Posts Tagged ‘social evolution’

Life in the Fast Lane: A Thanksgiving invitation for my experimental/sociopolitically-motivated friends:

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Howdy facebook. How’s it hanging. As y’all surely know, it’s Thanksgiving in the U. S. this week. And if you’ve been around here much in the past, you might remember a little bit about what I think of Thanksgiving. :poop emoji:

I’m taking a bit of a different track this year, and I wanna share about it and invite you to consider my words or even join me.

First, a babbly history: I grew up celebrating “pilgrims and indians” thanksgiving like most suburban white kids with their turkey hand drawings in the 80’s. With a tense and often bickering family environment, Thanksgiving was so quickly a soulless tradition or annoying obligation (how ameri-white can you get eh?). I don’t really recall having a genuine connection with it after childhood, other than a convenient excuse to force myself to connect with chosen family.

Over the years I have boycotted, half-heartedly participated, hosted orphans, and increasingly shared my dissent as I’ve learned more of the authentic origins of the holiday and how continuing to celebrate it harms people I have spent a lot of therapy money and cognitive effort as an oblivious privileged white person learning to actually care about.

My M.O. since radicalizing in 2014ish or so has generally been to water fast on Thanksgiving and fill my social media feeds with trauma porn about the origins of the feasting and how fucked up it is that we do it. You’ll be glad to know I’m (mostly) over that now, in part due to actually dipping my toe into legitimate advocacy by working with orgs like Duwamish Infrastructure Restoration Training – DIRT Corps and recognizing how deeply impactful the various Native therapies I’ve experienced have been to my personal life as well as my work.

Another big factor in letting go of that rage-stance has been my exploration of my gender identity (they/them), and how getting real about the origin of my binary brainwashing being centered in whiteness has allowed me to authentically connect with the ideals in Native culture in a personal way. Without that connection, all I felt entitled to interact with was the shameful anger of the bloodshed inflicted by my ancestors, so that’s what I signal boosted.

As a developing activist advocating indigenous rights and human person adopting basic indigenous principles into my anti-racism, someone who has worked with the Duwamish and learned from native healers, and someone who is privileged to celebrate my connections any day I chose, I feel it’s important for me to reject the holiday outright in my actions as well as my public talk.

Fasting may seem pointless, and I’ve wondered sometimes what greater good lied in my time during Thanksgiving while hanging out in a van alone and starving myself; whether it was simply selfish and personal or more than that or just self destructive.

As a political/community artist, I understand the value of documenting personal praxis in a performative way. One of the things that I write about in The Book are my personal experiments and what makes them legitimate artwork and not just self-help advice: Year of the Nee in 2014 (of which I spent a year weening from romantic relationships, drugs, alcohol, and sex), W.A.S.T.E. in 2009 (in which I kept my recycling in my living space with me for months), etc.

My Thanksgiving fasts have been this sort of art for me, and I do think, when presented in conjunction with others, they are valid outside of myself. While I think it may be best to stop fasting as a means of reverence because I’ve developed such disordered eating in my last year of vanlife that it’s much more risky for my health now, I’m proud of those years in which I fasted, talked about fasting on social media, and sat with and communicated with my hunger as a means to process the reality of Thanksgiving. This year, perhaps for the last time (?), I’d like to fast again.

Which brings me to my invitation: Wanna fast with me this Thanksgiving? There are multiple elements to my approach, which I expect to expand annually if I get other people on board:

1) Water fast for the day of Thanksgiving (this is the “accountability” commitment) – Including peer-based aftercare support for the fasting to help ourselves as a group continue to healthy eating habits after going a day without food (I will personally need this from my community to continue Thanksgiving fasting in a way that does not endanger my health)

2) Funnel the money I would have spent on Thanksgiving food into a one-time donation directly to my local Duwamish and Puyallup tribes (even if it’s just a couple bucks).

3) If I’m active on social media at the time, post at least 2 local call-to-action Native advocacy resources on each of my social media accounts on Thanksgiving day. Post historical and cultural educational content about those tribes as well.

4) If a local group forms (I’m based in Tacoma now), work to create a meetup event in nature for next year, and include resources used in social media posts as lit for meatspace gatherings.

I am considering creating a group of some sort, preferably NOT using facebook, for event planning and information sharing. My idea for this is to include a national online element as well as a local in person one, though this year I expect I’m approaching this too late for a local gathering.

I anticipate most participants to be white because that’s my lane and this is our work, however anyone who is interested is welcome to participate.

If you’d like to be looped into the development of this project, comment here with the word DECOLONIZE and I’ll make sure to include you in whatever list/group/discord/slack channel or whatever the fuck it ends up being. And if you wanna participate virtually in some way this Thursday, let m know how.

Thanks for taking the long read. Also note that I have a post pinned to my artist page right now to a fabulous writeup if you want to delve in more, and many links supplied in the comments if you’re interested in supporting Natives this week.

National Day of Mourning is nearly upon us, and CHRISTINE NOBISS of www.seedingsovereignty.org has done a great service to those of us seeking to resist the colonial gaslighting that is Thanksgiving. https://www.bustle.com/p/thanksgiving-promotes-whitewashed-history-so-i-organized-truthsgiving-instead-13154470

NON-LOCAL ADVOCACY: If food justice is your thing (For instance, if you were enraged by the new SNAP benefit changes and think people on food assistance deserve fresh food), then you should know about food availability on reservations and what Queer Appalachia and @ndn.o are up to: https://www.facebook.com/QueersnAppalachia/posts/2060243613997313

EDUCATION: THE SUPPRESSED SPEECH OF WAMSUTTA (FRANK B.) JAMES, WAMPANOAG
To have been delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1970

http://www.uaine.org/suppressed_speech.htm

EDUCATION: The Duwamish people of the inside still exist. You can visit their longhouse, attend events, sign up to their mailing list, among other things at https://www.duwamishtribe.org/

And here is their wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duwamish_people

EDUCATION: REAL CHANGE, a publication that I support whenever I have cash in my pocket (and I hope you will too), published this about the Duwamish in 2016 https://www.realchangenews.org/2016/11/09/duwamish-tribe-continues-160-year-fight-federal-recognition

DONATIONS: The Duwamish tribe has created http://realrentduwamish.org as a pathway for Seattlites and other supporters to pay reparations, and is a way you can impact the lives of those whose land we settled despite the federal government’s 160 years of refusing the tribe their rights. I pay real rent myself and encourage every Seattlite to do so as well.

DIRECT ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION: DIRT CORPS, a restoration training program I worked with in 2016/2017, works closely with the Duwamish tribe while restoring wetlands in Georgetown, White Center and South Park; areas most impacted by industrialization and training local communities, and they are regularly in search of volunteers.

https://www.urbansystemsdesign.com/dirt-corps-program

THE ORIGINS OF MY FAVORITE SALT –
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coast_Salish
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Salish
https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/indian-tribes/coast-salish.htm

#metoo

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

A meditation on what comes after #metoo

After a long few days I finally crashed like a brick last night. I am so tired. I am so tired of the groupthink onus being on victims of abuse, to rehash, to out themselves, to display their pain, to direct. What can you do? Figure out why you don’t actually care. Figure out why your problem solving skills, your observational skills, your creative solutions, your inventiveness, your ingenuity, is inaccessible to you regarding the topic of rape and abuse in yourself and your community. Figure out why, even though it is fundamentally imbibed in our society, even though it is everywhere, including in your own life and your own actions, you can’t see it. Figure out why you spend your resources and energy trying to invent external accountability incentives that don’t exist in a society that bred this into all of us and rewards it. Figure out why you feel entitled to victims having to attempt over and over again to convince you to leverage your power to choose to be accountable, to choose to be observant, to choose to question yourself — and to choose to question other men. Figure out what is stopping you from taking responsibility, what is stopping you from even wanting to pay attention when there isn’t a bi-annual mass movement of mobilized agony being shoved in your fucking face forcing you to look, what is stopping you from stepping in to take on your share of the labor in evolving YOURSELF and YOUR PEOPLE who benefit the most from how things are. Figure out why you see that lack of motivation as an answer you’re entitled to be given by someone else rather than the personal work of actualizing your own damn self. Figure out what the fuck is going on with you and then take action to address it. WHAT CAN YOU DO? Do the work. Do. Your fucking. Work.

I’m grateful for the positive outcomes and breakthroughs that came and will come of this, and future campaigns like this. And I am also thinking enough is a fucking nough

From my angle, #metoo is where we the privileged once again ignorantly twisted the existing healing work of black women, this time launching into another traumatic upheaval rife with the mass demand for further extraction of exhausting, gut-wrenching labor. We did it in the incompetent medium of a digital suckwound, in order to step, again, into the unattainable responsibility of educating and reforming the benefactors of our oppression, and those who are complicit in their behavior.

Did it ‘work’? Seems so. And, I am critical of the further damage being done to women of color in how the campaign was launched, how #metoo is being capitalized upon now by one of us without compensating the originator (that fucking disgusting hat!!), and the damage done to every abuse survivor that is ripped open again right now as a result. I am critical of the (irresponsible, frankly) mass reanimation of trauma I am myself experiencing and witnessing the consequences of. I just don’t think we have the fucking resources for that, the support network, and as I sit with it, I am coming full circle back to the deep roiling anger that motivated me to come back on fb, to participate, to inform my rage at being called AGAIN to say ME TOO, rather than stew in it from the sidelines.

Is #metoo a net positive? I’ll work to think of it that way, for my own sanity. But listen: There are better ways to be doing this work. Even online. Less painful, more connecting, more effective. I know it. And I know that it’s not Alyssa fucking Milano and her friends who know how to do it better.

White women: We share in our abusers grooming, at the very least as part of white supremacy. We share in the violence of oppression, the disconnection of hierarchy, and the familiarity of manufacturing agony in order to feel.

Why the FUCK are we still trying to lead this shit, y’all? Why are we still listening to the half cocked ideas of out of touch celebrities on top of that?

Where is OUR accountability?

Is our lack of it part of the reason we periodically enroll feminism in performing its suffering to all-but-guaranteed pain for dimished, shot-in-the-dark returns?

And how much of this gaping maw in my gut is really because we, I, us, ultimately, still, have yet to reconcile and address our own incompetence, our own culpability in our cultures abuses, even within our own movements?

Why are we still doing it this way?

Like how many more victim-centric campaigns gotta morf into victims-teaching-abusers, holding space for people who dont get it, doing all that work, before I act like I understand that my pointing my griefguts at perpetrator recovery ain’t being accountable, but punishing myself. One fucking day of going to bat with #metoo and I felt drained, disrespected, misunderstood and want to curl up in a fucking hole — and that’s dealing with the well meaning and not a single fucking troll. I wish it weren’t so hard to GET that I am worth treating myself better than this, but I think part of the issue is that I don’t see another way to handle the tension and energy yet. Just hearing #metoo was happening put me in a spin, fucked up my appetite, raced my thoughts, and called me back here. I care about this shit, but fuck man. The waves won’t stop coming, and I won’t stop caring, so I hope this last wave is the one where I finally learn how to be involved in this cause without putting myself through a fucking meat grinder every time.

There is Nowhere

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Just south of Green River, Wyoming

One thing that nearly a year on the road has shown me: There is nowhere.

There is nowhere to go. There is nowhere to outrun patriarchy. There is nowhere to outrun capitalism. Nowhere to feel safe. Nowhere to feel comfortable. It’s gone, along with my blissful ignorance. Anywhere I go will be touched by it, if not in any other way than by my being present there.

Another thing that nearly a year on the road has shown me: It is damn near fucking impossible for a person to understand something when their survival depends on them not understanding it.

This is why reform of capitalism won’t work. This is why people don’t see how bad their relationships are until they leave. This is why you can’t dismantle a system which pays your salary. This is why making a difference “from the inside” is ultimately a bunch of tyrannical horseshit. This is why there can be good in people, but there are no “good” cops or judges or politicians.

Y’all tell yourselves what you need to in order to deal with it, tell yourselves you’re somehow starting a revolution by playing the same fucking game you’ve always played. You and I always will be fooling ourselves to some degree, as long as we’re inside the machine.

As long as I’m using money, as long as I smile and thank that server who is obviously treating me differently because I’m fuckable in their eyes, as long as I’m alive and interacting with this society, so too will I be telling myself that somehow my participation is warranted and benevolent and different than everyone else’s. That for some reason my reluctance, my anger, my squeezing myself dry to avoid as much as I can changes the impact of my acts of compliance.

I shopped at Walmart today because they have the cheapest price on motor oil, which my van burns like a chain smoking gangster.

I put gas in my house twice today, and twice yesterday, blazing across Wyoming to beat a looming snow storm.

I paid my taxes. On time. But only because I fear being hunted.

These are the choices I have made, the things I hold onto in order to survive turncoating on the tech industry, on rape culture, on romance supremacy, to resist couples privilege, being kept.

There is nowhere.

The only way actually out of this mess is to stop going along with things that insult your fucking soul.

All The Things.

And that’s a life’s thankless, lonely fucking work, right there. Chipping away.

A whole life’s work, at least, planting seeds for more life’s works in the future. Slamming your head into the ceiling.

Existing is so fucking expensive

and so, fucking, exhausting.

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” — Audre Lorde

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

“It never ceases to amaze me how authors in this field write the wisdoms they most need to read. I write about groundedness, because I have an ungrounded tendency. Many write about being in the now, because they have a tendency to dissociate. Others write about the containment of the ego, because their egos have run amok. Still others write about embodiment, because they can’t get out of their heads. We are not great knowers. We are merely travel agents for the particular trip we need to go on” — Jeff Brown

As you start to walk on the way, the way appears. – Rumi

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

“Beware of people whose spiritual credentials come from “study.” Look to (don’t follow) the ones who are figuring it out through their experiences, not the experiences of others. These people are born leaders, who probably reject the role of leadership. These people know suffering. They know courage. They have seen battle and survived.

Look to the ones who say “I don’t know.” Look to the ones with the scars on their faces. Look to the limping, not the shiny and new. Don’t look to the gurus who got to the top of the mountain by helicopter. Look to the ones who are climbing, dirty and exhausted. They are the ones who know the value of the journey. They are the ones carving a stairway from which they cannot benefit.” — Alison Nappi

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

“One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding.” ― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

At one point in my life, about 10 years ago now, I noticed a little distinction about myself that I commonly re-forget and remember a lot in my fumbling upwards — there was very little difference between being an actual hater, and the person who just strategically and cleverly used the language of haters that I considered myself to be.

The distinction hit me while riding as a passenger in my friends car. As we passed through Skagit county, I noticed the sign, and started saying it out loud.

“SKAGIT. HA. sounds like a bad word. ‘FUCKING SKAGIT’.” and repeated it a few more times.

This friend of mine had just ‘decided’ he was gay a year or three earlier, while we were, effectively, dating one another. I’d managed to bag him ONCE before this announcement, and for quite a while after that I was pretty well scorn, and feeling rejected.

Part of that rejection, I now understand, was my friends retreat into safe spaces where he could explore his identity and subculture with his boyfriend, whom I had introduced him to. I was, it seemed to me, rarely invited, and it pissed me off. That wasn’t so much true as that I did not belong and I did not fit in where my friend was going.

I saw my friend rejecting things I identified with, took his expressions of that personally, and that pissed me off too. I tried generating power in the situation by using ‘their’ insults, knowing that my history with my friend would mean I could get away with it even though they weren’t mine to use. I tried making jokes that I ‘turned’ him gay, centering myself in his journey and only half joking because I didn’t know shit about what the process of confirming ones gender identification is actually like, at the time.

It was one of the most memorable moments in my life that I’ve experienced that gutbomb — you probably know it — that feeling when something comes out of your mouth that unexpectedly turns your stomach inside out. It was when I realized “Skagit” sounded like a bad word to me because it sounded like “Faggot”. And that I was repeating it mockingly in the car with a gay person I supposedly loved.

I didn’t -really- understand how I was responsible for how that was fucked up, I externalized the rationale that swiftly came after the rush, that I probably looked like a real asshole to him even tho I of course was not actually an asshole.

I of course thought, long before I stopped using homophobic insults, that I was not homophobic.

I just recognized, you know, the proper way of things, the way the world just ‘was’. I just recognized that being gay wasn’t as good as being other things cuz ‘society’ — but not to ME, mind you. “Other” people. “Other” people who have power and are in charge of shit so it’s probably best to just confirm with and mimic them sometimes in order to maneuver.

So even after I recognized that I wanted to examine the preconceived notions I may have held under the surface about what would eventually evolve into the concept of gender non-conformance, I hid behind ‘language’ that ‘everybody’ uses, that I had and continued to use.

For a while, my excuses for not doing the work were numerous and made sense.

One in particular was tough to shake, and it settled in well with my view of what I was in the world to do — cause people to feel deeply. In communicating with other people, it stands to reason that you’d use language that will effect and resonate with them to make a point. Right? I mean, if you wanna insult someone, really make em FEEL it, wouldn’t you wanna use their bigotry or whatever against them?

So, yeah, dudebro: You’re a fuckin’ pussy, fucking fag. I’m a 20something white feminist with a close friend who newly came out and I’m insulting you with feminine devaluing homophobic language but that’s not on ME really. That’s on *gestures* everyone else who makes the language so EFFECTIVE.

I could feel my hold and importance in his life slip away, over the years, despite my firm belief in my lack of homophobeness, and my slow but sure improvement in my quality of personhood. I am sure there are lots of reasons for that, both that had to do with me and most that didn’t.

But it stuck with me, that car ride.

It took me a long time to begin to articulate what that gutbomb in Skagit country signified in me — it was probably 12 years ago now and this is the first I’ve written about it and I’m still not sure it’s complete.

But when I think now about the people I see who insist they’re not racist, or homophobic, or misogynist, but use the language of those oppressive, hateful populations to express themselves and interact with others, I think about that moment as a snapshot of who I was back then.

Whether I was saying what I was saying because I honestly hated my friend or not, whether I was cracking racist jokes back then because I honestly wanted to harm anyone with them or not, whether I was remaining ignorant to the lived experience of my friend out of malice or not, what I was doing was a cop out that perpetuated and strengthened the collective hate that I claimed to be against.

And by doing it that way, I was letting myself off a hook that I now recognize as being pretty much the absolute least I could have done to show up, and be a friend.

I love it here in Mexico

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

I’m finding I am curious about something, though.

When I drove through the tiny ghost towns of New Mexico, the derelict structures both horrified and haunted me.

Here, the similar negligence in the buildings has a vibrant life that is hard to explain. Most of these houses would appear abandoned in the states, but none of them are. And I am drawn to them.

I’m cautious to take at face value that I simply identify more with the culture and life style and enjoy seeing and experiencing it in person.

It’s odd to be thinking about digging around for unconscious racism when I’m actively enjoying and appreciating this place out of a sense of gratitude and respect, but even though I feel no contempt or even irritation toward this place (except for the mosquitos, and that doesn’t count.) I’m urked.

When I drove through those deserted American towns that looked like these places, I was bereft. I was horrified that the industries that once fueled the town were toppled and buried. But here, I’m not doing that, even though in many ways I am looking at the same thing.

Is there something to the difference in seeing derelict American towns vs. Mexican? Something other than the difference between a dead town and one that is living and breathing despite having so very little?

Is it that I simply see this place as poorer, that I’ve been raised to expect this place to be impoverished and dirty and violent (I have experienced/seen absolutely zero violence since entering Mexico) and so see the quality of life here unemotionally?

Or is it the flip side, maybe — that my antiracism work over the last two years has rid me of the supremacist mindset that these poor dirty broken brown people would need my help, somehow, or my pity? That they would ever need to rise to the level of capitalist ‘comfort’ I was accustomed to in order to be valid people? Is my lack of a sense of disturbance indication of my growth, rather than a callous indifference?

Maybe I’m looking at how two cultures manage poverty — one deserts in the constant rat race search of riches elsewhere within an inflated view of what constitutes a good life, while the other makes a simple relaxed one with their families? Maybe I’m not sad because they’re not sad?

So, I’m curious if I have more antiracism work to do because of what I’ve uncovered of myself in my reactions here. And I am really thankful to Previous Me for blowing the lid off of my corrosive, unconscious (and sometimes not) biases that were rooted in the white supremacy I formed among, and caused me to question myself in this way.

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

“Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe. ” ― Arundhati Roy, Public Power in the Age of Empire

bobbing cork in a bucket

Monday, March 30th, 2015

On one hand, my ‘fuck the bucket’ epiphany (and artistic ritual) was really valuable to align myself with a deeper knowledge.

Taking into account that myself, crabs who snip at my heels, and the crabs whose heels I am compelled to snip, were never meant to be in a fucking bucket in the first place really blew the doors off my views of the socioeconomic and interpersonal warfare I witness and am actively resisting.

It also really fucking crushed the shit out of my spirit, I am finding. It wasn’t apparent at first, but I am finding now that it was around that time that the little precursors to my epic nosedive, which I am still exhausted and recovering from, began manifesting.

It was around that time I started becoming quietly overwhelmed by the vast uncertainty in my life. Everything, from income, to vocation, to housing, to location, to intimacy, to resources, are in flux. It’s a time in my life where things I thought were stable are dying, where things I thought I needed are shedding. Things I invested years in maintaining are ending their life cycles, too. Everything is changing.

A friend described himself this morning as ‘Hanging in there. Like a cork on the ocean.’

Man. Do I feel that. Disorienting. Lonely. A little freeing, maybe? A cork on the ocean needs only to continue to do what it does; float. I relate to the frustrating simplicity in the circumstances of a tiny seabound cork. And I rather liked the implication of the impossibility of his drowning in them.

I won’t drown, either. Right?

Right.

Also I want some answers goddamnit. Any time now.

Perhaps they will come later this month, as I bob like a cork in the actual ocean.

Weakness: My pet peeve

Friday, March 6th, 2015

I’ve been in an on-again, off-again conversation with a friend regarding ‘weakness’, of vulnerability =ing weakness in terms of technology, and in terms of societal structuring/social justice.

That conversation has helped clarify something for me: Though I’ve largely stopped doing it anyway, I am flat out through using the word weak to describe human beings.

Weakness, to me, is a word/concept reserved for one dimensional, single threaded notions and objects. Having a weakness for chocolate. Having a weak knee. Noting a structural weakness in the pillar of a bridge. All single dimensional uses of the word, all super fucking clear. Usually, I use the word integrity, instead, for this.

But to say, refer to the poor as also weak? Fuck that.

For starters, a triggery hogepodge of this shit is what I am expressing, when I use the word ‘weak’ to describe a person or class of people, or proclaim a persons ‘weakness’ somehow.

weak
adjective, weaker, weakest.
1. not strong; liable to yield, break, or collapse under pressure or strain; fragile; frail:
a weak fortress; a weak spot in armor.
2. lacking in bodily strength or healthy vigor, as from age or sickness; feeble; infirm:
a weak old man; weak eyes.
3. not having much political strength, governing power, or authority:
a weak nation; a weak ruler.
4. lacking in force, potency, or efficacy; impotent, ineffectual, or inadequate:
weak sunlight; a weak wind.
5. lacking in rhetorical or creative force or effectiveness:
a weak reply to the charges; one of the author’s weakest novels.
6. lacking in logical or legal force or soundness:
a weak argument.
7. deficient in mental power, intelligence, or judgment:
a weak mind.

There are so many other poignant, focused words I can use to express all of these things that weakness defines above, without enacting the structural discouraging punch down guiltfest that ‘weakness’ incites in terms of emotions and human experience.

Even the clearest definitions which are the least offensive to me, like a weak strategic position politically because of class oppression, have far better and more descriptive words for them in terms of people, that do not leverage the pervasive societal teaching that a lack of privilege or opportunity equates to character weakness.

Disadvantageous. Underrepresented. Marginalized. Detrimental. Problematic. Unfortunate. Adverse. Rigged. Unfavorable.

All of those words speak to the situation rather than potentially the constitution of the person/people, which so often ‘weak’ does. All of those words speak to the situation without sapping the power out of how one describes the oppressed population.

Which brings us to vulnerable:

vulnerable
adjective
1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon:
a vulnerable part of the body.
2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.:
an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery.
3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend:
a vulnerable bridge.

I see vulnerability equating to weakness in only two situations:

1) When the vulnerability is advantageous for someone to deem such to rationalize. Usually to manipulate, use, pity, or otherwise abuse or leverage its opening. Protip: Way too many of us do this to OURSELVES. And it still doesn’t make it true. Openness in human beings is not fucking weakness. It is the opposite.

2) When the vulnerability is of such a character that the entire or majority use/purpose of the entity is compromised: As in vulnerabilities in defense-related tech, and structural weaknesses in things like bridges and buildings.

People are not tea. People are not firewalls. People are not their defenses. People are not their handicaps. People are not their mental illnesses. People are not their broken limbs. People are not their social statuses. People are not their hardships. People are human beings.

And humans, being, are NOT, weak.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

A fight for ‘equality’ does not rely on disavowing systemic oppression to rationalize ones idea of justice. A fight for ‘vengeance’ does.

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“Social change is not going to come from knowing more information, but from doing something with it.” — Pia Mancini

Experiment: 1000 words

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Challenge: Relegate my targetedly offensive language (against women, mentally ill, etc).
Duration: Ongoing

Compendious Result: The road, she is long.

I’m exploring how my language use reflects in the social consideration I’ve been developing the last few years. I rather automatically say a lot of things that bother myself now, after discovering that everything I historically thought was funny, isn’t.

Looking at this closely and exploring new words is how I’m re-establishing a sense of humor. The things we say matter. Basically what I am going for – in general, but not necessarily with this exercise specifically – is cultivating the skill of expressing rage in a way that respects my emotions AND other people.

I REALLY don’t want to give up motherfucker! Or bastard. Or bitches. Or bitchery. Or douchebag. I will very much miss cuntary too. Such a classic. I dropped ‘pussy’ years ago, because calling someone that is fucking stupid. ‘Wuss” or ‘fucking twit” is way better.

But what’s been seen can’t be unseen. I want shit to fucking change, and if I as one dedicated person can’t consider ways to make fun of someone without insulting their single mother, insulting the lovers of mothers or their fucking feminine hygiene, what god damn hope does the world have.

I’ll be keeping my blasphemy, though, thank you very much.

How it’s going..

I have been racking my brain for a long time trying to come up with a quippy fun insult like ‘bitchez!’ or “motherfuckers!’ that isn’t a) Degrading of femininity and/or b) culturally appropriated, since I can’t say either of those things anymore without feeling like a fuckass. And “fuckasses!” doesn’t ring.

I’m also working my way out of calling shit retarded, since battling mental health stigma is important to me. That one is hella hard. ‘retard’ and ‘fucktard’ and ‘lactard’ and ‘glutard’ — all those ‘tard’s — are where I slip up the most. Currently the frontrunner replacement is “lobedonor”.

I posed this conundrum to facebook and got a lot of good response. “Shit for brains”, “fools”, “wankers”. I am rather partial to “Knuckle Draggers” and “punkass”.

Also considering “suckers”, but wanna say it suckahs, which brings up the appropriation aspect. I like ‘homies’ but I’m white as your 6000 thread count fucking sheets, and save for a slip up a couple days ago when calling EBT grocery shopping ‘ghetto shopping’ I’ve dropped ‘ghetto’ too.

I’ve been leaning on ‘shit’ for my cussing a lot more of late, and “Meatbags” is a pretty solid staple of mine. For more direct insults, I quite like using “prolapse” to get my point across.

Interestingly enough, ‘bitchez’, which is what spawned this whole examination, gets to stay:

Alright. I have done my due diligence. I have explored my intentions, my stances and my sensitivity. I have searched far and wide for a manner of expressing that feels as right or as gleeful and I have found mostly self censorship and confusion. I have walked the path and searched the soul and hence forth it is written: I am keeping ‘bitchez.’

YEAH BITCHEZ!!

Funny, how things work out.

Tech: The Newest Frontier of White Supremicy

Monday, June 9th, 2014

I was just talking with an old friend about the ‘boys club’ we were a part of when I worked with him in tech.

This article, in my opinion, is spot on – and I relate to the experiences of invalidation, lack of support, and having the sexist and marginalizing behaviors of others defended against rather than questioned; by myself, included.

At the time, I thought this was normal. Thanks to a lifetime of choosing to date within this, and another sexist white-male dominated field (law), I am finally getting fed up, I no longer believe ‘normal’ is this case.

The Newest Frontier

The path to Enwhitenment

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

This is one of the most brilliantly written, keenly observed social criticisms I’ve ever read.

It rings in part for just about every spiritual white person I’ve ever met, including myself; I both mirror my own misguided aspects of it, and fiercely recognize this as a set of core ideals in SO many people I’ve known in my life;

Known, and deeply, deeply disliked.

I wish I had had this to send them, to articulate my stance for me, back when I still put up with them, and people who choose to be like them.

Behold, the path of #Enwhitenment http://enwhitenment.wordpress.com/

#YesAllWomen

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

@TweetOfNee
Because it takes a hashtag to bring to the surface the extent of what I do subconsciously to protect myself. Every single day. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because our hypervigilant managing, scanning, and strategizing in attempts to shake subhuman social status doesn’t work. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because 5000 years of women being seen as sexual property will not end by women continuing to be programmed into staying small. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because seeking justice regarding sexual assault being ‘feminized’ (aka, weak) hurts men who are victimized by women as well. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because my abortion was none of your fucking business. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because I’ve learned the best course of action while being leered at on the bus is to steep silently in the discomfort #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because my guts turned inside out when a man called out to me on the street to ask for directions last week. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because women who beat on men get away with it. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because the only way to be seen and heard so often correlates to leveraging corrosive sexist double standards. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because my boyfriend of 3 years empathized with my rapist. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because incorrect response to sexism keeps good loving fathers away from their kids. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because “I’m someone else’s already” is so often the only rejection that works. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because breaking compliant silence to stand for myself is seen as ever so stunning. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because saying to a stranger in response to #YesAllWomen “Bitch, no one wants to harm you.” somehow makes sense to people.

@TweetOfNee
Because my ex’s response to my boundary-insulting rapist continues to include “But at least he is not malicious” #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because men who say they ‘agree’ with #YesAllWomen still stay silent, blind, and defensive to the reality they are perpetuating.

@TweetOfNee
Because former guy ‘friends’ saw me first and foremost as a potentially accessible vagina, don’t see anything wrong with rape. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Dear #YesAllWomen defensive reactors: Consider that if there were no truth in it, it wouldn’t fucking bother you.

@TweetOfNee
You’re right. How dare I challenge your blistering sexist arrogance when I was supposed to be helping you deal with my rape. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because I cannot even fathom a partnership with a man that is based on being encouraged to trust my own thoughts and feelings. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Honor each others’ boundaries; #rapeculture is not a question of limiting or repressing male sexuality. #YesAllWomen http://clarissethorn.com/2011/01/02/men-dont-deserve-the-word-creep/

Not all Men.

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

In the usual world, the occasional anomaly Elliot whatshisfucks not withstanding, it seems it’s always the ones who say “I’m not that guy” who fall the hardest when they behave like one; the ones who deny their darkness as from another breed are, of course, the least capable of fessing up and overcoming their embodiments of it.

But the fact of the matter is, in our culture, we are all covertly groomed to one degree or another into being sexist rapist fucks.

I’ve found immense power and clarity in facing and integrating my darkness around what I’m capable of. In there, I am that guy (and so are you).

I do my very best to make the choices not to behave like that guy, probably like you do, too. But when I fuck up, I am capable of seeing it and doing something about it.

That’s more than I can say for the entitled ‘nice guys’ I’ve encountered in my life.

So what to do about it?

Let’s take an example of a conversation on facebook that stemmed from this meme about men who interject in the conversations of women which depict their experiences of sexism with the age old defense “Not all men do that”. AKA, “I don’t do that”.

Let me first start by saying; bullshit. Yes, you do. In fact, you’re doing it right that second. *cough*maleprivilege*cough*

A person is exercising their privilege when they enter into a conversation regarding the experiencing of oppression by others who do not share that privilege and attempt to turn that conversation into one about them by interjecting their dismissive viewpoint.

AKA “No, that’s not what’s happening.”

In the case of men chiming in about women’s issues in being consistently marginalized in patriarchy soup, that tends to happen a lot. By pointing this out, I’m not discounting maleness. I’m discounting the use of maleness as privilege to dismiss the real experiences of women.

The answer is for the men who want to make the totality of the conversation about their kneejerk defensive argument that ‘not all men’ behave in the way that is being described, to shut the fuck up.

Literally, just keep your holy always-more-important voice to yourself. I know how hard that is. But just do it. Practice. It gets easier.

Instead, listen and do your best to empathize with what is being said about the experiences that are being had by the people who are complaining about the way they are being treated in a society you directly benefit from.

Jumping in to defend yourself says a lot more about your shame and need for validation than it does about the person who is expressing their distaste for their lifetime of being treated as subhuman, whether it’s worded more generally than you’ve deemed necessary or not.

It is not your job to express how someone has responded to their mistreatment in a way you as Automatic Arbiter Of Everything find unjustified.

Repeat: It is not your job to express how someone has responded to their mistreatment in a way you as Automatic Arbiter Of Everything find unjustified.

I’ll just throw in here that I learned what I said because I was once the dickhead who kept asking angry black feminist women why they were so pissed off at all the white feminist women, because as a white feminist woman who cares about race issues, I took it personally. *I* am not that guy!

Surely it was incredibly important that I stomp all over their conversations regarding the oppression and vindictiveness they’ve experienced from white feminists that plagiarize their work, and disrespect them over their semantic transgressions I have decided to knitpick them about.

Because I had FEELS, and I had privilege, so fuck these meanass bitches. So what that they deal with hate and racism every day of their life, I needed to say my righteous piece! Sexism effects me, too; I’m a feminist, too, so I must speak to this perceived injustice in how they are handling their injustice! It was so important for me to say what I was thinking!

I was used to my feelings and my important behavioral insights being the most important thing in the feminism room because that’s what society has told me all my life as a white woman with charisma and social power. MY voice MATTERS.

Newsflash: They aren’t. It doesn’t.

There’s real work to be done here, everywhere, and it starts with the people who are in socially groomed power positions shutting up, stepping back, and giving those who don’t have that power a voice, the opportunity to speak, to express their realities, and to exercise their own agency. Especially in the conversations THEY ARE FUCKING STARTING AMONGST THEMSELVES!

It’s incredibly painful to go through that process, to stand by and not be able to make a struggle or a triumph about you, straight white guy. I really feel for you and your confusion if you’re relating to this threat to your entitled position in the world.

And I get it. I’m skinny pretty straight white well-spoken cis girl. I’ve been there. I am still there. It sucks, it’s confusing, and none of us asked to be in the power positions we were born in. And we were all born in at least some.

But if you actually wanna do something about this, rather than leveraging angry marginalized voices to rationalize your clumsy privileged butthurt, you’re gonna have to sack up and learn that not every conversation is about you and your fucking feels and your fucking opinions.

My observations of others, and of myself, indicate that in general people grow by recognizing one extreme, trying on the opposite extreme, and then settling somewhere in the middle.

As for social justice, it seems to go: ‘Not my problem/don’t notice/I don’t see color’ to ‘ohmygod I am so freaking out here guys ohmygod here let me fix that for you also poor me I’m so INVESTED look at how invested I am in being on your side oh my god my privilege is choking me aahhh!!’ to, eventually, hopefully, actual allyship – which lies in the middle.

As for snapping out of being a perpetrator or aggressor yourself? Well, one fast track is getting caught, called out, and not being let off the hook.

You’re welcome.