Posts Tagged ‘angry


Don’t Ask For a Smile

I consider myself a pretty reasonable person. I try not to let little things irritate me, but I’m human and like many, I have a few pet peeves. They may not seem like huge deals to others, but when confronted with these things, it’s easy to find me slowly counting backwards from 100 or repeating the serenity prayer to myself like an enraged Bruce Banner trying not to change into the Hulk.

So, I understand that I may be the only woman in the world who feels this way, but I admit that I get completely irked when a strange man asks me to smile.

For clarity, let me offer an example. I’ve parked my car at the local town center and am on my way into the dollar store. My stream of consciousness is something like this: “I wonder if Oprah still goes to the dollar store. Even if you have $1 million, there are some things that are just not worth more than a dollar. Like, I’d never pay more than a buck for a fly swatter. Does Oprah have flies? I mean, just ‘cause you rich doesn’t mean you don’t have flies. They’re not like roaches. If she had roaches, that’d be a problem. Can you imagine little roaches climbing out of Oprah’s bag when she gets to Harpo Studios? That’s some mess. Oprah got roaches, and Stedman says she brings her roach-infested lunches to work. That’s just nasty. Wait. Why am I at the liquor store?….”

So after leaving there, returning to the task at hand, walking two doors down and reaching my intended destination, some random guy who’s coming up the street loudly says to me, “Smile. Why you look so mean? It’s not that bad.”

Pause… Say what?

It seems like a small thing, and I’m sure the nameless fellow didn’t mean to offend, but let me explain what I hear when this is said.

Your Face is Whack: So, he didn’t directly insult my face, but then again, didn’t he? Basically, what I’m being told is that my face looks so twisted, distorted and unappealing that something must be wrong with me. I must be angry, having a bad day or maybe even contemplating suicide. The reassurance that things aren’t as bad as my face suggests just isn’t a compliment.

You Care What I Think: I don’t make a habit of asking strangers on the street what they think of me. The truth is that whether they think I’m fly or funky, it really doesn’t matter much. It’s true that you never know when you might bump into someone who may become a great friend, future employer or an otherwise significant part of your life, but more often than not, people whose paths you cross when running errands aren’t going to end up in your cellphone contacts list. So, the comments strangers voice about others reeks a bit of self-importance. However, responding with a, “Your opinion is worth less to me than this fly swatter I’m about to buy,” probably wouldn’t help the matter.

I’ve Got You Figured Out: Every human being is different. I do have friends who walk down the street showing off their pearly whites. I smile at strangers at times, like when people stumble on their own feet and try to play it off like they tripped on an invisible crack in the sidewalk. I smile at them so they know, “It happens to the best of us.” However, the absence of a smile on my face does not necessary indicate that I’m depressed or in a foul mood. The fact that someone I’ve never met would assume to know me well enough to interpret my facial expressions is just a bit presumptuous. No? That would be like assuming every random guy who requests that I smile at him is in desperate need of attention and validation from anyone who’ll entertain him.

As insulting as the delivery can be, I do assume the request is meant to be a compliment. However, if the goal is to solicit a smile from someone, in my unsolicited opinion, a simple “hello” would work a lot better.


Terry McMillan’s Message on Forgiveness

If you’re a SIS who has gone through a bad breakup or two, then you’ve likely had a “Waiting to Exhale” Bernadine moment and at least contemplated torching a car, shredding some clothes or even pulling back a shower curtain while wielding a knife. (OK, that last one wasn’t from the aforementioned star-studded flick, but I think it still applies.)

While we’re on the topic of “Exhale,” I recently attended a book signing featuring author Terry McMillan, a woman scorned who ended up in a court battle with her ex-husband whose questionable affinity toward lip gloss served as an obvious indicator to many that something was amiss.

By her own admission, McMillan’s very public romance (“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”) and subsequent dramatic breakup left her just a bit angry and bitter. However, she has also been vocal about her ability to finally forgive her ex for what she endured once he finally admitted his homosexuality.

How has she been able to move past that anger and pain? McMillan told her fans at the book signing that she started to focus on the good times she had with her ex and stopped dwelling on the bad.

I definitely know a SIS or two who are still focusing on the negatives of their past relationships. Of course, you don’t want to completely forget what went wrong because (1) you don’t want to relive past mistakes and (2) you want to remember why he wasn’t good for you. However, I agree with McMillan that it’s a lot healthier to reminisce about the summer BBQs, weekend trips and family game nights than it is to keep mentally replaying that day you found a random pair of red undies in his sofa cushions and had to quickly determine whether you knew enough about forensic science to get away with premeditated homicide.

Ideally, we’d probably prefer not to think of past, failed relationships at all, but if we must walk down memory lane, why not walk on the sunlit side instead of in the shade?

Everyone’s situation is different, but if this “look on the bright side” mentality worked for someone who endured the betrayal and public spectacle that resulted from McMillan’s breakup, then maybe it’ll work for those of us who experienced less harsh ends to our relationships.

Besides, the whole murderous shower scene thing has been done to death.


For Colored Girls Who Aren’t Defined By Relationships

“Tyler Perry hates black men.” That’s how a random dude responded when I told him that the images of brothers in Perry’s “For Colored Girls…” were less than flattering.

I previously shared that I think Lifetime Movies do nothing for healthy male-female relationships. 90% of the men in the made-for-TV movies are murderers, abusers, polygamists or embezzlers.

“For Colored Girls…” was no different, but I’m not going to beat that dead horse again.

What else struck me about “For Colored Girls…” was that Perry created each character and interpreted each poem to focus on how men shaped these women’s lives.

Why don’t TV, film and other media offer more stories about women outside of the realm of romantic relationships? Black women don’t always have to be defined by their relationships with men. Now, that I think about it, this is probably what initially irked me about being labeled “single.” I am more than who I date, or who I choose not to date.

True, Perry’s adaptation reflects the topics of Ntozake Shange’s poems, which deal with abortion and domestic abuse. One can’t ignore the male presence and responsibility when these issues arise.

However, in “For Colored Girls…” there was only one character who didn’t have a man (or men) in her life, and hers was the least developed storyline. One could argue that Phylicia Rashad’s unwed character’s weak development results because she was not represented in Shange’s original poems, but if you’re going to take creative license, use that freedom to offer something more balanced and positive.

I guess I should be pleased that the most well-adjusted woman on the screen was single (actually, she was widowed), but she lived right next door the promiscuous SIS who was mistaken for a prostitute by a married man she picked up at a bar.

For a movie Perry said would leave me “lifted,” I was anything but. What’s uplifting about women who endure abuse and disrespect in the name of love? That’s not inspiring. OK. So, they kind of, sort of come out of it in the end, but not to a point where you feel they’ve won. They lost so much in the first two hours of the movie that you doubt they’ll ever really be able to rebound, let alone soar.

For me, if there was any silver lining to the film, it’s that it reminds women not to be so desperate for relationships or intimacy that they accept anything that comes their way. As the movie suggests, being with the wrong man usually doesn’t solve anyone’s problems. So if you are a SIS feeling empty, find ways to fill up that don’t depend on romantic relationships. Who knows? Once you’re full, you might realize that what really makes you happy was in your grasp all along, and you didn’t have to endure abuse or misogyny to find it.


Pass the Mic to the ‘Angry’ Black Woman

Something dawned on me today when I was driving into work and listening to a morning radio show. The DJ, a SIS, was defending black womanhood against a brother – and I use that term loosely – who suggested that 60% of all black women are angry.

I can’t deny that I have met one or two sufferers of Angry Black Woman Syndrome in my day; but, there are far more well-adjusted, peaceful, happy sisters out here. However, as the DJ tried to defend our often-attacked demographic on air, her voice was a bit agitated, and I realized that her passion might be misconstrued as anger. I wanted her to speak more calmly before the caller snapped back that she’d proven his point.

So, that’s when this question caused me to slam on the brakes, figuratively: Is the whole ABW theory just a way to keep sisters quiet about all the negative stereotypes and criticism we get from society?

Think about it. If someone accused you of being disagreeable, you might not protest because doing so would just be handing over more ammunition.

So, when a SIS is attacked for being angry and having attitude, her initial reaction to passionately defend herself – which I think is natural – may do more harm than good. Is keeping silent the answer? Is silencing us “the plan”?

As I pondered this, I thought about the caller using a black woman’s anger to justify his decision to date outside the race. Of course, this is poppycock, but I did start to wonder whether women of other races have to deal with the negative stereotypes that black women have to.

Are they being perceived as irrational, materialistic, inherently unattractive, angry and undesirable by society? More importantly, are women of other races getting this from their brothers?

Maybe these women are being hated on by the men in their communities, and I just don’t know about it, since I’m on the outskirts. However, that’s really irrelevant.

The point is that if someone is bold enough to look you in your face and slander the majority of your demographic, then he or she shouldn’t be surprised if you choose to respond with equal conviction … even if that means throwing in a neck roll.

I don’t consider that anger. That’s just human nature. I mean, what type of person allows such disparaging remarks to go unchecked? I wouldn’t expect any dude to keep silent as someone questioned his manhood. So, of course many black women respond when we’re confronted with negative stereotypes. If that labels us as angry, then so be it.

My take: I’d rather we be a bunch of “angry” sistahs who stick up for ourselves and combat society’s negative images of us than silent women who let others define and openly insult us. Besides, who else is gonna stand up for us?


Five Signs of an Angry Black Woman

Here’s something you won’t believe. Since starting this blog, I have been accused of being an Angry Black Woman. (Unbelievable! I know!) It hasn’t happened often, and I personally don’t think I’ve been hostile at all, but I took a step back and tried some introspection.

At the risk of reinforcing a negative stereotype, I have to admit that there is such a thing as Angry Black Woman (ABW) syndrome. It is worth stating that not every SIS suffers from this ailment (and not every angry person is black or single).

So, while I tried to determine whether there was any validity to the ABW accusation made against yours truly, I came up with a list of five signs I think separate the ABW from regular folks who limit their anger to obscene hand gestures made toward the horrible driver in the next lane.

Here’s the list of signs I came up with.

You Might Be an ABW If…:

You’re Constantly Urged to Seek Therapy (or Jesus)
Of course, not all church invitations are extended because of suspected anger management issues, but if your friends respond to what you consider normal venting, by inviting you to Sunday service and/or suggesting you seek professional help, you might have a problem. If more than a few confidantes have advised you to get counseling or pastoral guidance, they are telling you: (1) your issues are too big for them to handle and (2) only God, or someone trained to deal with insane or possessed people, can help you.

You’re a Hater
If you’re an ABW, it’s hard for you to take your eyes off your own discontentment long enough to be happy for somebody else. You’ll look for any excuse to avoid celebrating weddings, baby showers, housewarmings, promotions or anything that you would prefer be happening to you. A twinge of jealousy isn’t abnormal, but a tirade about how life isn’t fair because you deserve all the good fortune others are experiencing, is a symptom of the syndrome.

You Aren’t Being Asked Why You’re Single
I know. It’s an annoying question, “Why are you single”? However, I take it as an indicator of my loveable charm. For the life of them, those around me cannot understand why some guy hasn’t seen all the wonderful attributes and characteristics they see in me. So, it stands to reason that if no one’s asking you why you’re single, it might be because the reasons are clear to them. A rotten attitude might be the cause.

You’re Never Satisfied
A neighbor offers to shovel your walk, but you complain that he didn’t clean off your car. A friend promised to go to a movie with you, but you’re angry at her ‘cause her unexpected coma ruined your plans. The ABW always finds a reason to fuss. There are very few silver linings or bright sides. The worst part? Even the rational irritations seem irrational when the ABW adds her tainted spin to the tales.

You’re Pissed Right Now
If you’re ready to get to cussin’ ‘cause all of the above traits remind you of yourself, then you probably got a problem.

Considering that it’s my list, I might be biased, but after reviewing these traits, I’ve concluded that I am not an angry, black woman. LOL.

Are you?

July 2018
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