HONOR THE PAUSE
By: Kumu Michelle Manu, JD, MMsc
10th Degree Black Belt
Teacher | Self-Defense, Safety & Empowerment
Have you ever had an instance where you are in a great mood until you encountered something—or someone—that makes you react emotionally? This is how we define an “emotional trigger”. All of us experience these triggers. They provide an opportunity to resolve past experiences, or at least work towards acknowledgement, acceptance, and transcendence.
Triggers cause different types of emotional responses. They generally produce anxiety, anger, crying, panic, and other physical symptoms. The Will Smith-Chris Rock incident at the Oscars was witnessed by 15 million viewers. We saw Smith get triggered and respond in anger that resulted in what would be considered a criminal misdemeanor battery in the state of California. Will Smith and Chris Rock may have made amends, but we haven’t.
The incident at the Oscars, on one of the most public stages in the world, was a very good thing. We’re not over it because, in some way, it has propelled us to dive into deeper and respectful discussions about societal programming on gender, ethnicity, acceptable public behaviors, and emotional triggers.
NBA Hall of Famer and Basketball Legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, wrote: “This patronizing, paternal attitude infantilizes women and reduces them to helpless damsels needing a Big Strong Man to defend their honor.” (Kareem’s reader-supported newsletter on Substack.)
I was asked what I would do if my husband did not give me the opportunity to respond to an insult by inserting himself into the situation on my behalf. I responded, “I would be pissed!” I am a huge supporter of chivalry, especially for justice and in readiness to help the weak. However, I can handle my own justice against words, and I am the opposite of weak. I deserve the right to address the insult unless I explicitly ask for assistance.More