Still cold out, still not feeling great.
Not really sure how to write this post without sounding like a big whiner, even to myself. I’m not even quite sure what exactly I want to say, let alone how to say it.
Expressing an opinion is a complicated thing, somehow. Much worse when emotions are involved. Personally, I’m not even sure it’s possible to explain an emotion to someone who doesn’t understand why you’re experiencing it, without having said emotion rise to the surface and express itself. Which is frustrating, because at that point – the moment an emotion is involved – the listener usually stops listening, if they were ever listening at all. The emotion drowns out the words; the meaning of the words is often lost.
A victim of abuse is expected to report and speak about the experience without emotion – clinically, removed from the event as though it happened to someone else, and almost as though it didn’t happen at all. As soon as the victim – specifically when it’s a woman – allows her emotions to surface when speaking about it, her experience of the attack is dismissed. Everything she does before, during, and after the incident becomes suspect, and is placed under scrutiny. She is asked to explain why she did the things she did, and why she didn’t do what those outside of the experience think they would have done in her place. Most of the time, no one really knows why we do the things we do in ANY situation, let alone a traumatic one. Yet victims of abuse – sexual, emotional, physical – are expected to not only figure out their own every move, how the attqcker’s actions were a reflection of their own, and then also explain it to someone else. An outsider. As though they are the ones who did something wrong.
The more one tries to explain their experience, the more they are questioned about their part in it, and asked about things that had nothing to do with the attack itself, the more upset, or frustrated, or angry, or any number of other things the victim becomes. The expression of emotion then drowns out the intent behind the original explanation in the first place. To report, to express, to scream a truth from the rooftops and proclaim it to be real.
Even if it’s not the nice, polite, politically correct or socially acceptable thing to do. Sometimes it’s just not possible to remain calm. Not when everything inside of you is screaming to come out.
Once emotion rises, all that can be seen is the result; the effect of the emotion on the individual. It drowns out everything else. It’s like trying to prove you’re not intoxicated after someone accuses you of being so. Everything you say and do after that appears to prove the accuser correct. Often by the end of it, you appear to be far more than drunk – you’re hysterical, or unstable, or enraged and a danger to yourself and others. Extreme emotions breed extreme perceptions. But not the correct ones.
A black man gets pulled over and detained by police how many times before he is “allowed” to be angry? How often must one’s entire existence in the world be overlooked based solely on the colour of their skin, before frustration turns to rage, and anyone else is able to see something other than an angry black guy? How long must someone be wronged and mistreated and yet still get out of bed each day, expected to be the better person, by not mentioning the things that are wrong?
How much can I write in a blog post before it starts sounding like a whiny lecture? Or a frustrated rant? Or any of the other terms that serve only to undermine my words and bury the point I am trying to make, thereby proving that point, but in a way that ensures no one sees it?