I’m not going to watch my tone much.
Those are my few words. Now here are some more.
My last post, my hiatus-breaking post, was ranty, self-righteous, self-conscious, and peppered with swears. I’m good with all of that, I’ve decided. First, I swear when my child is not around me. Like a lot. I do it because swearing is the shit and I need my fix of it so I can say things like, “That’s so silly-pants!” and “Good grief!” and “Oh, bother!” when I’m with Jax. Second, I’ve always been ranty. Third, I’ve always been self-righteous, but I think people put up with me because I’m also nice, and I’m often self-righteous about their rights as much as my own.
The self-consciousness, though, is learned. Conditioned. Last post, I said, “When I’m empowered, I will post often. When I’m terrified, or even if I just want a break, I will embrace the hiatus.” If I’m truly going to allow both sides of my personality to co-exist, I have to give myself permission to say what I want, when I want, and not walk it back because someone doesn’t like my tone, or because I sit and worry about it later that night. (Spoiler: I sat and worried about what I said in “On presence” later that night.)
My reaction to the election was the psych text chapter about moving through the first few stages of grief. I have hit anger, and I don’t think there will be any bargaining, and certainly no acceptance. I’m glad I took my time away, and of course I remain open to more time away when I need it.
But while I’m here, I am most certainly not going to watch my tone. I choose to love my tone.
If you have never read Everyday Feminism’s infographic story thing on tone policing, you should.
“[Tone policing] allows a person to regain control over a conversation that is going in a way that makes them uncomfortable by framing the speaker as overly emotional and therefore unreasonable,” says EF.
I have lived this my entire life. I am done living this. Especially now that we’re about to be a country run by the man with the worst ever documented case of public diarrhea-of-the-mouth.
Sit with that image a minute. It’s supposed to taste bad.
“Tone policing is a silencing tactic…[it] suggests that people distance themselves from their own emotions of anger, frustration, or fear in order to be heard…[it’s] just another way to protect privilege.” –EF
Watching your tone during a work meeting or with your grandmother is one thing. But in conversations about systemic oppression? What do oppressed people have left but their emotions, and now the tone cops wanna take that, too?
Emotion and reason are not mutually exclusive. Being outwardly emotional is not necessarily indicative of being unable to control one’s emotions, either. Consider that we want the world to bear witness to what we emote. That maybe it reifies us, touches the place in you where empathy and compassion live.
Instead of numbing to what’s going on in the world, perhaps we could all benefit from more feels and less feel-shaming.