Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Giving Up Anger for Lent
For Lent I am giving up my anger.
Not a lot of people know about my anger because I have tried to keep it hidden from most people, but my closest friends, family and housemates have seen my anger side. For years I thought my anger came out of my social justice work and seeing the inequalities in the world.
After working with my therapist for more than a year, I finally realize that the anger comes out of a self-hate. This self-hate has developed over the years due to growing up with a speech impediment and feeling less than equal. I remember crying to my mom when I was young and asking, "Why did God do this to me? Why me?"
I have always known that my family and my faith community love me for who I am, but I spent most of my time out in the world where any slight differences were good enough reasons to be bullied, treated differently, or to be largely ignored. After years of this painful treatment and feeling less than whole, I internalized this hate and started to see myself as not being whole. I would wake up in the morning hating myself and thought that I had to do other things to make myself lovable. This has led me to undertake a lot of different kinds of work to prove that I am worthy of love and respect.
But in the last year, with the support of Jenn, my fiance, and my therapist, I have finally gotten to a point in my life when I recognize that I am a whole human being and that I am deserving of love and respect because of being a person and not because of what I do or do not do.
In this season of Lent, which I am doing in solidarity with my fellow Christians*, I will focus on writing more about my trauma and on loving myself more. I hope that my writing can lead to more personal healing. In the future I hope to produce materials to help youth living with disabilities and their families through the challenges of growing up in a world that is not always accepting of differences. Also, during this Lenten season, I hope to further internalize self-love to rid myself of the self-hate that has plagued my life.
*Quakers historically do not celebrate holidays because we believe that every day is a holy day. In the last 100 years Quakers have started to celebrate holidays and more and more Quakers are observing Lent, but we do not have any special commeration for the Lenten season as a denomination.