No, I Won’t Keep Calm. And Fuck Your Cupcake.
Everywhere you look, people are trying to tell you to keep calm.
It’s even become a catchphrase that shows up on tee-shirts, coffee mugs, and calendars, and has kept an annoyingly long half-life on social media newsfeeds. Keep calm and carry on. Keep calm and eat a cupcake. Keep calm and buy more shoes. Keep calm and drink a beer.
Keep calm and numb the feeling. Keep calm and keep quiet. Okay, those last few I haven’t actually seen in print, but it’s started to feel as if that’s what’s really being said here. I mean, why does everyone want us to keep calm?
Here’s an idea: it’s because you’re a force to be reckoned with. It’s because your sacred fury at injustice, your anger over the desecration of our earth, your rebellion against the standards that stifle humanity are dangerous. The force of your activated root chakra threatens the systems that keep the others at bay. They want you to stay calm because they fear you.
So here’s another idea: don’t keep calm. Don’t choke it down. Don’t quiet and numb your feelings. Listen to what they’re telling you. Direct that energy. Use it to make real and lasting change. This too is a method of transmutation.
Emotions are not the enemy. When you’ve already done the work of dismantling your conditioned responses, emotions are important messengers. They are guides. They’re drivers. They show you where you need to act, what you need to do that you’ve procrastinated on, rationalized against, or feared for too long.
They want you to keep calm because they want to limit your power. They want you to keep your head down, to clock in and out of your job, go home and drink or smoke or eat the pressures away while remaining complacent enough to not make any real change.
Well, I say, forget that. Sometimes the most peaceful response is to rebel. Dare to feel it. Stop letting them fool you into thinking that certain emotions should be hindered, forced, denied, or hidden away. Sure, some are comfortable and some aren’t. That’s how it’s supposed to be. That discomfort is there for a reason. It’s trying to tell you something. Listen. Figure out what that message is.
Perhaps that message is about your state of mind. Maybe it’s telling you that it’s time to adjust your thinking. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s telling you that it’s time to act, to change something, to say something, to do something.
But if you’re all wrapped up in this Keep calm trend, you’ll never know.
You have to open up. Open up inside and give your heart a chance to speak. Open up and allow those roots that connect you like an umbilical cord to Mother Earth serve their purpose and drive you to protect her and protect her children. Open up and let your gut guide you. Open up and allow your third eye to see something beyond your television screen.
Let your voice do something more than regurgitate platitudes. Let your purpose be known. Let your sacred screams of rebellion wake those who are still asleep. Allow your body to be energized by the deep yearning, the feverish need to right what’s wrong, to rewrite the story, to balance what’s teetering over the edge.
Tear yourself open and let the emotions flow. Listen to them, understand them. And act. Act when your heart cries out to those who are suffering from disasters, poverty, and war. Listen to your pain, don’t deny it. Listen and it will tell you something important. It will show you where healing is needed. It will show you where you can help others, and it will show you where you need help yourself.
It will lead you to the wounds that need tending in your own heart, and to the rivers that will wash them clean.
Anger is not the enemy. And acting on that anger isn’t the enemy. The enemy is complacence. The enemy is apathy. There’s a difference between acting out of anger and acting on anger. You know this to be true. You can act on anger while still serving peace. You can read the message in wrath and then write your response in love.
There’s a reason that those at the top tell you that it’s weak to feel. It’s because they know your feelings are your superpower, they’re a sacred weapon, they’re divine messengers that will guide you to your purpose, to your power, to your greatest potential. Ask yourself what they’ve taught you to cover over, to hide, and to deny. Now, dig deep and uncover them. Unbury them and use them for good.
Don’t you dare let people tell you that you feel too deeply. There is no such thing. There is feeling and relating, and then there is denial. There’s no in-between.
Go ahead and get mad. Feel sad. Be real. Be honest with yourself and how you feel. When you’re happy, don’t tone it down for others. Let it out. And when you’re afraid, follow that fear and understand it.
You can’t do anything with emotions that you deny or hide or try to change. They become wasted energy at best, or at worst, can fester and spread. Don’t confuse the law of attraction with a practice in denial. Let your anger show you where your kindness is needed the most. Let your fear show you what needs an injection of love. Let your pain show you where to start doing your work.
Don’t keep calm and eat your cupcake. Fuck that cupcake. Get upset and go do something about it.
Cristen Rodgers is a spiritual author and blogger. She has devoted herself to using the written word to encourage other spiritual seekers, teachers, healers, and travelers as she explores the beauty and the barbs, the hills, valleys, and bumps along the spiral path of spiritual development. You can learn more about her at Journeys in Spirit.