Embodied Knowledge, Simmering Rage
Originally posted on equitableeval.org on May 8, 2020
A few friends/colleagues encouraged me to write about the simmering rage I referred to in an earlier writing. I am doing so by writing about this experience through my senses in an attempt to share the multi-sensory experience of deep cognition - knowing. In transparency, I was not yet ready to go back to that place but the invitation to do the de-intellectualization I ask others to do compels me to do so.
As context matters, I started being aware of shifts in my being the first weekend of March - running through all my senses (hearing, smell, sound, taste, and touch). I suspect my first visit to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson had something to do with it. I knew something.
On May 6th, a vivid video of a modern-day lynching in Georgia was made public. It showed a black man, Ahmaud Arbery being hunted by White male supremacists for no other reason than he was black and because they could get away with it. (Update: On May 7th they were charged with murder and aggravated assault).
I began to write.
As May 6th moved from dawn to dusk, I could feel shifts within myself and thought it best to capture what I had been noticing so that I could allow myself to be present in the now.
Before I tell you where I’m at, a little about who and where I’ve been: If you don't know me, I am someone who enjoys life. I see the glass (made of vintage crystal) half full of yummy brut champagne. I am a foodie. I work out and try to stay and look one day younger than I am. I don't hold grudges. I laugh a lot. I also cry a lot. I don't really enjoy people but I go out of my way to connect with folks to try to understand and support them to be who they want to be. For those who find value in personality and trait assessments: I am an INTJ with all elements of my Introversion being at the extreme; my StrengthsFinder top strength is Relational; and in 5 Dynamics I am deliberate in “explore and excite” and effortless in “examining and execute.” I am a Sagittarius with Aquarius as my rising sign and Scorpio as my moon sign.
If you did not read the prior post about my feelings during this time, you might want to take a quick skim. Not necessary, but as I stated earlier: context matters.
Unless otherwise noted, the time frame for these observations is from March 16 through May 5, 2020.
How I’m experiencing embodied, simmering rage through my senses:
Whether it is from the machinery and technology from which we cannot separate ourselves or the words we utter repeatedly to those who are like us -essentially singing to the choir - it is a cacophony of noise to me at this point. It feels intellectual, accusatory, soulless and often cruel and willfully ignorant. So I have found myself turning back to music. The music of my childhood - a simpler, more joyous time. I can easily move between Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Bill Withers, Jim Croce, Lynyrd Skynrd, Billy Joel and Janet Jackson singing every word of every song. In doing so the voices in my head are silenced - for a while.
I have been walking about 5 to 6 miles a day and my route, not unlike that of the bees, has become one where I seek flowers/blooms whose scents fill my whole body. Jasmine is intoxicating and if the wind is just right when I inhale I am enveloped and transported. I have a low resting heart rate - as I write this, it is at about 60 bpm - so I am pretty chill. And yet there is closeness in my chest that is constricting. The same with my core. It feels as if my abs are in a semi-constant state of partial crunch. I find that deep breaths loosen the tightness for a bit and allow me the deep, full-body breaths I need.
I find myself not wanting to look at humans (I have an incredibly high TV intake - in fact, I am watching Legacies while I write this - I love the supernatural). I quickly turn away from any images of groups of people, particularly if they are primarily White. Images of the current inhabitants of 1600 Pennsylvania (how they’re referred to in our home) and anyone else aligned with them cannot be moved away from quick enough. I understand how this United States was founded and I have watched an inordinate amount of WWII documentaries on Nazi Germany. I have seen this before.
I am drawn to nature. I am fascinated by the rhythms - comings and goings. I am looking at birds with renewed interest and awe. Their attunement to what is around them - whether it is safe is profound. They sense a predator species miles high and scatter long before it lands on the telephone pole. Bees are an indicator species - their behavior tells us much about our behavior. I find myself walking around my neighborhood looking for signs of bees as a reassurance that we have not completely destroyed our planet. When I hear their buzz, I stop and wait and if I wait long enough, I find the rosemary or the holly tree or whatever is blooming is filled with them. They pay me no mind. I find that assuring.
For someone as particular as I am about what I eat, I have no appetite. I don't crave what I used to crave. I often make a plate and halfway through I am done. I simply don't care.
I am a very tactile person. Chalk it up to attending an all-girls school during developmental years. If you have been within arms reach I have touched you. I find myself not wanting to touch and not wanting to be touched. And yet I have a desire to be physical in a way that frees my mind from the anger, sadness, hopefulness and critical thinking which are inextricably weaved together at this moment. I crave to feel and to be free to do so without feelings.
I offer these observations as one human clinging onto her hopes for humanity.
I invite each of us to remember and unleash our humanity in the work we need to do to make us worthy of this planet and each other.
My simmering rage both fuels and exhausts me. It keeps me alive with a deeper level of understanding in my body and in my soul not just in my head of what is at stake: Everything.