I began learning. I’ve learned that the more smart and ambitious you are as a woman, the larger a target you become for other people’s projected insecurities and assumptions i.e. the more I follow Sheryl Sandberg’s advice to be bold, the harder and more damaging the knockbacks are likely to be. I learned that it doesn’t matter how much I work at erasing myself, it will never be enough. I learned that not all women are feminists and even women who think they are feminists are capable of tone policing other women. I learned that anger is a beautiful, inspiring emotion that I’ve earned the right to feel in every cell of my body, and above all, I learned that it’s ok for me to have a voice and to use it.
I’ve been using that voice lately and sometimes it’s harsh. Sometimes my voice shows the anger, grief and frustration of a woman who has been cut down time after time but who is still, somehow, a fighter. Sometimes this takes people by surprise and they don’t know where the anger comes from, they only see me letting it go. There was a time when I would have said, “don’t mind me,” or “so sorry, I don’t mean to offend,” but, I’m done with that. To some extent, this means that I might lose some followers and that some people will shake their head and say, “she used to be so accommodating.” So be it. I’d rather be myself.
-Marlena Compton is done with the quiet riot.