Weeks ago now, I was excited to take my mother to a salon-style gathering centered around women’s rage at On the Boards. Mumsie had just arrived into town to help me adjust to my newly acquired single-mother status. After 12 years, and 2 children, my marriage was apparently over and I had more than a few reasons to rage. So, there I was on the way to a space that promised me even more than a little room to breathe—it promised the precious space to rage.
Not shockingly, my relationship with my mother is nothing short of complex. I mean, how well do we relate to the fully integrated wonder that is The Mother? Ironically, she and I got into an argument on the way to this Rage Salon and she did not end up joining me. I linked up with my “exponential bestie,” Anastacia Tolbert, who may have been one of perhaps three black bodies (including me) in the all-woman space.
We both recognized some friends, exchanged warm greetings, and made ourselves comfortable with cups of hot water before joining the circle. The event was organized by Pat Graney and Elliat Graney-Saucke, and is connected to Graney’s premiering work, GIRL GODS. We responded to questions both aloud and in writing that explored our personal histories with rage—as something more keenly felt than anger in the heart and in the body.
If you were to ask me what I remember most about this salon, now that time has already seeped back in with the minutiae of daily living stresses—getting children ready, maintaining order and functionality, going to work—I might say that I don’t remember enough anymore. But that’s a lie. I remember what it felt like to take for granted that I would always have someone there (who was equally invested) to help me with my children.
What’s left with me now is the memory of so many women sitting in a circle and respectfully listening to each other more than anything else. I remember the bravely smiling voices (both strong and faltering), the glassy eyes, the springing tears—the rarity of the space as a whole. I remember feeling grateful and relieved.
But what I remember most was a piece of writing that one of the women shared with the group. In the memory she was recalling the nostril-flaring rage that comes with getting children to do what you say to them when their wills are new and still fanning out like butterfly wings. The guilt in her voice when she remembered her own anger, steeped inside of her, thick and poisonous as quicksilver—I remember that. I remember my sympathy, my empathy shooting out from my heart like a sharpened stone or a harpoon and locking with hers. She could’ve been my sister, my daughter, my friend. At that moment, her fragility was just as close to me as my own. The blur of her rage was nuanced and multivalent. There was sexual assault in those clouds and the blinking nononono no of it. The get off of me. The lingering filth. Except this was a story of motherhood and so many parts of me needed to hear it.
The aftermath was pregnant with connection-making because one woman’s truth became a bridge for all of us to walk over. Relief and validation were on the other side. And yes there should always be a space—physical or virtual—where women can rage. Always. But, for now there’s a closed Facebook group called Women Raging that interested parties can request to join.
NATASHA MARIN is a local Seattle writer, artist, and community organizer. By day she is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Resource Media, a non-profit PR Firm, and after work she tears holes in the space-time continuum to run an international experiment called Miko Kuro’s Midnight Tea (www.mikokuro.com). Follow her on Twitter @mikokuro.
© #GirlGods Blog 2015, Text by Natasha Marin.