ThisWinterWoman

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  • Hundreds of years of pilgrims seeking. I'm in Italy, visiting churches small and large. This one was set at the top of "Castle's Walk" and built in the 17th century. .
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#italy #cinqueterre #monterossoalmare #religion #christianity #feminismandfaith #catholic #catholicchurches #beauty #feminism #women #courage #convent #cappucini
  • I saw this painting for the first time when I was in middle school. It scared me. Not because the image itself was scary, but because it was the first time I had seen a self-portrait of a woman. Up to that point I had only seen women perfected in art, put on a pedestal, idealized. Frida Kahlo had the audacity to paint herself, just as she was- flawed, broken, suffering. She validated her pain by making it worthy of the canvas. .
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  • Be still and know 
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  • "Only tender-hearted, loving compassion has the authority to name who we are, not our guilt & shame, and not our virtuous attainment. There is no identity than the the identity found in the invincible love that gives itself away" - James Finley
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#contemplativeprayer #contemplation #religion #thomasmerton #faith  #church #feminism #truth #god #gospel #comteplativelife #catholic #stteresaofavila #catholicism #feminismandreligion #thiswinterwoman #stjohnofthecross #santamonica #jamesfinley #santamonicacatholic

Re-Imaging My Angry Feminist

Welcome!

If this is your first time here, it may help to read my introduction and my first and second post on Re-imaging. I’ve been applying the process Tony Robbins uses at the Unleash the Power Within conference to Re-Image harmful beliefs in both my life and my faith.

 


What is Re-Imaging?

Over the last month, we’ve been going through this series of Re-Imaging, influenced and informed by Rosemary Chinnici’s book “Can Women Re-Image the Church” and coupled with Tony Robbins 3-step transformation of limiting beliefs.

Re-Imaging encourages women (and men) to trust their own story and speak the richness of their own truth. We identify the limiting beliefs and harmful theology we’ve inherited, and we face the suffering head on, Re-Imaging that which has haunted us. As we stitch up our wounds and piece together the fragments of our faith, we find that we are working alongside sisters and brothers who are healing themselves too.  The courage to talk about our wounds and how we are mending, gives hope to others. I want this blog to be a place of hope too.

 

My Anger

My dance of faith and feminism began when my mother-in-law suggested I read Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter [See my notes about this book here]. This book ripped my heart wide open and threw a freaking hand grenade in. My faith and my identity blew up. Everything I was so sure of was ripped from me. I was left with fragmented pieces of faith, sorting through what I wanted to keep and lighting on fire that which I no longer needed. At times, I longed for the security of ignorance.

True, the veil had fallen from my eyes, but didn’t know what I was looking at anymore. I was hurt. I was angry. I felt that my faith had lied to me, and I knew that it wasn’t enough anymore. I looked around with fresh eyes. I saw no women in leadership, but plenty of women serving in the nursery and serving refreshments. I heard every worship song with new ears as I sang about a Father King who loved His sons. I realized that women, for centuries, were relegated to subservience in the name of a male God. I kept reading. I studied other theologians and thealogians. And I realized that patriarchy and not love was the foundation of the Western church, my church.

And I was pissed. 

 

Becoming an “Angry Feminist”

This anger only intensified when I was met with confusion or resistance from those around me. We live in a society where anger is not a positive emotion. Anger is associated with a lack of self-control or violence.  We don’t make room anger in our faith or in our church. Furthermore, women’s anger is not taken seriously. We are seen as “too emotional”, “Femi-Nazi’s” lacking in self control (or grace).

“The woman who chooses to express anger risks misunderstanding and rejection. The angry feminist is discriminately stereotyped and shunned by everyone who is not in the same predicament.” – Madonna Kolbenschlag, Kiss Sleeping Beauty Good-bye

Adding to the anger are feelings of naivety or shame. We may feel stupid because we didn’t see these problems sooner. I felt intense moments of embarrassment and shame as I remembered saying things like “Well, obviously I don’t think a woman can be president”, or nodding my head in agreement when someone would explain why a man is the head of a household.

Our feelings of anger, guilt, and shame compound and threaten to drown us completely. And our well-meaning loved ones just can’t understand the abyss we’re trying to swim out of, the depth of hurt and anger we’re experiencing.  

Often we are left paralyzed by anger, allowing ourselves to believe that-

“My anger is too much. It is too much for me and it is too much for others. After all, what can I do to change anything?”

 

Re-Imaging Anger

But we must Re-Image our anger. We can’t allow anger, guilt, or shame cripple us. So how can I infuse this limiting belief with Truth and meaning from my own experience? What does my experience show me to be true?

“My anger is too much. It is too much for me and it is too much for others. After all, what can I do to change anything?”

 You know what? That’s bull shit.

 

The Truth is… my anger?  It is a holy and righteous anger. My anger is born out of a desire for things to be set right and is a catalyst for action.

The Truth is … women are angry because they love enough to be angry. We love enough to desire a more just and caring world.

The Truth is… the “Angry Feminist” is a prophet of old. She examines and critics society, she mourns for the equality that is absent, and she calls for a new world.

The Truth is that I’d rather be angry- than numb. My anger woke me up to the problems in my faith, my community, and my church. Anger awakens us all.

I’ve put up with too much, too long, and now I’m just too intelligent, too powerful, too beautiful, too sure of who I am finally to deserve anything less. –  Sandra Cisneros

I’m Still Angry

Re-imaging anger doesn’t make it go away. But Re-Imagining does channel my anger and helps me use it as a tool.

I’m still angry.

I’m angry that I can’t walk alone at night

I’m angry that a muslim girl isn’t safe leaving her place of worship. 

I’m angry that 1 in every 5 women will be sexually assaulted. 

I’m angry that my faith would rather subjugate women to second class citizens, hiding behind complementarian theology instead of viewing women as equals.

I’m angry that I have more rights outside of church that I do inside.

I’m angry that women who look like me, and have my same background, helped elect a philandering, misogynist, homophobe, racist and called it an act of faith. 

I’m angry. There is plenty to be angry about.

 

But I pray that we can continue to Re-Image our anger. The Truth is our anger has grown from the seed of love. I pray we can use our anger as a tool for activism and action. For big and small acts of resistance. I pray that through Re-Imaging our anger we can Re-Image the world.

 

We Re-Image

We confront the pain

We persist through the darkness of our wounds

And we prophesy a new world into being

 

Stay strong, stay angry, and keep on loving,

Alyse

 


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2 thoughts on “Re-Imaging My Angry Feminist

  1. Well said, Alyse. You have put words to important thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings that I continue to struggle with. I’m more frightened than angry but I think I have heard that fear is anger turned inward. Something for me to work through.

    1. I love that- Fear is anger turned inward. That’s going to stick with me for a while. I wonder, what is it that scares you? Could you try Re-Imaging that fear? Claim it as a strength?

      Love you,
      Alyse

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