Maya Peleman


I am often angry. That feels a little awkward to say. Like I'm confessing that I have aggression issues. But I can say with certainty that I have no aggression problems. I am often angry. For several reasons. But especially about the climate. Because everyone acts as if we still have years to solve the problem. While it already feels to me that we are too late. A pessimistic view that is often contradicted, and yet I can't ignore the fact that I feel this way. I am unable to sweep my pessimism and anger away.

I tend to go along with Stephen Fry's statement. He was a guest in the Belgian television show 'Alleen Elvis Blijft Bestaan’. It was a conversation you can only have with Fry. Only he can make wisdom and light-heartedness fit so well. In addition to being an actor, writer, poet and activist, Fry is also bipolar. He talked about how he learned to live with his diagnosis and one sentence stuck with me: “The rain is real. If it's raining outside, it really is raining.”

When people are angry, they really are angry. It cannot be minimized or ignored. Maybe that's exactly the problem. That we try to pretend it's not there. From climate youth to prisoners. We pigeonhole them, throw in some stereotypes and turn our ears off. But we often forget that anger is more than yelling and yelling. David van Reybrouck talked about the hidden sadness behind the warm anger. People who are angry often have pain too.

It took us a long time to be able to show up vulnerable in society, but I think we can say that we find ourselves in an emotional revolution right now. Instagram accounts with inspiring quotes are popping up everywhere. Never before have we been recommended so much to sit down once in a while and consciously feel what we feel. "It's okay not to be okay." Grief is no longer considered a weakness; it can even be used as a strength. It is a revolution that was prepared for a long time, and I am fully fighting it. But anger seems to be left behind. It's kind of the black sheep among the emotions. Evil people are not liked and if they are too angry, we throw them out of society. So, we get institutions full of angry people who don't know how to handle their anger. What if anger is the very emotion that could change our world? What is the worth of our anger?

So I'm sad. I'm sad about all the trees we cut and animals we kill and oceans we pollute. That hurts me and my pain is real. It's not an illusion. It is there and will convert into a lump of energy popularly referred to as 'anger'.

I wonder what the world would be like if we learned to recognize the beauty of anger. If we could see that there is so much energy in anger that we can use to work miracles. If we all became ‘angerpreneurs’. The angerpreneurs who find energy together not to give up. Because I can't ignore the fact that I sometimes look pessimistic about the climate, but I can try to convert it into a kind of hope. So maybe I'm proud of my 'being angry’.

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