Sometimes there aren’t words adequate to communicate one’s feelings, sentiment, reaction. For instance, “fuck” is sometimes the only appropriate response that encompasses the passionate feeling that needs both a sound and emotion. “Oh, no!” just doesn’t even begin to capture the feeling of “no, no way, are you kidding me, or you serious, that can NOT be reality, unacceptable, totally UNACCEPTABLE, unbelievable, cannot be happening, really unwanted, disappointment, disgust, need a do-over, retract, reject, nuh-uh, sorry-but-not-happening, or simply added emphasis to any other adjective. Saying “That’s gross” is amplified by saying “That’s FUCKING gross”. Saying “It’s too high a price” is amplified by saying “That is too FUCKING high a price”. So, hopefully, now the listener understands at least some of the intensity of emotion that is felt. One would hope, but some of us are not too bright. Some of us are FUCKING dense, or FUCKING not listening.

Half the state of Texas is frozen. Literally frozen. People are doing their best to survive in their homes with no heat, no water, no sewage disposal (they have asked many to not flush their toilets), and temperatures in the single digits or less at nigiht. This is apparently the result of a privatized effort to manage the electrical grid, not for purposes of lowering cost, and not for purposes of more efficient management and maintenance. It seems the primary motivation to privatize the grid was so they wouldn’t be interconnected with any other grids, other states. They didn’t want to be forced to share in times of emergency, so now that emergency is on THEIR plates, nobody can chip in to help. And they can’t seem to find a solution with both hands and a flashlight. So people are suffering, and they are resorting to “rolling black outs” to attempt to manage the disaster. That means your power might be working for an hour, then *click* it goes off, for some undetermined period, then *click* it might return. Or not. You have no idea. If you’re on oxygen, or medical equipment that requires power to operate, you’re gonna have a really long day, and night, and next day, and next night, for goodness knows how long. This is nuts. Even more laughable, if it wasn’t so FUCKING ridiculous, people are already getting power bills more than triple their normal price. So, they have to actually pay EXTRA for the mismanagement of their service. What a great solution! They apparently a) didn’t pay attention to weather forecasts for the area, and b) didn’t have sufficient capacity to compensate for an extraordinary peak in usage, whicch this is. Are they offering amnesty for unusually high bills through all of this? No. Are they offering even an apology for the inconvenience? No. Are they offering ANY solution to prevent this from happening again? Um, no. Three strikes, and they have no penalty. That’s a fumble, an interception, and an incomplete pass simultaneously. And they have no penalty, or loss of yardage, or points scored against them. Nothing. I am hoping this ain’t over until the fat lady sings, and I have no intention of breaking into song anytime soon.

Anyway, I find quite often that white supremacy attempts to dictate cultural norms. I cuss. I cuss a lot. Sometimes, when I’m excited about something – a concept, an idea, a conversation – I speak loudly. I’m not angry, although when I AM angry, I will speak loudly. When I’m with other women of color, there’s not a problem, not even an eyebrow raised. Even when the loud volume is due to frustration or anger, it’s met head on. And then we get past it. No big deal, unless you talk about my mama, my spouse, or my children. We just drive on. There’s a way of expressing frustration without getting personal, and we get that. Mere utterance of “foul” words and invectives does not constitute a “foul” conversation, or inappropriateness. When I deal with groups of white women, I frequently find myself under the control of the “tone police”. I take it as correction, and that does NOT go over well with me. I’m a grown damned woman, and you can disagree, but you do NOT need to correct me. I may be wrong, but there’s a way to say that you have a different understanding of something, or maybe disagree, than saying “I noticed you used the word “dyke” when you were speaking of LESBIANS, and that’s a pejorative.” I’ve been using the word “dyke” for longer than some woman-loving-women have been alive, so leave me alone with it. I was called a dyke, and not in a good way, for many years so yeah, it’s reclaiming the power of that invective.

To get even more down to it, don’t tone police anyone in the middle of an emotional outburst. I had a minister who used to say, “Say what you need to say, and we’ll pretty it up later.” That is gold to me, especially as a woman, especially as a woman with non-dominant cultural identies, plural, who feels that I have a right to my feelings and opinions. It’s far more important for me to get stuff out than it is to make someone else feel comfortable. We are sometimes numb as we try to navigate the perilous landscape of our world, soif I have emotion, that is NOT a bad thing. I once had an unfortunate outburst in the presence of a dear friend, and it was not pretty. It involved racial epithets and invective and ugly words and feelings. It involved anger and tears and nearly a break down on my part. My friend let me go, without trying to stop me. When things were calmer, she and I talked about it, and I began with “OK, let me have it. I know that was way over the line.”. She said, and I will never forget this, ever…she said, “Ann, who am I to let you have ANYTHING?” She did not make me feel like a monster, she did not make me feel so totally “wrong” that I could not recover. She did not shame me. We are close friends today, and I would trust her with my life. This is what ‘sisterhood’ feels like to me.

So, I have just spit out a flurry of words and some feelings and the sparks have died down on my keyboard, but that’s how I was feeling this morning, in the cold and drearieness of this day. So, *whomp dere it is*.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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