that I pray for the American Church the same way they pray about me being gay. I pray they will change their ways and repent.
I have sat by and said nothing while people and places that professed to care about me have routinely endangered my life and the lives of others by continuing to meet in person and to encourage meeting in person. People who spent nights in the ER crying with me are the same ones I’ve seen posting maskless wedding photos because their selfish faith have made it okay to endanger lives rather than “burn with passion.” and I’m sorry, but fuck that. I’m angry and I have a right to be. This year I have seen nothing but the absolute worst in people. This year challenged the belief I fight for; the belief that people are inherently good. People are on my last fucking straw.
Why do I keep trying? That’s the painful truth. People keep letting me down and I keep coming back for seconds. Maybe its my need to be a martyr that I got from growing up evangelical. Maybe its trauma and daddy issues. Or maybe I’m just a communally-focused person living in an individualistic society that has tried to brainwash me into believing that salvation in an individual concept rather than a communal one. I hate believing that healing is a community effort, because that means I need to bring the neighbors I don’t like up to speed before I can make progress. It means lagging behind to educate other people, being willing to learn from other people, and always being humble in the process.
Life would be simpler if I believed in the myth of the American Dream, like D. L Mayfield writes. I wouldn’t feel obligated to fight for LGBTQ rights in church. I wouldn’t need to stay home and quarantine because I wouldn’t care about others wellbeing. I would be able to really stop caring that people think I’m a bad person, because I wouldn’t care how they treated people as long as I have the convenience of being able to opt out of community with them. I would certainly be less angry. Life would be easier. Simpler.
But I’ve spent most of my life avoiding my anger because it made other people uncomfortable. Anger isn’t a welcomed emotion in the church, but God welcomes anger all the time in the bible. I think its time I welcomed it too. Anger tells the story of being hurt, of being in a vulnerable place and being abandoned there. Anger lets people know that I have been hurt and I will not be allowing that hurt back again. My anger is justified. My anger isn’t a burden or a mistake. My anger comes from my desire to give a shit about other people. I have tried to be selfish and make goals that center on my flourishing, but God always knocks away those plans and I find myself consistently in the company of those that the church has kicked out, making its own little church. Its only little community, one that is centered around mutual aid and respect. This is where I’m supposed to be.
I’ve found a lot of other people who give a shit. And we’re all angry, as we should be. I’m done trying to be angry. Being less angry only ever served those who wanted me to be quiet. And honestly, I no longer trust people who aren’t pissed off right now. There is too much at stake, too much going on, for people to choose complacency. If you are silent, you side with the oppressor. If you are not repulsed by the daily influx of injustices we see in our world every day, I don’t think I can trust you. We live in a world where the richest of the rich have made a profit since entering a global pandemic, good people die in ICU’s alone, and church’s have no problem staying silent when Black people are killed by police.
so yeah, I’m angry, and honestly, you should be too.