The battle is fierce, the war far from over. Sides are sharply drawn, passions high, entrenchments deep. I speak, of course, of the state of my inner psyche. I am at war with myself – and I suspect I am not alone.
Outrage is not a natural state for me. But it’s increasingly where I find myself: on unfamiliar, alien ground that feels dangerous, even hostile. I’m unsure how to navigate, uncertain which survival skills are most applicable, which practices actually an impediment. The anger feels entirely justified, but highly toxic. As much a risky place to stay as it is to abandon. I’m not sure which way to turn or what I can trust.
I’ve tried to parse the term — outrage — tried to defuse it, own it in a different form. I have thought about the blindness of rage, the all-consuming heat of it. I’ve thought about the out part, the externalized expression, the dependence on a heinous other for existence.
I tried to think about its inverse: what is that? If not antidote, then what? Is there a way for me to sit with outrage that doesn’t consume me completely? What would help me (re)gain clarity? Is there room for insight in outrage?
And there I was: outrage and insight – not antonyms, by any means, but a spot upon which I could teeter long enough to craft some sort of strategy for myself. I’ve been reading the thought pieces on underlying values, the ones that explore how badly we’re talking past one another right now, how uselessly we’re relying on our own values to try to persuade others to see things as we do, ignoring their values as easily as they seem to ignore ours. Mine.
So Monday I’m sitting down with someone from the “other side”. I don’t want to talk politics with him. I have no interest in argument or persuasion. I just want to be able to sit with him and know him as a person. I’m hoping, maybe, for a little insight.