by A.N. Bayat
I’m angry, you’re angry, everyone’s angry and if you are not angry you will be.
I went for hot chocolate with a friend last night. A lady approached us asking how she could help and how bad it all made her feel and she wanted to do something because she felt helpless. My friend told her we were fine and we appreciate it. She insisted that she felt so bad she had to do something. She offered to pay for our hot chocolate. At first, we said no and she was so distraught, so we allowed it. She said she felt so much better. Her husband pointed out that she wasn’t doing anything to help us, that we were doing more to help her by helping her feel better.
I thought about what he said, and that hit the nail on the head. I had someone message me yesterday to offer their help and support and in the same breath chastise me and judge me for posting what she thought were angry posts.
It made me realise that so much of this, although it doesn’t affect many directly, it affects so many indirectly.
In the past few days, I’ve come across people who I thought were being insensitive or not empathetic. I felt they were making this situation about themselves while others were hurting, afraid and even uncertain about their futures. They tell me they feel helpless and want to help, want to reach out, how can they help and what can they do? They want to go to mosques and invite people for Thanksgiving and are concerned how that works. That’s thoughtful. Something about all that kept bothering me and I couldn’t pinpoint it until the hot chocolate incident.
It also made me realise that it is still everyone for themselves, even those it affects and those who say they want to help. This isn’t unity. There are enough people out there who really don’t care, who don’t want to help and people who it doesn’t affect directly. The rest of us – empathise.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I appreciate those who care. If you are judging me for how I feel or express my feelings and in the same breath want me to not feel it or express it to make you feel better, what is really happening? If you understand the anger of those of us whose rights and freedoms are on the line, then understand it, but don’t ask me not to feel it to make you feel better.
Don’t tell me, not to be angry, not to speak out, not to make waves, not to…Don’t tell me to help you feel better. I can’t even help myself.
I can’t empathise right now. I’m confused. I can’t lift you up right now. I’m exhausted. I can’t spell it out for you. I’m unfocused. I can’t help you feel better or tell you what to do to not feel helpless about it. I am trying to sort it out. I can’t be strong for you. I can’t be silent or polite for you. I can’t…I can’t…can you?
A part of me knows, I’m not angry. I’m disappointed and determined. You’re safe with me.