#52SlicesOfChingonaLife #52EssaysNextWave 13/52
Isn’t it the truth? Someone says, “calm down“, and my instinct is to do the complete opposite.
Why? Because why should I have to tone down my feelings 24/7 in order to calm/placate/please/make someone else feel better or more powerful? However, I’ve learned that it’s not realistic nor healthy to go OFF 24/7 so it’s all about choosing your battles, being informed, and working it which I would think would automatically calm you down. This calmness scares people, I have seen it time and time again in my dealings with people.
Which brings me to ‘The Squad’, the four congresswomen embroiled in drama with the 45th occupant of the White House. I’m not really going to get into the details of the fight between them disgusted as it makes me…I am, however, more interested in the reactions on both sides.
I watch/listen/read news constantly and I find a distressing trend — people just seem to want these ladies to “Calm Down”. Take a look at the reporter’s/colleague’s faces when they discuss or interview The Squad — you will see visible flinching sometimes, straight-up ‘cagado’ deer in the headlight looks and nervousness. I was very disappointed to see looks of judgement from certain reporters, some of them women, to members of the Squad, “why are you going there?”, “are you willing to work/meet with the Speaker, the President?” and looks that silenty screamed to “calm down” and one could smell the fear in the reporter. Fear of how the Squad would respond, how they would react to the questions.
As I listen to each member of The Squad, I find them to be very informed, connected to their districts, confident in knowing who they really work for, unafraid to make change or to do things as they’ve always been done — if it didn’t work before, what guarantees are there that they will work now? They are trying to make things happen by working it. These 4 women rode a wave of change into Congress, yes. However, they are far from token members — they have moved forward always, fearless, with more huevos than many of their counterparts. I would think that in 2019, that they would be applauded for their bravery. Sadly, we get to see/hear chants of “Send Her Back“, and at this writing, el muy cobarde is now trying to backtrack from encouraging his racist, bitter, and abusive diatribe.
Many of us have been in a type of cultural firestorm within our familia, the workplace, with friends and lovers. Why? Because we try to step out of the box that people would like to keep us in. Family members think differently with each generation and it’s difficult to keep up with the constant change and remain calm, add to this, issues with domestic violence, addiction, machismo and abuse and it’s ‘lumbre‘. At work, we speak up/stand up and it’s “she’s so passionate”, “dial the emotions back”, the oh-so silent “stay in your lane”, and “calm down“. The crazy thing is, I have seen grown men in the workplace lose it, go OFF on clients, on subordinates, on each other and I have seen them cry tears so go figure, more drama than viejas. Some friends/lovers want only to keep the status quo, keep things as they always were, change is encouraged many times in words only.
We, women of color, have lived with this type of push back our entire lives. The look on the Squad’s faces seemed to mirror mine: looks that said “really?!?“, “y dale con lo mismo!“, “been there, done that“, “here we go again”. This is likely WHY The Squad goes straight to the issues only to find that people don’t want to deal with the issues, they want to deal with the drama of it all. People trying to tell them to “calm down” when it’s apparent that The Squad are the ones who ARE calm. We see this mess coming a mile away and it is irritating AF that folks want to see us in the pretty little boxes they have created for us, nothing more, many times less.
If we all would embrace and accept change, that things will not stay the same forever, that we ALL must change with the times, the situation, the issue in all aspects of our lives, there would be less room for judgement and fear, more room for collaboration and actually getting things done.
Standing up is more powerful than standing back. It’s time for others to “calm down” enough to listen…and learn.