I’ve never seen it. I mean, sure, I get angry, but I also get a lot of other things, and I don’t run around angry all the time. And quite often I will write something where the predominant motivation is love, for instance, and get told how angry I sound. I have also once read a person say that they could not get through Jim Sinclair’s “Don’t Mourn For Us” because of the tremendous rage towards parents that they felt in it — that is an article in which I can see very little but love. Not that love and anger can’t coexist, but I just don’t see the anger supposedly permeating Jim Sinclair’s work or my work and so forth.
Anyway, I found this interesting lyric the other day by Ani Difranco (who seems to write a lot of interesting lyrics but then sings them in a style I have trouble wanting to listen to, so I can’t really be classified as a fan of the music, but perhaps sometimes a fan of the lyrics). I can’t even remember how I stumbled across it. It goes like this:
I am not an angry girl
But it seems like I’ve got everyone fooled
Every time I say something
They find hard to hear
They chalk it up to my anger
And never to their own fear
I don’t know that it’s always fear that causes that reaction. I’ve often noticed that someone will read something that makes them angry. And then decide that the author of whatever they were reading, was angry. I also know that a lot of people view anything that explicitly contradicts something else as “argumentative” and therefore “angry”. And that a lot of people have a stereotype of activists as perpetually angry.
So fear isn’t the only thing that could cause people to see anger that isn’t there. But it’s one thing. And there does seem a trend in my life of being considered angry when I’m nowhere even close to anger. Of course a lot of people, particularly autistic people, see the actual emotional state that is going on at any given time too. But it’s amazing how many people read what I write and can’t come away from it with anything more than a vision of me as “angry” that seems to make them completely unaware of whatever it is that I’ve actually written and hostile to me as a person instead. (Of course there’s then the whole problem of people taking more from what they perceive as the emotional content of something, than from what was actually meant or said. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.)