Sometimes I see red. Blatant, 500 shades, red.
Chaotic, throwing, ripping and shredding.
It screeches with a capitol A.
Profanity strung in a neat row across the clothes line of my life.
It sinks; plummets like metal; like a ball of lead settling into the pit of my stomach.
I was once told, “he never should have married her, she’s from a broken home...”
I was also told, “I can’t change in the locker room with all those other girls, my stomach is big and they are skinny.”
And this, “She didn’t do a natural home birth delivery??!!”
I’ve heard, “He’s a little off, he takes medication.”
I hear that Tiffany and Company was sued for racial discrimination and likewise now, Louis Vuitton, for a racial comment made by an employee.
What seems to be communicated here is that being different is bad.
This is why I see red.
There my anger lays flat, wide and deep, I grimace and squeeze the pain, shut it out, close my eyes.
Now it’s black
My anger ceases to be helpful at this point.
Rage at everyone for hating what is different. For rejecting what is contrary to them. Fire spills over, black ash remains.
All those who were the catalysts and the perpetuators of the ‘isms’ of our world, I feel hatred pulse, pound in the dark.
I grasp for my air as black draws my knees to despair.
I too, am afraid of differences. I too am scared of what I don’t understand. Scared that my husband will want pizza and I’ll want pasta. Nervous that our mild discrepancies are only symptoms of a greater disease.
In our world, we have different ethnicities. We are different genders and races. We have different cultures, backgrounds and traditions. We have different body types. We are different ages. We have different beliefs and values. We are from different places and we traverse different paths while pursuing different visions. And all of this difference has made us all crazy. It has scared the figurative shit out of all of us. We cannot tolerate the discomfort of being different.
And so we are mean.
I don’t want to be mean.
But I don't know how to be different.
The black fades.
The red returns.
I see it again.
I see again.
A brilliant woman once wrote, “Maybe anger is like compassion, in that it can point us directly toward the place in the world we were born to help heal.”1
Perhaps there is a little tiny part of me that can hold compassion for those who have started the “isms”. They were scared. They are scared. And so am I. They speak from a place of fear. Fear of different. I too am afraid of the different.
I want to love different. I want different to be okay; not just okay, but good.
We need each other. We belong together. What we have in common is this, we are human, we have feelings, and we, all of us, have the image of God fluttering around somewhere in all the places we deemed lost.
This is the power of our commanility.
Eyelids flutter open.
Red that was spilt because He was different. Too different to handle, to tolerate, to dwell in the presence of.
I won’t try to take away the differences.
I won’t clean it away, bleach out my red, I need my red. My anger reminds me of the pain that we all experience. My anger points me to a world marred by sadness, wildly searching for love and compassion. I need my red, I need this anger that ultimately fuels my empathy.
It bleeds scarlet, it permeates, it feels the weight. It tells me I am different, and that it is good.