Monday, February 2, 2009


I'm the type of person that is good at encouraging people to reach their highest potential. I am angered by the injustice in the world, and have found a way to make a living advocating for social justice. I've spent the past ten years helping under-served people achieve the quality of life they deserve, and my motivation has always been Anger.

For me, Anger is a catalyst. It is a springboard to change, and without it, I couldn't do what I do each day. I take on people's causes. I fight the fights they cannot, and in the process, teach individuals to know their rights and act on them. It has always puzzled me why it seems I get more Angry about the issues facing these individuals than they themselves do. I've often looked into their sad sullen eyes wondering if they really want my help, and if they do why aren't they Angry too?

Anger is an incredible motivator. I hear amazing stories of women who created the change they wanted to see because they were first angry. Lilly Ledbetter fighting for equal pay. Rosa Parks fighting for human equality. Erin Brockovich fighting for truth and justice.

My Anger has gotten me in trouble a few times, but overall, its been a good indicator that there is a fight to be fought. I've been trying to find a way to get pregnant. Given that my husband is HIV+, that is a challenge. It is a challenge that has made me very Angry. I've been Angry about this for almost 8 years now. I've gathered information, talked to medical experts, researched, and spent a lot of time being Angry.

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I were told by my doctor that he cannot perform a medical procedure, sperm washing and inter-uterine insemination, to help us achieve pregnancy. My insurance company has not developed a protocol for this procedure, and fear that my risk of infection is too high for them to justify allowing me to have this procedure. And, even if my doctor could do the procedure, the likelihood that I would get pregnant is extremely slim because the washed sperm would not be healthy enough to achieve pregnancy after "all the processing." (for more info on this procedure, click here.) After spending an hour in his office, trying to hold back tears, (unsuccessfully I might add) I asked the doctor what can be done to convince the "insurance gods" to perform this procedure.

He told me to write a letter to the Member Services department. He told me if I don't get a response from them about the letter, to call Member Services. He told me to be polite, don't raise my voice, don't get "crazy", and just wait patiently because it will take a long time for the insurance gods to change their minds.

As I drove away from this visit with my doctor, I cried. I cried because I had gotten my hopes up. I cried because I was frustrated. I cried because we are so close. I cried because it seems we're not any closer than we were 8 years ago. And I cried because I was sad. When my husband asked me "What are we going to do next" I just cried.

And you know what? Today, I'm not Angry. I'm too exhausted to be Angry. I'm too sad to be Angry. I'm too hopeless to be Angry.

And now, I finally understand what is behind those sad sullen eyes when I offer my Anger to help them fight. It is a jumbled mixture of emotion. It is fear, grief, exhaustion, disappointment, irritation, rage, aggression, and disgust. And it is Anger too.

A different type of Anger. A mature Anger. A wise Anger. It understands that somewhere, somehow, someone is Angry enough to take the action that you cannot. And it understands that feeling sad is powerful too.